Advice: don't just do something-stand thereby Roy Williams on 04/23/15
I was a young doctor working at the Mayo Clinic when an elderly patient's heart stopped beating. A pack of Resident Doctors, nurses, and aides descended upon the patient, but my Consultant (that's what senior Attending Physicians are called at the Mayo) pulled me back by my collar. He calmly said to me: "Don't just do something-stand there."
Initially stunned and frustrated, I have come to understand and treasure his subtle yet profound words of wisdom. He was quite simply advising me not to become so involved in the medical issue at hand that I lose focus on the patient as a WHOLE.
It seems to this physician that all too often healthcare providers (including this one) become so focused on the symptom that we are blind to the best interests and desires of the patient. I describe this as the collective brain of knowledge and training overwhelming the heart and compassion of medicine.
For example: The headline in The New York Times was that a new treatment for cancer doubled the length of survival. The study actually documented that the studied chemotherapy would cause severe nausea and diarrhea, would result in infections and hospitalizations, and resulted in the death of 1/5 patients. You may live longer, but you will spend this time ill and in doctors' offices or hospitals. That is if the treatment doesn't kill you.
Many times the appropriate treatment for a patient is not the latest and most aggressive. The best treatment also can reasonably and responsibly be no treatment.