What are you looking for?

Tag: doctor-patient communication

Things That Matter

Paul Gross

For me, the best part of being a doctor, and the biggest privilege, is getting to talk with people about things that matter.

“You look sad today,” I say to a patient I’m seeing for the first time–a thirty-eight-year-old woman with a headache. In response, her lower lip starts to tremble, and she wipes an eye.

As I reach for the box of tissues and hand it to her, I know that whatever

Read More »

Toothache

Majid Khan

I always look forward to meeting new patients–and I confess that I have a particular fondness for young patients. They are, you see, at the point in their lives where everything is possible. It’s possible to have fun when other people might feel upset, possible to enjoy oneself on Friday night after a hard week of work (or study) rather than complaining about being too tired. I love sharing in their dreams, their

Read More »

Dr. B Gets an F

Gregory Shumer

Flashback to a year ago: I’m a first-year medical student–a fledgling, a novice–trying to integrate countless facts into a coherent understanding of how the human body works. Professors slam me with two months’ worth of information inside of two weeks’ time. They tell us that this is a necessary process, one that all doctors must go through: we must first learn the science of medicine before we can master the art of healing.

Read More »

Pearls Before Swine

Kate Lewis

I’m a third-year medical student, and I’m starting the second day of my new rotation–a month that I’ll spend with a family physician, Dr. Bauer, in his small, efficient home-based office.

Yesterday, my first day, a young woman named Sara came in for “strep throat.” She had dark Latina eyes, broad cheekbones and a delicate tattoo of the Chinese character for “dream” on her left wrist. She was 17 and seeking out a

Read More »

Chris

Lisa deMauro

My big sister Chris, 55, had recently returned to her first career, nursing, when she wrenched her back one day while helping to lift a patient. After weeks of physical therapy proved unhelpful, her internist ordered some tests, which indicated that her back injury might signal something more sinister. She’d had a lumpectomy for a “stage 0” breast cancer five years earlier, and her doctor advised her to make an appointment with the

Read More »

Invisible Thread

Donald O. Kollisch

From: Michael

To: Donald O. Kollisch
Subject: Serious medical update

Don,

I can’t say for sure why I’m writing to you, but you were such an important part of my life during the onset of my illness that I feel a strong desire to communicate with you.

The mysterious autoimmune disorder that was lurking in my body has finally had the decency to declare itself.

Read More »

Breaking Bad News

Paul Gross

Bad news is like a lump of red-hot coal that lands in your palm–and that you can’t let go of, no matter how badly you’d like to.

I was tossed the burning coal over twenty years ago, when I was thirty years old and fit as a fiddle. Or so I thought. I also happened to be a first-year medical student, having my head filled with facts large and small about the human

Read More »

Heart to Heart

Janani Krishnaswami

I first met you in pre-op. It was my first week as a third-year medical student; my white coat was still white, the hidden interior pockets empty and the ten gel pens neatly tucked in my front pocket still leak-free. Stationed on a surgery rotation, I had officially spent twelve hours in the operating room–a frantic, exhausting blur of standing on tiptoe, gripping surgical retractors and struggling to avoid contaminating the sterile operating

Read More »

Jeannie

Andrea Gordon

“The person with the contractions gets to pick the channel,” I reassure Jeannie, as she tries to talk me into watching The X-Files. It’s not my favorite, but I’m just the moral support–oh, and the doctor.

When she first came to see me, eight months back, Jeannie already had a four-year-old boy and didn’t think that there was much my little white nulliparous self could teach her about pregnancy. I’d offer her my book-learned

Read More »
Scroll to Top