A doctor has died at the age of 62 a couple of weeks ago. He had worked at his practice several days before his death. He has been doing with his own practice of GYN/OB just next to mine for about 10 years. We were not very close each other. We just exchanged a few words over the fence in morning or evening when coming into each other's offices or getting home out there. He won't stop smiling any time. He has had pretty many patients possibly thanks to his personality.
I knew he had had a cancer this winter and had undegone a major surgery. He came back to work in several weeks. I have not met him since then. But they told me he had lost much weight. He seemed to have had remote metastasis in GI tract which might be the direct cause of his death. He must have worked enduring much anxiety and pain for himself. I wonder what made him carry on working at the cost of precious time until the very end of his life. He could have spent it with family or could have done something else.
It is surprising he is not an exception. Quite a number of doctors would go on working until the end of their lives even when they know of the worst prognosis of their illnesses. What is the reason?
They could be different in their minds as the case may be. Whatever it may be in their mind, I believe, it is closely related with their attitude to profession. We have been trained to do the best for the patients at any cost. Even in the end of our lives, we might be "programmed" to do that. I won't boast, as a doctor, of this characteristics of doctors. Doctors have been trained to have an ethos to do their best to join and to straighten the flow of lives. In the end of our lives, economical profits or reputation among people won't be the matter for them. Working for the patients must be the proof of our lives.
Of course, I could not ask the doctor what he has thought in the last days of his life. He might answer me it has been his work. That was why he has worked. As I semiretired my work, I feel how much my work has meant to me in my life. I would go on working as a doctor, of course as a parttime, so far as I could.
Rest in peace, doctor N.