Doctors and vets deserve our gratitude

By Fr Michael Commane - The Way I See It

Published 11/06/2016 | 00:00

michael commane
michael commane

Have you ever watched Channel 4's 'The Supervet'?

It profiles the work done by Laois man Noel Fitzpatrick and his team in 'fixing' animals. It's a programme about love, skill, dedication and technology.

After last week's programme a friend of mine, who has had a knee replacement operation, had seen the 'Supervet' programme, phoned me to say how amazing she found it. I knew exactly what she was saying because I have seen the programme and also saw Noel Fitzpatrick being interviewed on television. He comes across as a remarkable man. He refers to vets as gatekeepers of unconditional love. If someone says that they are 'only animals' he immediately points out that we are all 'only' animals and we are all going to die.

I remember my late father saying how important it is for children to be around pets as it helps them to learn how to be kind. "People who are not kind to animals will not be kind to humans," he would say. How true. Like everything else in our lives, when things are going well and we are in good health we can easily take our doctors and nurses for granted. Okay, I hear you say that our doctors are well paid for the work they do but so often their dedication is way and above the call of duty.

My friend who had her knee replacement has been through the mill and the pain has been horrific. But all the time she has placed her complete confidence in the doctor who performed the operation. Last week on returning from a consultation, she expressed the confidence he had given her. He told her she was doing well, that the operation had been a great success. Those words made her feel good and gave her the strength to throw away one of the crutches. His skills and the skills of his team, plus their dedication and genuine concern for their patient was always a confidence-building experience for her.

Some years ago I moved from Kerry to Dublin. It meant I had no doctor. In the last few months I have found a new GP. I can't get over his kindness. I take his expertise and professionalism as a given. Some weeks ago I was worried about a health issue. I was almost embarrassed to face him about it and yet he made me feel completely at ease and dealt with the situation. Exactly what he does is replicated across the country. Of course some doctors and vets are better than others. But in the main it seems to me that our doctors do a great job. There is a young doctor who lives in my neighbourhood. I think he's still in training but not sure. I'm an early riser and try to be out walking my dog before 6.30. I see him most mornings heading off in his car just as I leave my house.

Doctors work hard and then to think of all the pain and human suffering they see every day. They have to go to tell mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, husbands and wives about death, brain injuries, losing limbs. It's a long list. No matter how often they tell such terrible stories it must always be emotionally draining for them. That, mixed with their expertise, surely makes them special people. They deserve our gratitude. They mend us. It's that mending that makes Noel too such an inspirational person.

Wexford People

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