Friday, April 11, 2014

Physician Recalls Witnessing Tragedy With His Patient

Patients share life-changing moments with their physician. The birth of a child, the struggle to overcome an illness, the passing of loved ones ― human milestones can be measured by doctor visits, and emotions experienced during these visits often are felt by patient and physician alike. One particular event witnessed by a patient and his doctor occurred outside the medical setting but nonetheless affected both parties.

Irving gastroenterologist Jay Yepuri, MD, tells the story that took place during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The first sign something was wrong that day came from observing the elevated breathing rate of a patient in his care.

“My mind raced through all of the reasons why his rate of breathing might have increased all of a sudden,” says Dr. Yepuri. The cause had nothing to do with an inward medical issue but everything to do with what the patient was viewing on the room’s television screen.

“We were sharing that most tragic moment together [9/11] for the first time,” Dr. Yepuri recalls. “Even with all the science that goes into our daily practice in what we do with patients, it ultimately and fundamentally comes down to that individual human interaction.”

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