2011 – Transcript of Trento
By Elvira Parravicini
At the end of this conference I just want to make a couple of comments to underline what we have learned. As I said in the very beginning, on Friday night, in the relationship with our patients we are provoked, challenged; we perceive this urge that moves us to take care of them, as medical professionals. We decided to work in the medical field to support with our knowledge and experience the promise for happiness that we find within each one of our patients and within ourselves. We also recognize how difficult it is for us to maintain the awareness of what we really want in our profession. This conference, I believe, helped us very much in this sense. The speakers of this conference witnessed in different ways that, by approaching the patients with a true motivation, with the heart, we become better professionals. This is very interesting to me. What I learned is that, even BEFORE making our evaluation, our diagnosis, and our plan of treatment, we have to look at who is in front of us. It is not a ‘clinical case’, a ‘diagnosis’, a ‘syndrome’, but it is a patient, a person, in front of me. And if he or she IS here and now in front of me, if he or she therefore EXISTS, his or her life is given and has a direction, a beginning and an end that cannot be controlled or manipulated, rather served towards its fulfillment.
Therefore, to be a medical professional means using all the medical knowledge, experience and skills in order to cure, to heal, to save the life of each of our patients, according to its given direction. However, sometimes we experience a sense of powerlessness, such it is when we deal with patients affected by very complicated diseases or in front of controversial cases, or other times we perceive an abyss between what we would like to do for our patient and what we actually are able to do. But this sense of powerlessness and inadequacy are good, because they make us aware of the fact that we don’t have the complete power of control, as it is very easy to think in our field. On the contrary, they call us to be extremely attentive at the clinical signs of our patient and also affectively involved in order to detect any little sign that leads us toward the discovery of the appropriate treatment for each patient. In this sense, taking care of each patient is always a drama, because we need to follow the patient, but, exactly because we follow another, there is NO right or wrong decision. In conclusion what I really learned during this 2012 medconference is that our job as medical professionals is to affirm that each of the patients we take care of, is not exclusively a biological phenomenon, the sum of their chromosomes, whether normal or abnormal, or they are not defined by the cultural hegemony of this society that considers them useless or even dangerous, if ‘diverse’ or ‘uncurable’. Whether our patients are successfully cured or chronically ill or terminal, they are constituted by their relationship with a mystery, who gives them life. We work to support the fulfillment of their lives.