Let’s Be Judgmental

14 09 2011

Yesterday, I watched a panel of professionals determine whether or not a physician, who had become addicted to a drug he self-administered, was acceptable to our insurance company.  Here is the scene:

Ten physicians are seated at a large U-shaped table in a big, over-air-conditioned room.

Doctor Applicant is ushered in.

He is very tall, close to 6’6.”

He is young – at least twenty years younger than the panel physicians.

He is handsome.

I can see the panelists’ jaws clench; they sit up straighter in their chairs.  This will not be pretty.  The lead physician leans back in his seat, levels his gaze on the young doctor and says, “So, do you want to tell us how this happened?”

Young doctor speaks slowly and clearly, saying that he made a mistake in his residency by trying to “manage stress without asking for help from others, ending up trying to manage it chemically.”  Eyes roll and there is shuffling in the seats.  Residency –  they’d all been there, done that.  He then says, very simply and without any maudlin detail, that, at the time of his transgression, his wife was pregnant with triplets, there were medical complications, and that, combined with the rigors of medical residency were too much for him to handle without help.

None of them’d been there  .   .  .

This man had screwed up big time – he had jeopardized what was sure to be a brilliant career – BUT HE HAD NOT QUIT.  He took almost a year off from his training to learn stay sober.  He returned to complete his residency with flying colors.  His wife’s pregnancy had been difficult, but successful, so they are raising their now almost 5-year-old triplets.

Our esteemed panel was unanimous in their support of this doctor.

So what?  Here’s what.

People make mistakes.  To deny someone the opportunity to correct a mistake is also a mistake.  This man is flawed, but he is not worthless. It is wasteful to throw away a whole book when it could be salvaged with a little Scotch tape.  I had a flat tire last week – didn’t make me junk the car.  Give people the chance to do right, even if they sometimes don’t.  Give yourself that same chance.

We have a tendency to zero in on the flaws in our lives.  We train our spotlight so narrowly on them that there’s no way to see all that is wonderful, perfect, beautiful within us.  We are all flawed, but we have worth that far exceeds our weaknesses.  Will you screw up – sure.  Will you quit?  You’d better not.

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5 responses

14 09 2011
linda billet

I just LOVE a happy ending! SO glad they supported him. Every single one of us is fighting a great battle. We only know about our own.

14 09 2011
cheryl strait

Wonderful words of widow thanks for this post.

14 09 2011
cheryl strait

That would be wisdom my DROID and spell checker make me crazy…lol

14 09 2011
Dana Zimmerman

GREAT piece Paula!!! Lol Cheryl….

14 09 2011
Millie Krauss

Great job kid. I’m surprised that you knew how to spell QUIT. I don’t think I ever heard you say it. Keep your blog going.

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