Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Can a Doctor and a Lawyer be Friends?

More specifically can a surgeon and a personal injury lawyer be friends?

I think I mentioned much earlier that we have recently moved back to the same city we lived during medical school. During that time we made friends with a couple who had just completed law school and were getting ready to start practice. They were great friends. I even hosted her baby shower - 8 years ago.

When I say great, they weren't the kind of friends we did much with. We never went out for dinner, never swapped recipes, or babysitting, never talked about the future or complain about what was happening in the moment. We saw them on Sunday's at church, or at other activities our congregation held. They were on our Christmas card list. But, we never called to chat and didn't really keep in touch much. They were solid, good people we knew we could depend on to do anything. We shared similar values and principles.

Fast forward and now we are living back in the same city, and they are still here! We were so happy to see them and had them over for dinner this weekend. It was nice to get caught up somewhat and to get our kids acquainted with theirs. And I think we have found a babysitter in one of their daughters. Bonus!

They hadn't change at all. And they said the same about us. It was like we had never left. In fact, we were all living in the same places we were then. The only thing that changed was the age and number of our children.

But as dinner concluded the guys were discussing work and the question of whether or not they could be good friends crossed my mind.

Before they were just "learning" their trade. So green and untainted, full of hope and dreams.  Now they are both practicing their craft and often they are disgruntled with members in each others profession. It's not like he is a strictly a malpractice attorney - that would be awkward. But my husband is being deposed this week and isn't very happy with attorneys. There were a few moments during the conversation where I could tell my husband was trying to change the subject. They agreed that there are bad lawyers and bad doctors.

The issue of health care, and the bureaucracy, and insurance companies are not good dinner conversations, especially when both of the participants are protecting their own interests. It didn't get out of hand, but it was interesting to see that my husbands views have been affected by his involvement on one side and our friends views have been affected by his on the other.

My husband has only been practicing for a couple of months and already his partner has been drilling into him the need to cover his tail. This profession may be one of a very few that requires absolute perfection 100% of the time. If you make a mistake and someone chooses to exploit it you can be ruined.

In the meantime, we really like this couple and hopefully we can maintain our friendship with the same degree of effort it has taken in the past: easy breezy. In the future I'll have to steer the conversations away from work and towards a subject that is less wrought with conflict.

I may have to pass a new rule in our home. Maybe even have it printed in large vinyl and posted for everyone to see:

We will gladly talk about sex and religion - just please don't talk about health care!

I wonder how that would go over?



  1. Love that sign!!!!! I strongly agree that health care can be a really touchy subject.

    Good Luck
    Chey xo

  2. We don't talk about it in our house, either. Not even between just the two of us. That whole conservative/liberal thing... (:

    1. Hi, I haven't seen you on the blogosphere for a while!

  3. I think the sign is definitely a must! :)

    It's nice to reconnect with old friends.. Your husband and the lawyer have very high stress jobs- and could be helpful to bounce ideas off of each other.. Maybe it is possible- after you make the sign- to be great friends. :) ha. Good luck with it! ;-)

  4. My motto is "No Blood and Guts"! But no matter how many times I chant it, it always comes around. Your husband's colleague is right... you have to cover yourself ALL THE TIME!! I've seen it all. I've seen doctors through other doctors under the bus to protect themselves!! It's ridiculously awful.
    I think doctors and lawyers can be friends if they are in completely different realms. That said, we have no attorney friends. ;)

  5. Every doctor needs a good lawyer and every lawyer needs a good doctor. Instead of getting upset about the ripoff's in each other's professions (because rip offs are everywhere - bad doctor's do deserve to be taken to the cleaners and greasy lawyers have their place in hell as well) try to find common ground. One side of our family is all lawyers and the other is all doctor's. It can definitely work. Good luck!

  6. I'm a lawyer--working in health law, no less--and I'm married to a resident! I work on the business side of things, though, which I am quick to tell my husband's fellow doctor friends. In fact, far from being wary of me, I think they are happy to have me as a resource who can advise them! I find my knowledge of the law to be especially helpful in talking by husband down when something bad happens at the hospital and he immediately extrapolates in his head to the worst case scenario. Not all lawyers are evil :-)

  7. I certainly think its possible to have a healthy relationship as lawyers and doctors! Me myself will start law school next yea, & hopefully end up practicing Health Law, and my soon to be husband will be a Surgeon. We use our platforms to educate each other, not to compete. There's always a benefit and medium you just have to be willing to find it!


Comments are fun, don't be shy. If you are visiting this blog for the first time leave me a note to introduce yourself.