Cancer and the Value of Empathy with Dr. William Ramirez

The doctor has been fighting the disease for a little over two years and claims to have struck a balance between his profession and personal life.

Dr. William Ramirez, Obstetrics-Gynecologist Subspecialist in Maternal-Fetal Medicine and Multiple Myeloma Survivor. Photo: Medicine and Public Health Magazine.

In September 2021, Dr. William RamirezA distinguished obstetrician-gynecologist specializing in maternal-fetal medicine received an unexpected diagnosis that changed the course of his life: multiple myeloma,

“It’s a unique moment in one’s life, it’s a state where your mind becomes blurred from the clinical aspect as a professional of a sub-specialty and you drop to that point, the emotions, the thoughts, Come, there is a mixture of many ideas, express.

The health professional experienced a significant change in his life and perspective when he received a diagnosis after studying due to back problems. During this period, he reflected on his accomplishments, pending activities, the people around him, and how the situation might affect him.

Time to rethink your life

At this time, his professional practice was reaching its peak, with the hospitals where he worked experiencing significant growth and development in services and achievements. On a personal level, his daughters were entering adulthood, and he was in a new phase of marital life with his current wife.

He continued, “All those things came together within my thoughts and my emotions and provoked a series of reactions in me that basically what they did was make me readjust and start looking for solutions and alternatives. “

you faced challenges

The expert highlighted the most significant challenges he faced while adapting to his lifestyle as a health professional, especially due to the treatment he was about to receive: chemotherapy. Dealing with immune compromise and spinal cord injuries that could limit his mobility in the future was a major challenge. Accommodating all these considerations in both the short and long term proved to be a complex task.

“For me, one advantage I had was that I work in a hospital group, we are all like one big family and I had the support of many colleagues who helped me treat my condition and helped me with my patients. Helped to continue the care, because I belong to the group where we trained with three other gynecologists and now there are ten of us, where there has been a slight change in the care of our patients due to my condition. ,” he recalled.

As a health professional you neglect your well-being

Dr. Ramirez reflected on the tendency of health professionals to sometimes neglect their own health, an observation that extends not only to cancer patients, but also to many colleagues in different fields. He stressed the importance of balancing daily life, learning to manage stress and seeking professional help, whether through counseling, psychologists or other people who provide support.

“I’m still in treatment, in chemotherapy, trying to complete the initial process, thank God the bone marrow transplant was successful and I have maintenance for the next 6 to 8 months, given that the next Studies and biopsies are negative How have they recovered so far. The day becomes burdensome sometimes, when I am with a lot of patients, when I have to travel, it is tiring, but physically But I think I’ve reached a point of balance.” He said.

lesson learned

“The most important lesson is that when you’re in health care and you see different things, see different diagnoses, you try to empathize with patients, put yourself in that patient’s shoes. You can try to understand, but not until the doctor becomes the patient. We cannot lose our focus, we must revisit what we have done,” he concluded.

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