An Emergency Room Doctor's Improvement in “Considering Others First”
(Minghui.org) The health care system in China is plagued with financial crises, patient dissatisfaction, and tension between medical staff and patients. Tensions run especially high in emergency rooms. I am an emergency room physician and specialize in internal medicine. I would like to share some of my cultivation experiences from the past 13 years of working in an emergency room.
Going to Medical School to “Help Others”
I decided to be a physician when I was a senior in high school. I believed I would gain virtue by helping others. One day, my father asked me why I wanted to be a doctor. I said it was because I wanted to help others. A week later, I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a copy of Zhuan Falun, the main book of Falun Dafa.
After reading the book the first time, I came to understand many questions I had about life. I felt enlightened by the explanations in the book and learned what human lives are for. I learned that virtue cannot be seen in the material world but truly exists in another dimension. I started practicing Falun Dafa and have felt fortunate ever since.
After high school, I went to medical school. After residency, I started working at a top-rated hospital.
The Lowest Point of My Cultivation
I started working in the emergency department in 2005. In the course of my career, I have met and treated every kind of person and problem one can imagine. The number of cases I addressed was quite substantial, and the intensity of the emergency room made it a great setting for me to cultivate my xinxing.
The transition from the school environment to that in the hospital made it hard for me to focus my mind on both work and cultivation. Over time I relaxed in my cultivation and started to compete for recognition. I developed an attachment to vanity and accepted kickbacks from pharmaceutical companies.
As time went by, I started to get tired easily. I became anxious and depressed, with a mind full of negative thoughts. Feeling burned out, I wanted to transfer from the emergency department. When I took a closer look at myself, I found that I had slid to a low point in my cultivation.
Benevolence and Kindness
I tended to think and act based on my own feelings. For instance, I once got annoyed at a patient who came to the emergency room at two o'clock in the morning for an illness she had been suffering from for two months. I became upset because she disturbed my sleep for something she could have come in for during the day.
Master Li Hongzhi (the founder of Falun Dafa) said:
“You should always be benevolent and kind to others and consider others when doing anything. Whenever you encounter a problem, you should first consider whether others can put up with this matter or if it will hurt anyone. In doing so, there will not be any problems. Therefore, in cultivation you should follow a higher and higher standard for yourself.” (Lecture Four, Zhuan Falun)
I told myself to take personal loss and gain lightly and try to consider others from their point of view. I learned from experience how thinking from the other person's side can change the whole situation.
One night, a woman and her son came to the emergency room. The woman complained of a headache. Her tests were normal, except her blood pressure was elevated. I wrote an order for a CT scan and told her son where to take her and what to do.
It was a very busy night, and there was only me and one nurse on duty. Soon the young man came back and said, “There is no one in the radiology department, and my mother's condition is deteriorating fast.” I ran to the CT room and found that the radiologist had already arranged the scan, so I ran back to the emergency room. But the young man came back again, complaining that he could not handle the hospital procedures on his own. I became irritated and went back to the CT room with him.
I thought that he was settled in, but half of an hour later he came back again: “My mother has a brain hemorrhage. Her treatment was delayed because of you. If something happens to her, I will go after you.”
Many thoughts went through my mind, including how I should with him and whether I should call security or the department head. Doing that would only make the situation worse. I calmed down and tried to remember Master’s teaching. I talked to the young man in a gentle tone. He told me his mother had two previous brain hemorrhages but recovered both times. His mother is his only family, and he was extremely worried about her as any devoted son would be.
I would have been angry too if I were him. I reflected upon my actions and saw that I had not acted in their best interest. I did not do everything I could to help them.
After talking with him for a while, I apologized and said, “I know I need to improve myself. Perhaps it's because I have been a doctor for so long that sometimes I overlook certain details.” After my heartfelt apology, I sensed positive energy from him, and he was no longer angry. As he was leaving, I wished his mother an early recovery and offered to help him with whatever I could. He thanked me and bowed as we left.
This incident made me regret how many cultivation opportunities I had missed simply because I had not seriously immersed my cultivation into my everyday life.
Over time I became more proactive and productive. I created information sheets for admission and discharge so patients and their families would have a quick reference guide in their hands. I also made care plans and admission templates for common emergency room visits for nurses to print out. As a result, the ER’s efficiency went up, and the stress levels for both patients and hospital staff went down.
I realized that as a Falun Dafa practitioner, I should present myself in the best way possible. A positive first impression can be helpful when I’m talking to people about the goodness of Falun Dafa and the evilness of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) persecution of the practice and its practitioners. So, I changed my boyish haircut and started to wear nicer clothing.
One night, a young man with a high fever came to the ER accompanied by his friend. I prescribed an intravenous antibiotic drip. After I got the young man settled, I heard his friend and a nurse arguing and the sound of glass breaking in the next room. I ran over and found that when the friend brought back the prescription from the pharmacy department and asked the nurse where he should put it, the nurse’s attitude was bad and she told him to just leave it on the table. Their tempers flared, and the bottle of medication fell and lay broken on the floor. I asked the nurse to refrain from speaking and took the friend outside the room and apologized to him.
To avoid further aggravation, I paid for the replacement medication and brought it to the young man and his friend. The nurse informed me that the young man was still short by one dose. As I turned around and headed for the pharmacy the second time, the friend felt a little embarrassed and offered to pay for the replacement medication.
I started a conversation with him, and we walked to the pharmacy together. He was determined to have the nurse fired. He worked in tourism and understood the importance of customer service. I let him vent and said, “I hope your business is successful, but I think a great leader should possess a great heart, right? Nurses work very hard for a small salary. What would you really gain if you get her fired? Would a dignified businessman argue with a young nurse over trivial things?” He calmed down and said, “It would be better if she were as dedicated and responsible as you. You are a good person.” I looked him in the eyes and said, “That's because I have a spiritual belief. I believe in Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. I practice Falun Dafa. The Chinese government persecutes Falun Dafa, but Dafa is good and very popular outside of China.”
After he heard what I said, he seemed to have forgotten his quarrel with the nurse. He said, “I went to Hong Kong as a guide a few times. I saw Falun Gong practitioners handing out information and talking to people. I think it’s great that you tell people the truth about Falun Gong.” At the end of our conversation, he happily withdrew from all Communist Party-affiliated organizations.
When he came back to inquire about the young man's condition, he brought a bottle of green tea for me to drink. I was very touched. After that experience, I pay even more attention to be thorough and responsible in all my dealings with patients and those accompanying them.
I still have many shortcomings that need to be cultivated away, including laziness, stubbornness, and impulsiveness. As a result of my cultivation experiences and learning to consider others over my own feelings and self-interest, I now have a genuine desire to eliminate my other attachments as well. I want to be more proactive in my cultivation and become one with Dafa.