"...I did not understand..."
Charlotte Henningsen, Department Chair Diagnostic Medical Sonography
TranscriptI remember this one particular patient who I saw several times during her pregnancy. She was a sweet lady though life had not been kind to her. Her clothes were always stained and tattered, and when she smiled, her teeth revealed years of neglect. She was referred to us through a clinic that I knew herded their patients through like cattle, so I was dedicated to always showing her kindness and respect. She had even thanked me for always being so nice. She always brought her infant child with her who was also in stained and in tattered clothing, but what was most uncomfortable for me was that her child always smelled strongly of a dirty diaper. In the ultrasound room, the warm machine added to the strength of the aroma; and on a particular day, it was most bothersome. After she left, I complained to the nurse, that I did not understand why she couldn’t keep that baby in a clean diaper. She gently responded to me that “no” I did not understand. She explained to me that she probably did not have enough money to change a diaper every time it was soiled, so she had to ration them out throughout the day. I felt so embarrassed and humbled. I prided myself on being caring to my patients; and yet, I had still made a judgment. My philosophy of healthcare is to always try to remember not to judge my patients, as I have not walked in their shoes.
Updated: October 18, 2010 - 2:34pm - by Yvette Saliba