A License to Heal: Random Memories of an ER Doctor by Steven Bentley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Steven Bentley, M.D., an American Board of Emergency Medicine certified ED doctor and also the author of this book with a fabulously fitting title, began his medical vocation in the mid-1970s with a naive but noble cause to heal the wounded and save human lives. His reason for choice of the ER Medicine was that it consisted of Minor Surgery and Emergency Medicine and thus gave him opportunities to practice a wider scope of medical knowledge and administer it to a wider range of patients.
Over 30 years until his retirement in 2000s, Dr. Bentley was a commendable doctor equipped with an arsenal of immense medical knowledge combined with a sea of compassion and kindness to treat all the patients he encountered in the ER of a hospital in North Carolina regardless of their social and economic statuses. Unlike most impersonal, officious doctors, Dr. Betley “listened” to his patients and oftentime went out of his way to help a patient whose medical need was repeatedly and cruelly rejected beyond a reasonable measure.
Welcome an old veteran man whose doctor was out of town, so he had to get his prescription for blood pressure control refilled at a VA hospital. However, it was such a painful ordeal for the old man, for he had encountered frustrating runaround from one hospital to another because they did not want to take a responsibility for refilling his prescription without his primary care doctor’s consent. So when the man finally came to Dr. Bentley, he burst out crying saying, “All I need is to get my usual prescription refilled…” Thereupon, Dr. Bentley wrote him a refill prescription and told him not to come back to the hospital. And off the man went out of the hospital with a relieved mind.
The world of the emergency medicine as experienced by the ER doctor himself was a variety of fragmented views of human frailty, both physically and mentally, but it was also the world of the most human medical practice where compassion, kindness, and charity were witnessed to the hopeful eyes and shared by the staff and the doctors in the name of humanity.