The Last Word – Share Your Story

by Hujefa Vora, MD

A note from our committee meeting seemed to resonate with me. One of our editors asked the group to describe the tone of this edition of the Physician. They were asked to clarify the rhetorical question. The point made was that this edition of the magazine read more like a collection of biographies than a medical journal.  Are we physicians compiling and writing a medical journal?  For over a decade now, I have worked with this committee to help produce this magazine.  I don’t know if I’ve ever really thought of it like I do perhaps the New England Journal of Medicine or JAMA.  Such magazines are usually filled with double-blinded studies, research into this and that, and critical analyses of the science of the day.  Our journal seems a bit different.

The President’s Paragraph tells of a rocky childhood and challenges overcome. In reading this, we are reminded that as physicians, we all have stories that define not only who we are personally, but also the lives we lead professionally. We are not automatons or angels with all the answers. We are humans who aspire to be more for the betterment of all of humanity.  We are not brilliant white sheets flowing in the wind.  Rather, we are tapestries with amazing, intricate stories.  The beauty of these tapestries is reflected in the practice of our trade.  Because of our own complexities, our patients connect with us, and so bonded we weave the physician-patient relationship.  Through the experiences of our own pain, we are able to relieve their pain, alleviate their suffering, and embrace our collective humanity.

The student article also speaks to fighting through stigmas and strife to achieve a goal, an almost unattainable dream. Humble beginnings define the immigrant and minority community biographies. The idea that a poor student from a third world country with nothing more than the shirt on his or her back could somehow immigrate to this country and then in a generation that individual’s progeny are successful professionals and entrepreneurs, physicians even. This idea would sound impossible back in their homelands.  Like our student though, many physicians have lived through this dream. We were told that the obstacles were insurmountable. We may not have been recognized as being able to be something more than our station, our family’s station. We may have been told that we don’t belong.  We may not have had the means to support ourselves and our families.  And yet, we endeavored to persevere.  Some students may have been discounted.  Despite this, we fight on.  We work harder.  Become stronger, wiser.  We work so that we can achieve this solitary goal of the betterment of the lives of our patients.

The feature article speaks to our connections. They are not always palpable, but they remain very real. For some of us, the physician-patient relationship comes easy. We are able to effortlessly bond with our patients.  We acknowledge our collective humanity, forging solid connections.  The relationships we have with our families and our friends often remain more evasive.  And so when these relationships cross into our professional lives, we often celebrate them.  The article celebrates the human connection, the love and respect we have for our fellow man, and then the love we have for our friends and family.  Every day in our practices, we celebrate the physician-patient relationship.  Inevitably, we celebrate our patients and the love we have for them.  Many of us agree that medicine is an art, not a pure science.  We weave our tapestries together with our patients.  We often speak of professional distance, but this really does not apply well to medicine.  We often cross our patients with loved ones, and vice versa.  We take care of our patients just as we would our own families and flesh and blood, to the point that our patients often become our family in their own right.

 We take care of our patients just as we would our own families and flesh and blood, to the point that our patients often become our family in their own right.

These are the issues which are woven into this month’s edition of the Tarrant County Physician.  If you read back, you will readily recall that these are the issues that are found throughout every edition of the journal of the Tarrant County Medical Society.  In every sense, the articles that are published for your perusal are our collective biographies.  They are the words of our TCMS Family.  These are the stories of the physicians of Tarrant County.  We have always asked our membership to contribute to the magazine, and we have never been disappointed.  All of you have beautiful tapestries to share with all of us.  I continue to encourage you to share your stories with our committee.  After all, in answering the initial question, this is not a medical journal.  We always appreciate and publish any scientific contributions by our member physicians and will continue to look forward to doing so.  If you have any articles or studies or research that you have done which you would like us to consider publishing, please send them in.  And if you think your story, your biography, your words can be shared, then please send these in as well.  The Tarrant County Physician is a direct reflection of our membership.  All of us have amazing, interesting, intricate, and beautiful stories.  Every time you read my own articles, I share my own biography with you.  I hope that y’all will continue to share your stories with me and all of us in your TCMS Family (you can do so by sending them to editor@tcms.org).  My name is Hujefa Vora, and this is Our Last Word.

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