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About More Voices

Every month More Voices invites readers to contribute short nonfiction prose pieces of 40 to 400 words on a healthcare theme.



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I was a third-year medical student on a scholarship trying to make a few extra bucks in order to survive. So I applied for a job as the overnight lab technician at a local community hospital. My job required that I go to the ER when they called for labs, draw the blood from the patient, take the specimen back to the lab, run the tests, and then go back to the ER and deliver the results. Which was fine.

One night I was called to draw blood from a man who was a well-known alcoholic. He had been to the ER many times because of his alcoholism, and his liver was bad. I went to see him and spent a fair amount of time talking with him. With the naivete of youth, I tried to convince him that drinking was bad for him and urged him to quit. Then I drew the blood tests that had been ordered and went back to the lab.
A few months later, I was working in the university hospital seeing a patient who had come in for some respiratory problems. She saw my name and said, "You're the medical student who talked to my brother about his drinking! He stopped drinking right after that and has been healthy ever since!  Thank you! You helped save his life!"

David Coulter

Natick, Massachusetts