March 26, 2018

Weekly Reflection – The Real Life “Dr. Stat” Encounter

Weekly Reflection – The Real Life “Dr. Stat” Encounter

“Medical Emergency, Room 3312, Dr. Stat!” I was visiting a local hospital recently when the announcement came over the PA system. “Medical Emergency, Room 3312, Dr. Stat!” And we all know what happened next.  The doctors, the nurses, the crash cart, the chaplain all came running to address the emergency in Room 3312.  It was drama right out of a TV show!

I wondered, “What makes this team so effective in responding to medical emergencies?”

The doctor could have responded with, “I’m not sure…I might do or say the wrong thing.”  The chaplain might have said, “I’ll get there when I finish with my list of 12 patients.”  The nurse could have said, “If the doctor isn’t going, I’m not either!”  Instead, they all came running.  Why is that?

I suggest that they responded immediately and effectively because of two reasons:

  • They have thought about it ahead of time.
  • They have practiced it ahead of time.

So, what’s this got to do with us non-medical people?

So, what’s this got to do with us, non-medical people?

Well, we all receive “Dr. Stat” calls in our day-to-day lives.  My friend’s mother was just diagnosed with lung cancer.  An associate’s wife or husband has just decided they no longer want to be part of the family.  A large tree just fell on a tent in which a family was camping.  The mother was killed, and the husband is in ICU.  Will you help with the three small children?  A coworker was just let go and doesn’t know what to do.

Each of these is an emergency to the ones affected. They represent “Dr. Stat” moments in our lives.  I suspect you’ve had one or more such calls in just the past week — haven’t you?  I was having coffee with a friend a couple of days ago. She shared she’d just left her job and didn’t know what is next.  I was called to visit the family whose tent was crushed by a falling tree while they were camping.  Oh yes, and have you experienced the teenage daughter who comes home distraught over her latest romantic trauma?  And so it goes.

Each of these is an emergency to the ones affected.  How do you respond?  Can you react with confidence or are you like the mythical doctor who thinks he might make a mistake and so does nothing?

When these things happen, how can we be more effective in our response?  Well, it’s the same answer.

  • Think about it ahead of time.
  • Practice it ahead of time.

I sometimes participate in teaching a 15-hour workshop called, “Ministry In Times of Illness and Loss.”  It covers some of those areas you might like to think about before the “Dr. Stat” call comes.  Things like loss and crisis, interpersonal relationships, listening skills, the “Why me?” question, grief, etc.  And we practice several case studies in order to build our caregiving skills.

Not everyone can attend this workshop.  But we can all Google the topics and begin to think ahead of time how we might respond when “Dr. Stat” comes calling.

I am considering hosting a series of video conference/webinars on some of these subjects.  Would you be interested in participating?  Please give me some feedback on how I might be able to help you best before your next “Dr. Stat” call comes.

Blessings and peace,

Chaplain Allen


Read more reflections, My Go to Man

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)