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Tag: medical student stories


Ralph B. Freidin

Every fall, medical schools welcome nearly 20,000 college graduates. They arrive anticipating endless hours of lectures, too much coffee, and infinite facts to memorize. There is one thing they do not expect, however. I know. Forty-nine years ago, I was one of them.

The first day I walked onto the wards was in spring of 1967. I was in St. Louis, doing my second year of medical school. Previously my

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A Routine Transgender Visit

Nat Fondell

“Hey, Rick. They warned you about me, I hope?”

My routine med-student opening line elicits a slight smile from my balding forty-two-year-old patient and the patient’s wife. As we shake hands, I continue the script.

“I’m Nat–the medical student. What brings you in today?”

“Well, I’d like to transfer my care to this clinic. We’ve brought my medical records.”

Together, they heave stacks of papers onto the desk.

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Series: Patient Interviews

Alexandra Rosenberg

1. (PHQ-9: Screen for Depression)

“Depressed? Course I’m depressed.
My wife died ten years ago.
My son? Well…
He does the best he can for me.”

2. (DNR)

“What’s that you call it?
No ma’am.
No way to die.
Just call my daughter,
give me some pills–
I’ll go easy.”

3. (Suicide Attempt)

“I’ve got two voices in

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seasons wang


Caroline Wang

About the artist: 

Caroline Wang is a medical student at Drexel University College of Medicine (DUCOM), completing the MD/MBA dual degree program. When she’s not studying, she enjoys running and weightlifting to stay in shape. She is involved in medical humanities through her participation as a

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Anne Whetzel

It’s two months into my second year of medical school, and I’m at the clinic, preparing to shadow Dr. Neiland, a primary-care physician.

I didn’t want to come here this morning.

Yesterday, one of my preceptors decided that it was my turn to be “pimped.” Pimping, in medical education, is when the preceptor asks you questions until you get one wrong. Then he asks more questions, highlighting your ignorance. Theoretically,

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Chocolate Cake

Sanyu Janardan

I was a first-year medical student, starting my first afternoon at an outpatient clinic as part of an introductory course in clinical medicine. My white coat was freshly washed; I had a rainbow of pens in one coat pocket, and my shiny name tag dangled from the other. I only hoped that I was as prepared as I looked.

I entered Mrs. Carr’s room. A fifty-five-year-old woman, she sat gingerly at

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Thirty Below

Kristie Johnson

One cold February morning during my third year of medical school, I walked through the entrance of the rural hospital where I was doing a nine-month rotation, and made my way to the nurses’ station. Feeling the warmth return to my face, I set down my coat and bag and hung my stethoscope around my neck.

The charge nurse, Barb, waved me to her computer.

“Kristie, you have a patient.”

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The Case of the Lima Bean

Matthew Webb

“Matthew, go see this lady about her breast mass,” says my attending physician at the clinic where, as a third-year medical student, I’m doing a family-medicine rotation.

Okay, I think. I’ve done my ob/gyn rotation; breast masses are no big deal.

I don my short white coat, freshly baked from sitting in the back of my car as I drove to work on this oppressively hot morning. As I sling the stethoscope

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Allie Gips

tucked into the chaos of the emergency department
is a single room with stirrups, a floor spackled with blood,
& a woman whose face betrays nothing.
the bodies of all those i have touched who have then
died pile before me like so many broken eggshells
so i stand against the wall to distance myself from her
& her cramping uterus, her dark red clots that fall

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Exam-Room Follies

Anne Whetzel

Pamela sits on the examining-room stool, looking at me expectantly.

I am in my first year of medical school. I do as I’ve been told to do in Medical Skills class: I observe my patient–without judgment or assumptions–and try to figure out what questions to ask, based on the information I am given.

Pamela has curly, strawberry-blonde hair and looks to be thirty, just a few years older than me. Her

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The Bodies Green and Blue

Krupa Harishankar

Reflections from the anatomy lab
overlooking Central Park

Reluctant, the same green

light over that copse of trees

and sheet of lawn glares and

bends through the lifted-open

cage of ribs, branched veins,

and cragged spine. Exposed,

my hands

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Rewriting the Script

Adam B. Weiner



The word came unbidden into my head. 


Oh, no. Here I was, only a few questions into Mr. Marlow’s medical history, and the feeling had begun already.


I’d often experienced this when I was a pre-med student, spending so much time

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