Chief complaint: arm pain, / Waiting in room 4. / As I enter, he looks me up and down — / What is it he’s looking for?
Each morning, Mr. E had a new concern — too hot, too cold, too dizzy, too stiff. He was admitted for what seemed to be a straightforward heart failure exacerbation, but his echocardiography showed severe hypertrophy in both sides of his heart that the cardiologists described as “concerning for infiltrative cardiomyopathy.”
We’re overloaded with so much advice, so many ideas on how to be a better doctor, / how do we decide what to follow and what to ignore?
Until recently, vulnerability meant weakness, allowing oneself to fall behind without a chance for recovery. Courage, on the other hand, had the opposite meaning: betting all my chips on prevailing at any cost.
Allowing natural death gives the elderly and terminally ill the opportunity to control the end of their life, providing empowerment and a sense of peace during their time of uncertainty. This patient and her family’s forethought allowed us to provide medications to ease her pain and discomfort. When she closed her eyes for the last time, her body relaxed into the sheets, and I pulled the blanket up to her shoulders. Her family said goodbye, and then I began to perform post-mortem care.
I commented to the resident how satisfied the attending would be with the efficiency of his work. He just laughed and said “look” as he gestured down to his list of patients. I saw the name, and a sense of dread sank in during the rest of the silent walk down the hall.
The 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality demonstrates the U.S. transgender community’s need for mental health services and unique barriers to care.
The HIV clinic was one of my favorite rotations in all of third year. It was often emotional for me. Many uninsured, low-income patients came to the clinic not only for their HIV treatment, but also for comprehensive primary care.
Asking someone if they want to kill themselves becomes easier every time. The appalling part is how quickly this and other taboo personal questions became a normal part of my routine.
We shuffled out of the room, but before closing the door, I could hear her bangles ringing as her hands fell with defeat into her lap. Behind the closed office door, Dr. Altman gave us his three-word assessment: “She’s just crazy.”
Training to become a physician is not only about acquiring knowledge, but also learning to impart that knowledge upon others — most importantly, our patients. But, in this process of knowledge transfer, is it possible that the information we deliver becomes akin merely to the terms and conditions of a software agreement, the obligatory pop-up hastily scrolled through and accepted by the user — in this case, the patient?
On my first day volunteering in the hospital, my task is to observe Steven, a more experienced volunteer, as he visits with patients. We begin by meeting Amanda, the first patient on our list.