The case of the curious Dr. Curran: how an ophthalmologists’s ability to see connections saved a life
Award-winning, bestselling novelist Chaim Potok has written that an artist must be curious, always asking questions of his environment: “he must somehow learn to see during the blinks, he must see where no one else can see, he must see the connections, the betweennesses in the world.” ** A good physician, like a good artist, approaches patients with this same curiosity: “what is this person feeling? what’s below the surface of this complaint? are the symptoms in his eyes connected to other problems?” Holistic care thrives on connection, lacing together the medical and the relational.
Dr. Ed Curran, a comprehensive ophthalmologist with our practice, is one such physician: “My goal at West Georgia Eye Care Center is to help deal with the medical problem itself squarely and efficiently, but to do it in the context of a relationship.” Read on for a true story of one of Dr. Curran’s patients, highlighting just how important connection-making can be.
Just last year, Mr. Lester Massey, an established patient, came to WGECC for his annual eye exam. Mr. Massey, a tall, dignified gentleman in his late seventies, is no stranger to medical examinations: “I’m a heart patient, I have a pacemaker, and I’m pretty used to this whole doctor routine.” But he was beginning to feel increasingly off: “I started going down, down. My blood pressure was really low and I felt tired all the time, and my vision just wasn’t right sometimes.” He mentioned this to Dr. Curran, who immediately began to look for connections. “‘Something’s suspicious here,’ he said, and he called my heart doctor right then and there to find out about my medications.” Detective-like, Dr. Curran pieced together the clues and became concerned about his digoxin dose, speedily sending Mr. Massey to his cardiologist. As it turns out, Mr. Massey’s blood level of digoxin was slowly slowly building up, and quickly becoming toxic. “It was killing me. Dr. Curran saved my life!”
His digoxin dosage now reduced by half, he felt 100 percent better within a day.
A year later, and Mr. Massey still vividly remembers the event. In fact, he braved a menacing thunderstorm just to come into the office and give his testimonial! “I’d do anything for Dr. Curran,” he laughed, flicking the raindrops off his jacket. “I trust him, and he’s a good man. You can’t say that about everybody, and I don’t say it lightly.”
For Mr. Massey, it matters who you see…because your doctor might just be the one who saves your life.
**Potok, Chaim. My Name is Asher Lev.