Thursday, March 06, 2008

finding your limit

indoctrinating oneself into the culture of medicine is literally and figuratively like jumping through a series of hoops, each hoop slightly higher and more challenging than the first. just when you jump through one, the next hoop comes into focus. supposedly, there's a carrot dangling magically at the end. or so i've been told. i've never actually seen it, but everyone says it's there.

the next logical questions would be: what is the carrot? why do you want it? why do you keep jumping through these hoops in order to get it? how many damn hoops are there?

i, like many in my profession, am a bit of a perfectionist. it was recently pointed out to me how crazy this is. one of our noon conferences was on medical malpractice. the speaker, an engaging lawyer whose father was a surgeon, gave the following example to highlight the stark difference between lawyers and doctors:

(at a deposition)
mr. lawyer: mr. doctor, would you say that it is likely that the crash caused this man's injuries?
mr. doctor: well, i don't know if i could say that...
(mr. doctor's lawyer whispered to mr. doctor, "he means 'greater than 50%', not 'greater than 95%' ")
mr. doctor: ... oh, yeah, i could say that!

voltaire said, "le mieux est l'ennemi du bien." roughly translated, "the best is the enemy of the good." are we forever doomed to seek the best and never find it? can we ever really reach the best? or is it like an asymptote, forever approaching but never actually intersecting? if we can't ever reach it, could we be content with just good?

does P really = MD?

over the next two days, P (for me) = passing step 3 = medical license = fellowship. i'm hoping that it's not a mathematical impossibility.

is it likely that i will pass? well, i don't know if i could say that. if i were a lawyer, i might be able to. but for now, i'm just a doctor.