Sunday, October 25, 2009

Physicans Attending Funerals

Several weeks ago while preparing to do a weekly studio interview, the host and his previous guest noticed that I was wearing a dark suit. Both were surprised when I told them that after the show, I was attending the funeral of a long-time patient of mine.

I don't know if attending patients' funerals is the norm for physicans but in this case, and in several others during my career, it just seemed like the right thing to do. When treating patients over a period of years it is not uncommon to develop personal relationships and their passing creates a sense of loss for a physician as well as the office staff.

In this case, I had known the patient for almost 20 years. She had suffered several strokes and over the years I had come to know and treat many family members. I recall making house calls on occassion when she couldn't come to the office.

Fortunately, she lived a full life and passed on peacefully. I was pleased to see so many people attend the service and that I had a chance to express my condolences in person.

Do you think it is comforting for a patient's family when a physician attends a funeral or wake?
Is it odd?