Joshua Tree Counseling

Do You Hear Hoof Beats?

“If you hear hoof beats in Texas, think horses, not zebras” (from “Complications: A Surgeons Notes on an Imperfect Science,” by Atul Gawande, M.D.).

Sometimes it’s best to trust our intuition, defying traditional wisdom. If we think that we’re seeing something that others aren’t seeing, it’s often best to act on that insight. Or if we’re feeling a nudge from God to move in a particular direction or to address a particular situation, that’s often the route to go. Life is filled with risk.

If Dr. Atul Gawande hadn’t trusted his intuition that a young lady may have a flesh eating disease in her leg that would have killed her quickly, he would not have operated and saved this young person’s leg and life. Almost any other doctor would have treated her for cellulitis and sent her home (which in fact a few doctors had already done), rather than take her to surgery to search for the very rare killer called necrotizing fasciitis. In the imperfect art of medicine, as with all disciplines, we rarely know anything with certainty. Mark Twain said, “Apparently, there is nothing that cannot happen.” Dr. Gawande heard hoof beats in Texas, and he thought “horses.”

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

2 thoughts on “Do You Hear Hoof Beats?

  • April 9, 2013 at 7:31 am

    So glad I read this again, I read in a hurry the other day. I loved reading that the doctor went with his instincts and saved
    This girls life… I am also grateful that I know I can trust God and listen to his leading. To still the other voices that say you cannot do that!! Yes I can!! If God is for me, and he is the one leading, then I definitely can!!

    • April 14, 2013 at 2:08 am

      So true, Susan… Also, I think that it’s important to “err on the side of compassion,” anyway. Possibly saving someone’s life certainly falls in this category.

Comments are closed.