The Focused Docs and the Patient

As years roll on, I’m noticing more parts of me breaking down: Teeth, eyes, knees, cardiovascular, stomach – the list keeps getting longer as does the list of docs I see. Blessed to be living in an area with the world’s finest medical care and lucky that healthcare innovation (and Medicare) have made it possible for me to keep doing what I love to do, I can’t help but notice that there are a few breakdowns also in our systems of medical care. While our providers share the highest purpose – make the patient well – they’re often burdened by systems that make it difficult to see the whole patient.

Rebounding this week from my second knee replacement in 2024 (kudos to the greatest doc and hospital team), I was inspired, nonetheless to compose a whimsical parody of a nineteenth century poem penned by John Godfrey Saxe. The moral: As we focus more on the parts, we may miss the whole. Enjoy.


The Focused Docs and the Patient
Adapted from The Blind Men and the Elephant, John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887)

It was six docs of Medicine

To wellness each was purposed,

Who went to see the Patient

(Though all of them were focused),

That each by observation

Might satisfy their locus.


The First approached the Patient,

And happening to fall

Against his breast and heartbeat,

At once began to bawl:

"God bless me! but the Patient

Is very like a HEART!"


The Second, examining blood results,

Cried, "Ho, what have we here,

Cholesterol, Glucose, Creatinine,

To me 'tis mighty plain,

This wonder of a Patient

Is purely ENDOCRINE!"


The Third approached the Patient,

And happening to gaze

Within the patients fusty mouth,

Thus boldly up and says:

"I see," quoth he, "the Patient

Is very like a TOOTH!


The Fourth reached out below the thigh,
To feel what there could be
"What most this wondrous soul is like
Is mighty plain," quoth he:
"'Tis clear enough the Patient
Is very like a KNEE!"

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the wrist,
Said: "E'en the greenest doc
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of a Patient
Is very like a VEIN!"

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the patient to measure,
Than placing a cuff on the patient’s arm,
And listening to his scope,
"I see," quoth he, "the Patient
Is very like BLOOD PRESSURE!"

And so these docs of Medicine
Debated loud and long,
Each in their own expertise
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!

Have a great summer!
O.L.D. (Old Lean Dude)

By the way! To mark our 30th year, GBMP has rebranded with a logo to highlight our consulting practice. As of 2024, you’ll see us this way:

small cropped transparent GBMP Black Logo-01-2

And – On July 18-19, we ‘ll be collaborating at with six other kindred organizations each focused on our particular brand of improvement, but working together to understand the whole: “The Future of People at Work Symposium.  Click here to learn more and register. The price is only $249. (This is not a typo.) We really want you to join us at the Detroit MGM Grand Hotel for this groundbreaking event! A special room rate of $191 per night is available until June 16. I’ll be there with the GBMP Consulting Group team. Hope to see you.



on June 03 , 2024.