Doctor-patient relationship important, even for pets

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I brought my dearest friend Sam in for surgery today. By my calculations Sam is in his mid-to-late 60s, but gets around pretty darn well for his age. During the sedation period I chatted with Sam’s doctor, inquiring about a mutual friend. She said “She’s not feeling so well, in fact she’s feeling old, but when she tells her doctor, the doctor shrugs (as though at her age, she had no right to feel well). Funny, I thought, our mutual friend is about the same age as my friend Sam, yet I watched as this loving doctor gave Sam the care and compassion — not of a medical professional, but of a human being. I cannot refer our mutual friend to this doctor because, as I should probably have told you at the outset, this doctor is my veterinarian, An LaBarre. Sam is my 12-year-old schnauzer, who is still treated like a pup by An and her highly trained and ultra-sensitive staff. To all the doctors out there — please reconsider the term “Doctor-Patient Privilege,” not in its legalistic context, but as a core concept. The best doctor-patient relationships are grounded in a mutual sense of privilege. Whether we are young or old, please do not lose that sense of privilege, or the caring and compassion that should accompany it. Dr. An LaBarre certainly has not. Alexis C. Korbey Auburn