Finding The Right Recipe For Patient Care

By John H. McCord, DPM

   I wrote about cooking a few months ago in this column (see page 98, April issue). Since that column was published, many readers have called or written to ask for my recipe for salmon marinated in single malt Scotch and grilled on a cedar plank. I have a confession. I don’t usually use recipes when I cook.    Cooking is something I can experiment with and goof up without dire consequences so I wing it and no dish ever comes out the same twice. I will try to remember the basics of the marinated salmon and give you a usable recipe (see “Dr. McCord’s Recipe For Marinated Salmon” below).    However, there are aspects in my life where I follow strict guidelines and use a “recipe” so I don’t screw up. These are the aspects of life where a mistake can hurt someone else.    I follow a recipe for being a husband. I always attempt to make my wife of 36 years feel as important to me as she was when I fell in love with her during our senior year of high school. That requires a lot of flowers, cards, love letters and of course, cooking romantic meals on special occasions. Tonight is the 40th anniversary of our first kiss. I cooked a Stilton blue cheese soup and served it with a Greek salad and a glass of Chardonnay. I also washed the dishes.    I follow a strict recipe for being a father. My three adult children still like to call Dad and tell him about their dreams and their challenges. I never dismiss their ideas as foolish even when I am tempted to yell, “Grow up!” They know that I love them unconditionally so they bounce every goofy idea off me. I just listen quietly and try to encourage them and assure them things will work out.    I follow an especially strict recipe for being a doctor. The needs of my patients are what drive my medical decisions. I never propose a treatment or procedure that will create large reimbursement to push my bottom line. The only justification for any care plan is the need of my patient.    I recently spoke with a young surgeon (non-podiatric) who complained that he had to examine 10 patients for every one that needed a procedure. He needs a better recipe for patient care. Some time when there isn’t a crowd around, I plan to chew him out for his comment. He is young, smart and talented so I am sure he will figure it out in time.    My recipe for patient care often goes beyond their foot issues. When I learn of a special need that I can help with, I try. One tough talking mechanic came to my clinic in tears a few months ago. He told me his 2-month-old grandson had died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). He spent all he had on the funeral and could not afford a grave stone. He was afraid the grave would be lost. He told me about one of his children who was buried in an unmarked grave, which his family has not been able to locate.    I contacted a local monument company and sent a check for the stone. I called my patient and told him to take his daughter to select a stone. His grandson’s grave will never be lost. This is just part of my recipe.    There are all kinds of opportunities to help patients. A 13-year-old patient of mine is now in therapeutic foster care after her father was sent to prison for abusing her. I just covered the tuition for her ballet workshop. It is part of the recipe. Dr. McCord is a Diplomate with the American Board of Podiatric Surgery. He practices at the Centralia Medical Center in Centralia, Wash.

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