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
Mitch Kaminski ~
It had been a hectic day in the urgent-care clinic of my large family practice, and I was starting to worry about the time: My last two patients had put me thirty minutes behind.
I felt relieved when I saw the note for the next patient: “Seventy-four-year-old female with UTI.”
A urinary-tract infection! This should be quick and uncomplicated….
I walked into the room to find a well-dressed older
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.
Amy Crawford-Faucher ~
There’s one thing about being a family doctor: After a while, almost every patient you see is a familiar face. This can be a blessing or a curse, but mostly it’s a blessing.
This morning I’m in my office, reviewing today’s patients with Julia, the medical student rotating in our office.
I’m especially looking forward to my 10:30 appointment. It’s the first checkup for a newborn girl named Ella.
Andrea Eisenberg ~
Many years ago, on a busy day in my obstetrics-and-gynecology office, one of my partner’s patients came in for “bleeding, early pregnancy.” Since my partner wasn’t in that day, I saw the woman, whose name was Sarah. After we’d talked a bit, I examined her and did an ultrasound. As I’d expected, she was having a miscarriage. Feeling sorry that Sarah had to hear it from me, rather than from her
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
The thirteen-year-old boy sits in a battered ENT exam chair. Henry, my Kenyan colleague, hands me a blurry CT scan. “His neck mass has grown for two years,” Henry says. “We think it is a glomus vagale tumor. Do you agree?”
I hold the scan up to a window. The vascular mass fills the side of the boy’s neck, displacing his carotid artery. “That’s probably right,” I respond. “At home, we would get more studies. We
David Edelbaum ~
When I finished my medical training, almost sixty years ago, I was like many new graduates: I thought I knew it all.
I opened a private office in Los Angeles and paid courtesy calls on the local physicians to let them know my qualifications and my availability for consultation, as both an internist and a nephrologist. (The treatment of kidney disease was then in its infancy, and I was the
At least 3 people arriving. The ED is bustling, preparing for their arrival. Blade and Prolene stitch in my scrub pocket, I am ready. We are ready.
For a moment the ED almost seems silent.
My adrenaline starts pumping. This new patient will be my first time running a code. I can’t help but be excited.
I claim my place at the head of the bed and start setting up my airway equipment. My brain is methodically running through the ACLS algorithms I have memorized.
Her sister sat expressionless next to her lifeless body, and when I walked into the room, she began crying.
My tears swell. I tell her how sorry I am, and how brave she was. She tells me that her sister died “so quickly and peacefully” and that “it was her time to go.” I am grateful she surrendered to the inevitable.
I leave to complete