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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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Popping the Question

Mitch Kaminski

Mr. Dwyer isn’t my patient, but today I’m covering for my partner in our family-practice office, so he’s been slipped into my schedule.

Reading his chart, I have an ominous feeling that this visit won’t be simple.

A tall, lanky man with an air of quiet dignity, Mr. Dwyer is eighty-eight. His legs are swollen, and merely talking makes him short of breath.

He suffers from both congestive heart failure

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A Doctor’s Dilemma

Jessica Zitter

It was my first day at my new job, practicing a new specialty. Having spent fourteen years as an ICU physician–including a four-year pulmonary/critical-care fellowship in this very hospital–I had just completed a palliative-care fellowship. Now I was the hospital’s palliative-care consult attending.

When I set eyes on the patient in room 1407, my first thought was: THIS LADY NEEDS TO BE INTUBATED–STAT!

The only trouble was that my job was to ease

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Crafting My Own Safety Net

Nicola Holmes

As I guide my car through the evening traffic, I feel tears on my cheeks.

I am a doctor who plans ahead: I write out plans for my patients. This has led to my nickname, “Plan Doctor.”

Each of my consultations is carefully crafted in separate steps. The conclusion is laid out in my own neat copperplate

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Piece of Work

Jennifer Frank

“You’re a real piece of work!” he spat at me. He was a patient named Martin; I was the supervising physician, trying to role-model for a second-year resident how to conduct a difficult conversation with patients like this. 

So far, not so good.

At first glance, Martin seemed an ordinary-looking older man, with close-cut gray hair and plain-framed eyeglasses. But I was struck by his scowl–he was expecting an argument, perhaps because during

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