Paul Dillahunt MD A Gifted Cardiologist and Interpersonally Competent Person

Today is Friday, so this post is on interpersonal competence.

In a previous post, I mentioned that my Mother had a heart attack.  She had to be air lifted from her local hospital to Baptist Medical Center in Jacksonville Fl.  She was met there by a cardiologist, Dr. Paul Dillahunt who placed a stent in her heart to open a blockage.  This all happened at 2:00 in the morning.
Dr. Dillahunt is a gifted surgeon.  He showed me the before and after x rays of my Mom’s heart.  The difference was dramatic.  This post is about Dr. Dillahunt, but not his expertise as a Cardiologist.  It is about his level of interpersonal competence.

If you read this blog with some regularity, you know that interpersonally competent people have three things in common.  1) They understand themselves, and use this knowledge to better understand others.  2) They build strong, mutually beneficial relationships with the people in their lives.  3) They resolve conflict in a positive manner.

During this difficult period for my family, Dr. Dillahunt distinguished himself as an interpersonally competent person.  The morning after my Mother’s emergency surgery, he called me in Denver to discuss her condition.  When I expressed some surprise that he took the time to call me, Dr. Dillahunt said that he knew I would want to hear first hand about my Mother’s condition.  He explained that his Mother is elderly and he would like to be kept informed of her condition had she been admitted to a hospital.  By so doing, he demonstrated a high level of self awareness that translated into his willingness to put himself in my shoes.  He called because he wanted me to be aware of the situation.  I really appreciated this.

He also told me that he would call if my Mother’s condition changed.  Sure enough, I received a phone call from him the next day, telling me about a minor change in her condition.  Dr. Dillahunt kept his word.  Even though the change was minor, he called.  He told me he did so because that’s what he promised to do.  By this call, he demonstrated his willingness to keep his commitments – something that is important to building strong, trusting relationships with others.

In these calls, Dr. Dillahunt explained that my Mother was in no immediate danger and that I didn’t need to rush to Jacksonville, but it would be a good idea for me to visit her in about a week.  When I got there several days later, he met me in the cardiac care unit and explained my Mother’s condition in great detail.  We spent about 20 minutes in conversation – which is quite a long time for a busy doc making his rounds in a hospital.  Dr. Dillahunt answered all of my questions, and gave me his card, telling me to feel free to call him if I had further questions.  Every time I saw him while I was visiting the hospital, he made time to talk to me and answer my questions.

Dr. Dillahunt displayed a great deal of empathy for me and my family.  In my book, he is not only a first rate physician, but a first rate person.  He is truly interpersonally competent.

The common sense point of this story is simple.  Interpersonally competent people are good relationship builders.  They are empathic.  This empathy comes from a high level of self awareness that allows them to understand how others are feeling in any given situation.  They build strong relationships by keeping their word.  And, when conflict arises, they resolve it in a positive manner by focusing on where they agree with the other person, not where they disagree.  Dr. Paul Dillahunt, of Jacksonville Fl, is a poster boy for interpersonal competence.  I feel fortunate that he was there to treat my Mother.

That’s it for today.  Thanks for reading.  Log on to my website for more common sense and to subscribe to my weekly newsletter “Common Sense.” 

I’ll see you around the web and at Alex’s Lemonade Stand.


PS: Speaking of Alex’s Lemonade Stand, my fundraising page is still open.  Please go to to read Alex’s inspiring story and to donate if you can.

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