One doctor once told me, "Competence without compassion is bad medicine." But another said, "Compassion without competence is crap."
The best doctors have both. One doctor tells this story in the Manning-DeBakey book:
An emaciated young woman with severe ulcerative colitis entered St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, Minn., several days before the late Dr. J. Arnold Bargen of the Mayo Clinic, a pioneer in managing inflammatory bowel disease, was to take his turn as consultant. She had a high fever, abdominal pain and raging diarrhea.
"We did all we could to make her comfortable," the doctor says, "but her symptoms continued without change until the morning Dr. Bargen met her. He walked across the room and stood at the bedside, reaching out to grasp her right hand with his and placing his left hand on her forearm. Looking her straight in the eye, he said, 'I am so glad you have come! We are going to make you better!'
". . . She seemed to relax. As the day wore on, the fever abated, her diarrhea and abdominal pain quieted down, and indeed she did get better. I have always thought that the magic of his greeting was transferred to that woman through the warmth of his handshake and his evident honesty. He really did care about her."