Saturday, April 05, 2008


It happened at least twice a year, after birthdays and Christmas:

"You make sure to write those thank-you notes to the folks that sent you such nice presents, Wes."

"Ah, Mom, do I have to?"

"Yes you do. Just sit down and get it done. Then you can take it off your list of things to do."
* * *

Medicine is a complicated enterprise, with a myriad of talented individuals who work together to achieve a common goal: the care of our patients. While I often rail on this blog about certain aspects of healthcare that frustrate me, I find it is the patients themselves that reaffirm time and time again why I do what I do.

Throughout my career as a doctor, I have always prized thank you notes. They are sincere, gracious acknowledgements of our efforts, and the written word takes just a bit more effort than verbal one and can be cherished for years.

But none of us work in a vacuum. Behind every instance of care that doctors provide, there are a myriad of individuals who have helped sculpt the patient's experience.

So for the secretaries who took the calls,
the nurses who checked and rechecked the particulars,
the nurse practitioners who followed-up,
the technicians who were at the monitors,
the hospital administrators who maintained the facilities,
the phlebotomists who drew the blood,
the engineers who developed the technology,
the companies that made these devices,
and doctors who conceived of the technology,
and the researchers who brought biventricular pacing to fruition...

...this one's for you (used with patient permission):

Click to enlarge



Ian Furst said...

...and with a few short words, the day is made so much better.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely charming.

SeaSpray said...

Dr Wes...this is so thoughtful of you to take the time for these acknowledgments.

Ans what a wonderful letter you received from your patient!

I too have taken the time to write thank you letter/notes for some of my docs. I know how your patient feels because that is how I feel toward my urologist for his hard work and dedication in facilitating healing of my constricted ureter.

I hope it is alright that I am linking to your post because I think it is a beautiful example of how a few written words can be such an encouragement to others.

Thank you for sharing this. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this. What a wonderful handwritten note! It sure does make the reader smile.