Why did you become a doctor?
My father suffered from poliomyelitis just before I was born, he became paralyzed from the waist down, so I lived all my life with an invalid father. I assisted him with many things even when I was little, so it is no surprise that I choose to become a doctor to help sick people. At the time it wasn’t an instinctive decision making but it’s clear that if I am gifted in any way, it is to listen to people. Later I learned that I like to analyze problems, sort out diagnostics and advise with care.
Why did you choose your specialty?
Internal medicine is the area where analytic thinking is very important. That is one thing that I enjoy very much.
What are the good points in being a doctor? The bad ones?
For me all of the above. In addition, I feel wonderful, when I see that I am able to ease people’s anxieties by making the right diagnosis and give proper explanations. I feel honored by people’s trust and do my best to earn it.
The bad ones are the administrative duties and the stress involved if the patient is late and I need to rush to take care of him/her.
What makes FirstMed different from other places where you have practiced medicine?
I have been with FirstMed for nearly 22 years. Before that, I have practiced in the US. I found a similar style in FirstMed as in the US. Here doctors have enough time for getting information from the patient, do examinations, diagnostics, and make conclusions.
In Hungary, patients are sent to various specialists, and the family doctor rarely has time to put the pieces together, especially when it gets complicated. Here, at FirsMed the GP sees the patient regularly, analyses the reports and helps to orient patients to the next step.
What do you like most about practicing medicine at FirstMed?
We have a neat yearly plan which includes all the basic and not-so-basic diagnostics. This and our ability to process insurance claims allowed me to provide continuity care for people. Often couples, and their children, when they reach the age of 18 choose me to be their doctor. Getting to know and being able to help families in the long term gives great satisfaction. However often we see someone who is temporarily in Hungary and needs health care in a foreign country: this is a stressful situation, but if a person like that finds us, we can help as in First Med everyone on the staff speaks English and learned to be empathic toward people. FirstMed staff is very supportive of each other and toward patients which gives a nice environment to work in.
What do you consider when looking for a doctor for yourself or a family member?
High level of knowledge and experience, empathy, good ability to listen, willingness to answer questions.
Besides specific medical advice that you give to individual patients is there anything that you would recommend for people to stay as healthy as possible?
I believe in the holistic approach of health: taking care of our body, soul and spirit are all important as they interact with each other. If we are not well in one area, it will affect the other two. One example is the increasing frequency of psychosomatic illnesses.
We have a lot of knowledge on how we should take care of our body (even if we don’t always do it), e.g regular exercise, healthy diet, and lately, we have learned about the importance of good hygiene and to protect ourselves (and others) with a mask on our face, taking vitamin D, C, and zinc.
It is equally important to take care of our souls. To take time in the evening to go through our thoughts, emotions, and actions of that day. Have we suppressed any emotions? Are we still angry at someone? Can we forgive them? What are we grateful for? What should we do differently next time? To meditate on these issues can help us release much tension, free ourselves from the stress that would otherwise hurt us.
Spiritual life is a sensitive area for many people. On the other hand, when we are in good mood we often say that we are in „good spirits”. So there is some correlation, isn’t there? I encourage everyone to explore his/her spiritual self and learn about it. I learned about different spiritual practices, but I find that believing and praying to God every day helps me grow, deal with stress, and keeps me well. I also know that I will not have a healthy body, and live forever, but during my life faith has given me tremendous strength. I recommend it to everyone to explore this area.
Thank you, Dr. Györgyi for the wonderful interview.