The surgeon had no prestigious named professorship, no N.I.H. grant and no plum administrative position in the hospital’s hierarchy. But to the other surgeons-in-training and me, he was exactly who we wanted to be. A decade or two earlier, he had started out like us, as a lowly resident in the medical center, but had… Continue reading Are Today’s New Surgeons Unprepared?
One night early in my internship, I received a frantic page for help from a fellow intern. Seasoned nurses had been unable to draw a patient’s blood, which senior doctors had ordered be done if his fever spiked, so they’d called the covering doctor, the first-year resident on call. For more than an hour he… Continue reading Are Med School Grads Prepared to Practice Medicine?
The elderly man lived alone in an apartment complex not far from the hospital. A younger neighbor, who’d watched him hobble down the building’s stairwell for nearly a week, insisted on taking him to the emergency room. Doctors there immediately diagnosed an infection in his painful toe and prescribed antibiotics for him to take at… Continue reading Emergency Rooms Are No Place for the Elderly
Not long ago, I heard a respected senior colleague recount to a group of medical students and trainees the story of a patient who had died under his care some 15 years earlier. Afterward, he had spent hours talking with the family, trying, he said, “to be as kind to them as I possibly could.”… Continue reading When Doctors and Nurses Work Together
“He’s back?” my colleague asked, eyes widening as she passed the patient’s room. “He’s in the hospital again?” Slender, pale and in his late 60s, the man had first been admitted nearly a year earlier with pressure in his chest so severe he had trouble breathing. When his heart stopped, doctors and nurses revived him… Continue reading The Hospital-Dependent Patient
Birdlike and in his 80s, the patient had come to the hospital complaining of a new cough. But it was not he whom my colleagues and I found most disquieting. It was his middle-aged daughter. With a practiced dexterity, she had managed to wheel her father in the clinic, hoist him on to the examining… Continue reading Doctors as Advocates for Family Leave