Back in Texas in good ol’ 1996, when my first son came into the world, a nice, well put-together doctor entered our room. He introduced himself as Dr. Connelly, the pediatrician on call. He appeared very polite and had an effortless bedside manner. He let us know that our son looked healthy and had passed all the preliminary tests given to infants (hearing, sight, response). We discussed the circumcision planned for my boy’s second day of life. We did not know this new addition to our medical team, but we found him trustworthy.
At this point in the story, I admit that of all the decisions we needed to make as new parents, finding a good pediatrician had not entered our minds. After Dr. Connelly left the room, my wife and I agreed to prioritize finding a good doctor for our newborn. I quietly felt like somewhat of a failure because I should have had this issue resolved before now. I thought to myself, “Am I going to be able to keep this baby alive?”
The day of the procedure arrived. My wife and I thought nothing of the event, and we expected to mark one big thing off the list before going home with the newest member of our family. Dr. Connelly returned to the room an hour later to inform us that all appeared well, except that our son had bled a little more than expected. We nodded our heads, thinking nothing of his proclamation.
Several hours later, the nurse brought our baby boy to our room. We saw that he appeared wet, so I began to change him. When I opened the diaper, I took a step back upon discovering that his diaper was soaked in blood. My wife called for a nurse to ask if this was normal. She took our mighty guy back to an observation area. We still showed no signs of alarm. We thought that the matter would resolve itself, so we continued our conversation concerning medical care post-hospital.
Dr. Connelly entered our room a few hours later and admitted something that made me appreciate him. He said, “I do not know why your son continues to bleed, so I requested that a hematologist examine him.” We thanked him, but secretly I respected his honest answer. He was not a physician with a god complex. He admitted his limitations and sought solutions for our family. At that moment, my wife and I decided that we did not need to search any further for a pediatrician. We had found the best one for our family right there.
The medical team of hematologists came to our room to shared that our son had severe factor VIII hemophilia A. They moved our son to the hospital’s special pediatric unit and infused him with factor VIII, which stopped the bleeding. Except for a little jaundice, he recovered well.
I expressed gratitude to the staff for handling our medical issue in such a prompt fashion, inwardly giving thanks to Dr. Connelly. This man had offered a little phrase: “I don’t know.” Because of his unselfish admission, my son received the treatment he needed.
Dr. Connelly remained my son’s physician for the first 10 years of his life. When we moved to New Mexico in 2006, the most challenging relationship we severed was with our pediatrician. One may look at our experience as a random encounter, but I do not believe that line of thinking for one minute. This man came into our lives for a reason. At the time, we needed his guidance. A chance meeting, I think not.
I carry the lessons learned to this day. Through the years, I have experienced many kinds of medical personnel and find myself drawn to those who reveal their humanity. It is OK to be an expert in the field and still not know everything. Our experiences come in many shapes and sizes. We do not always fit a cookie-cutter, run-of-the-mill diagnosis. Saying, “I don’t know” leaves me with a feeling that a doctor will search for the answer. Together, we will find what is best for those we love.
Thank you, Dr. Connelly, for being passionate about searching for the best way to help those in need.
Note: Hemophilia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Hemophilia News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to hemophilia.
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