We wield the privilege of the scalpel, / Slice skin, / Cauterize the cutaneous, / Disrobe the depths of disease.
The day before I was asked to give this speech, sometime mid-May, I was speaking with a first year student. At the time, I was two weeks shy of completing my third year of medical school — the year of school that you spend the most time in the hospital.
It’s 1 a.m., everyone’s running on three cups of coffee / When a man stumbles through the entrance / And I could hear whispers of / It’s him, the homeless man, back in the ER again
To physicians, hospice frequently symbolizes defeat. Referring a patient to hospice care can feel like admitting that disease has defeated years of training. In medical school, we are trained that the role of the doctor is to fight the disease and find the cure.
The first thing she noticed, / Was her heart fluttering off and on, / The doctor saw her pale, / And iron pills were called upon.
Tears hold onto the ledges of her eyes. As the physician and I approach, a quivering begins. It emerges at the jaw, a flutter running across her lips, only to drop onto her shoulders and envelop her hands.
During the team huddle I was assigned to Room 403, Bed 1. “There is a lot you can learn from this patient. You should see him.” I got the one liner and was off.
“Dan the magic man,” Q replied. Q rummaged through his jacket pocket and pulled out a quarter. A childish smile brought the color back to his face as he attempted to make the coin disappear into thin air and then pull it out from behind my ear.
A pair of Navy socks on pale, scrawny legs — that’s what I remember about him. 0300 hours in the ED and the umpteenth “What brings you in tonight, sir?” and suddenly all the patients start to meld together.
“What’s the matter with everybody?” asked Mrs. Palmer, a hopelessly demented woman with water wells for eyes. She had just endured her third consecutive tongue-lashing by the bulldog masquerading as a nurse anesthetist.
One of the visions of in-Training has been to raise awareness of the significant issues affecting medical students across the United States and internationally. Yet, when we focus solely on our needs, we often fail to see and appreciate the patient perspective.
they are / people first / more than just numbers and / statistics on a computer screen