Tobi Greene, M.D. FACS
From an early age, I knew that I would become a doctor and surgeon. More a calling than a career choice, for me, being a doctor was as much about helping people as acquiring the scientific knowledge and technical expertise with which to perform surgery on them. As an attending breast oncology surgeon working with a hospital-based group, one area of practice that always left me wanting was the inability to spend more time with my patients discussing their diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, and aftercare. Over time, when the routine of working as an attending surgeon felt more like a factory than a hospital, I left and went into private practice. This allowed me to practice medicine in a more humanistic way, first and foremost benefitting the patient, and then secondarily, the physician.
Years later, upon dealing with my own medical issues, some of which required surgical intervention, followed by my child having medical issues, also requiring surgical intervention, I found myself in the unexpected position of experiencing health care as a patient rather than as a provider.
Fortunately, I was in a position of knowing what questions to ask, whose opinions to solicit, and what various options to pursue.
Ultimately, I was empowered to make a life-changing decision; rather than resume my surgical career, the idea of founding a medical consulting firm greatly appealed to me–a venue through which I could bring physicians and surgeons together to help patients navigate and negotiate their way through the maze of healthcare in a more supportive and empathetic fashion.
The decision to cease practicing surgery was monumental as I defined myself by the word “surgeon.” I fulfilled a passion and I honored the privilege of the profession. Although I miss operating with all of my heart, I am thankful to have the opportunity to help families through their most vulnerable and emotional times.
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