On the first day of my surgery clerkship, our chief resident gave us a few instructions for our next two months together. We had to carry certain types of gauze and tape in our soon-to-be overflowing white coat pockets, create a clear and confident daily plan for each patient we followed, and be ready for rounds at 6 a.m. the next morning.
It was Friday of the seventh week of my family medicine clerkship. I was tired. Tired from the day and, honestly, tired from the clerkship. I was ready for a change of pace. The next patient was Mr. S., a 30-year-old male, here for an establish care visit. I did not recognize the name. I reviewed his chart before the encounter, two visits in the system, both to the ER for cocaine-induced angina. I stereotyped him immediately. Not that this was right, but I did. I think everyone does.