I grieve the loss of Sir Roger Bannister, whom I never got to repay for his kindness to me. But at least let me relate my favorite story about the great man.
Many people don’t realize that his achievements didn’t end after his famous athletic feat. He went on to become a prominent and respected neurologist who mentored a number of my London-based colleagues. One of them was training in internal medicine and Sir Roger was teaching a mini-rotation on neurology. She was struggling and he had to give her some feedback.
He: “You simply spend too long with each patient. You will never have as much time in everyday practice as you spent with that head injury case this morning. Just make an quick initial assessment and refer the patient on to neurology if you suspect serious damage.”
She: “I needed the 30 minutes to be sure.”
He: “In practice, you will have to do at least 15 of these screenings in an hour.”
She (getting irritated): “I can’t do a neurological screening in just 4 minutes!”
He (with a kind smile): “You might be surprised what you can accomplish in 4 minutes.”