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Medicine In Translation: Journeys With My Patients, By Danielle Ofri

1512 words - 6 pages

In the healthcare system many times patients are just patients and appointments are just appointments. The outlook on the patients and appointments all depends on the area of practice and the health professional themselves. Working in the emergency department, the nurses and doctors there typically do not see the same patient more than once and if they do the chance of them remembering them is slim to none just for the simple fact of the pace of the department. When it comes down to Physicians in the hospital setting, the care is not just quick and done. Great patient to healthcare professional relationships are formed and for some it may feel as if they are taking a “journey”(209) with their patients as they receive their medical care. This essay will be based off the book Medicine in Translation: Journeys with My Patients by Danielle Ofri, in which Ofri herself gives us the stories of the journeys she went on with several of her patients. Patients are more than just an appointment to some people, and when it comes to Ofri she tends to treat her patients as if they are her own family.
Dr. Chan and Mrs. Geng are more of one patient than two for Dr. Ofri. This older Chinese couple moved to America from China where Dr. Chan was once a cardiologist until their move when he then opened a clinic as an herbalist until his retirement. They left their careers, family and kids behind and gained citizenship in America. This couple also came into the hospital together for the appointments, the one appointment scheduled usually always turned into an appointment for both of them with Dr. Ofri. While Dr. Chan has a history of many medical problems himself he was able to speak English, while his wife has progressive Alzheimer’s disease and could not speak any English so Dr. Chan came as a personal translator a majority of the time. After meeting Dr. Chan and Mrs. Geng, Dr. Ofri quickly came to the conclusion that “their truest wish was that they’d die together, that neither would leave the other alone, unattended.”(23) Oddly enough Dr. Ofri lives across the street from the couple and gave them her personal cell phone number in case of an emergency while at home. As time progressed and they came in for their regular check-ups the relationship between patient and doctor was building and they saw the best in each other. Dr. Ofri saw the couple as “the model Americans”(194) despite the immigration for the fact that they left the only country they knew on a whim with no plan to a foreign country they knew nothing about and made their way through life with what they had. On the opposing side Dr. Chan thought highly of Dr. Ofri commented in passing by in their neighborhood “‘Not only…do we have…good doctor…we also have…good neighbor.”(21) After several medical bumps in the road including a transient ischemic attack, mini spikes in blood pressure and an allergic reaction that sent him over the top, Dr. Chan decided that he must go back to China but there was a...

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