Tori Hudson, ND

The Four Agreements


Sometimes the right advice can do more than inspire; in the world of integrative medicine, it can save lives. Dr. Tori Hudson shares the four pieces of knowledge that have guided and impacted her practice.

The Interview

I read this book long ago, The Four Agreements, and it has been really helpful to me in my doctoring and in my life. The Four Agreements are always do your best, be impeccable with your word, don’t take anything personally and don’t make assumptions.  When this first came around to me, it was a case of a patient who had a chronic cough and he said, “Oh, I just had this cold and this flu and I haven’t been able to get over it and I still have this cough.”

If one were to make assumptions one would say, “Oh, he just had this cold and flu and he’s got this cough, and we’ll just treat this lingering viral infection.” But that would be a mistake to make that assumption, and it illustrates the case well because it turns out he had been a smoker and this was a Pancoast tumor in his lung, and he had lung cancer. That always stuck in my mind. I’m glad I didn’t make assumptions.

Of course, we do always want to do our due diligence, but that was a shining moment for me as one example of those Four Agreements and being impeccable with my word with patients. “I’m going to call you on Monday to let you know your lab results,” or “I’m going to send you a card in the mail or you’ll hear from me within one week.” Basically do what you say to patients. That builds trust, it builds confidence, and of course you’re going to be more timely in helping people.

And then don’t take things personally. A patient doesn’t come back. I have no idea why they didn’t come back. I don’t need to make up a story about why they didn’t come back.

It’s always good to reassess. Did I do right by that patient? Do I wish I would have done this differently? But you can do yourself harm by taking things personally.

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