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Tag: doctor-patient relationship

Just What the Doctor Ordered

David Edelbaum ~

I began practicing as an internist/nephrologist in the early 1960s. Having rented an office in Los Angeles, I introduced myself to the local medical community and set out to build a practice.

With a growing family, a mortgage and an office to support, I was hungry for patients. Hospital emergency rooms were good referral sources, so I took ER call at three different hospitals.

Late one Friday night, I got

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Water

Amulya Iyer ~

The professors,
they teach us
the types of diuretics,
their effects on the tubules–
convoluted or not.
They tell us to check
for pitting edema,
and grade it to see
how bad it has gotten.

But who teaches
the student
to kneel by the woman,
her legs swollen,
her heart failing in her chest–
to slip off

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My Friend, My Patient

Andrea Eisenberg ~

Seeing patients in my ob/gyn office this morning, I try to stave off the mild nervousness rumbling inside of me. My good friend Monica is having a C-section this afternoon, and I’m performing it.

We met ten years ago, when I walked my three-year-old daughter into Monica’s preschool classroom for the first time. Monica sat on the floor, a child in her lap and others playing around her. Like them,

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Night Call

Richard Weiss ~

At two am its insistent ring ambushes me awake.
I whisper, not wanting to disturb my wife or rouse
the dog who will whine for food, write down

the name and number before it’s jumbled, swallow
my resentment on being awakened and listen
to his story–then ask those practiced questions,

scrolling his body from one organ to another.
Tell me about the pain–what it

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Scarred

Joe Burns ~

“Did you have heart surgery?”

The shy seventeen-year-old girl’s question caught me completely off guard.

Her name was Sarah. Everything about her seemed perfectly organized–her long black braid falling ruler-straight between her shoulders, her folder with all of its documents sorted by date, her matching shoes and shirt, her entire wardrobe without a single wrinkle.

Her health was a bit less perfect. She’d been born with an atrial

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A Series of Unfortunate Events

Holland M. Kaplan ~

I’m sitting in the ICU team room, staring at the computer, trying to look like I’m writing a note. But my head is pounding.

As an internal-medicine resident doing my first month of residency, I’ve found the ICU of the bustling county hospital a jarring place to start my training. Although I’d anticipated the clinical challenge of caring for very ill ICU patients, I was unprepared for the emotional

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Walk-In

Ingrid Forsberg ~

It’s 10:00 am on a Monday in June. I’m the nurse practitioner on duty in a convenience care clinic housed in a corner drugstore in urban Chicago.

Sunlight is pouring through the huge storefront windows when my first patient of the day walks in. He’s in his late twenties, muscular, crew-cut. He looks like someone who’s used to being in charge.

Right now, though, he looks anxious. He’s pale,

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A Stranger Comes to Town

Syed M. Ahmed ~

Twenty-five years ago, having completed my family-medicine residency, I left Houston to start a two-year stint practicing in a remote village of fewer than 2,000 souls in the Appalachian Mountains of Ohio.

The day I arrived at my new workplace (a two-person practice in the only clinic for fifty miles), my new colleague Dr. Jones told me that she was leaving the next day on a two-week vacation.

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Birthday Boy

Joe Andrie ~

It’s another day for me as an intern on the labor-and-delivery floor of my large urban hospital–another day scrambling to help pregnant women deliver and trying to keep pace with the unpredictable timetable of the birthing process.

My hospital phone rings. I’m really starting to dread that sound.

It’s the triage nurse. We’re admitting a patient: Mrs. Harris, age thirty-four, who’s had several prior deliveries and therefore carries the

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Lean on Me

Joseph Fennelly ~

One morning in my office, a tall, slim package arrives along with a note, a portion of which follows:


Dr. Fennelly,

I can’t apologize enough for not getting your walking stick back sooner. Since my dad’s passing we have had to move my mother (who has a memory problem) several times, and with each move the walking stick moved too.



In some ways it reminded me of my dad

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Coming Up Short

Meghan G. Liroff ~

“Why so short?” says the four-year-old girl who’s here with an upper-respiratory infection.

Standing safely between her dad’s knees, she wears a bright pink jumpsuit. Her cheeks are dimpled; her hair is piled in a frizzy bun. She looks me up and down, as if trying to make sense of me.

I can’t help laughing.

It’s true, I think. At five feet even, I’m not blessed with height–but I

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Out of the Blue

Marianna Crane ~

As I sit in the exam room waiting for my first patient of the afternoon, the phone rings. It rings four more times before I realize that Amanda Ringwald, our eighty-year-old receptionist, hasn’t come back from taking a rare lunch break.

I pick up the phone and say, “VA Hospital. Marianna Crane.” Oops, I’m not back at the VA anymore. “Senior Clinic,” I quickly add.

“Hello, my friend.”

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