I’m a 4th year medical student meandering along the arduous path to doctorhood. Along the way, I have acquired numerous stories and lost a decent amount of empathy. I’d like to share some of these things with you in my writing.

My brother, Horatio, is a large focus of this blog which allows me to tie together my interests (addiction, self-control, etc) and my desire to help him overcome alcohol dependence. This blog has become a great means for me to be able to connect and interact with people such as yourself. I appreciate your support and comments. And if you are kind enough, maybe you will even share your favorite post on twitter or facebook.

‘We are what we repeatedly do. Exellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit’ – Aristotle

    • Thank you so much, Jen!
      I have to admit, I’ve really been enjoying your blog as well. You have a very creative style that really catches my attention. I look forward to reading more.

  1. You speak of the word excellence, that is Arete in Greek. Moral excellence.

    If you seek Arete, Loose your empathy. That is poison. Find compassion. The medical schools do a disservice teaching empathy, but doctors need compassion . Its for healthy boundaries…

    The English word empathy is derived from the Greek word ἐμπάθεια (empatheia), “physical affection, passion, partiality” which comes from ἐν (en), “in, at” + πάθος (pathos), “passion” or “suffering”. Not a doctor’s job. Not healthy boundaries. Empathy is exhausting. Empatheia is affection or passion for suffering. The doctor’s passion is for healing.

    Compassion, meaning to suffer together with, comes from the Latin. Its prefix com- comes directly from com, an archaic version of the Latin preposition and affix cum (= with); the -passion segment is derived from passus, past participle of the deponent verb patior, patī, passus sum. Compassion is thus related in origin, form and meaning to the English noun patient (= one who suffers), from patiens, present participle of the same patior, and is akin to the Greek verb πάσχειν (= paskhein, to suffer) and to its cognate noun πάθος (= pathos). Ranked a great virtue in numerous philosophies, compassion is considered in almost all the major religious traditions as among the greatest of virtues.

    Never abandon you patients. Stand along side them. Guide their way. Show them compassion, but never empathy since you have no right or no place to take their suffering upon yourself, in modern terms that is called co-dependency and it is spiritually sick. Kahlil Gibran said, “Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolution.” That is compassion.

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