"Doctors belong to an insular world - one of hemorrhages and lab tests and people sliced open. We are for the moment the healthy few who live among the sick. And it is easy to become alien to the experiences and sometimes the values of the rest of civilization. Ours is a world even our families do not grasp. This is, in certain respects, the experience of athletes and soldiers and professional musicians. Unlike them, however, we are not only removed, we are also alone. Once residency is over and you’ve settled in Sleepy Eye or the northern peninsula of Michigan or, for that matter, Manhattan, the slew of patients and isolation of practice take you away from anyone who really knows what it is like to cut a stomach cancer from a patient or lose her to a pneumonia afterward or answer the family’s accusing questions or fight with insurers to get paid."
— Dr Atul Gawande, Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science (via medicaljourney)