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He and I–an experienced physician and a nascent medical student, respectively–are sitting on our living-room couch next to a twenty-year-old neighbor who’s asked for advice, after explaining that he’s had a sore throat, fever, and fatigue for the past two weeks.
For my internal-medicine rotation as a third-year medical student, I was placed at Boston Medical Center, a large urban hospital that serves patients from all walks of life. My team included an attending, a pharmacist, a resident, two interns, two of my classmates and me.
Here is a snapshot of morning rounds with some of the patients I met, and of the emotions I experienced during my first weeks on the
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
“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.
July first Fellow,
a pager blares announcing
my initiating consult, a 29-year-old
(just my age)
and a first-time seizure
while receiving an infusion
of experimental treatment.
When I arrive
she’s already gotten
two milligrams of ativan
dilantin load is hanging
and I examine
a somnolent young woman
now coming ’round,
could be my friend, my
I am in my twenties.
I am a student in dental school. My seven classmates and I have gathered, notebooks and pens in hand, for the first day of our ten-day rotation at the Veteran’s Hospital oncology department.
Dr. Steele, a published expert in oral cancer, instructs us to follow him to the outpatient clinic. Some of those he’ll examine are initial consultations; others are follow-up exams. All are U.S.
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,
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
During most of my career as a psychiatrist, I haven’t often dealt directly with death. For the past five years, though, I have had the privilege of spending two days a week treating service men and women returning from deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq. Listening to their stories and talking with them about their war experiences, I’ve spent much more time thinking about death and dying.
Despite this, I was shocked when