Once in a great while, you may have the privilege to meet a physician who conveys great and sincere love for her patients. I had the great good fortune to know such a person.
Dr. Kristin Corgan was my doctor. I use those words intentionally. My doctor. Mine in the sense that there could be no other doctor whom I would see to review my annual mammogram and talk about my overall health. She wasn’t the only physician I see and I certainly wasn’t her only patient. Nonetheless, she managed to make me, and I’m sure every other patient, feel as though I was her only concern. It made the minutes with her seem longer and certainly held meaning way beyond the time I spent with her.
I first saw her after my family physician recommended her. He said that his wife goes to her and, well, that’s a referral you can’t ignore! I was nervous. There was this lump that shouldn’t be there. I went to her office and sat in the cold examination room in the awful pink paper top, waiting. The only thing to distract me from my worry about the lump was my pulse, which was racing!
Shortly, Dr. Corgan bounced in. Yep, she bounced. Smiling, warm, at ease…my pulse slowed. She said, “let’s take a look and figure out what’s going on here. It’s probably nothing.” Pulse slowed again.
I didn’t have breast cancer, but over the next two years I saw Dr. Corgan regularly to make sure the lump was “nothing.” I got to know her, and she got to know me. She asked about my travels, workout regime and profession. I learned about her travels and enthusiasm for adventure and her charming sense of humor.
I felt cared for, yes. More than that, I felt loved.
Dr. Kristin Ruth Corgan died in April of this year. She died of breast cancer, the disease she had saved hundreds of women from either through detection or surgical treatment. My heart is bruised. Not only will I no longer benefit from her care but when I think of the women whose lives and health will not be touched by her, I am deeply saddened.
Dr. Corgan found a way in the morass of modern medicine to give her patients the precious gift of her sincere attention, empathy and love. She found a way to practice her profession without losing her soul.
If she can do this, so can we.