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Seventeen years ago, I was a senior psychiatry resident, moonlighting on weekends in the psych unit at a small rural hospital. Usually the unit was quiet. In this remote corner of northern Canada, we were taught to value resources and avoid “unnecessary” psychiatry admissions.
Arriving one rainy Friday, I headed to the ER to let them know I was there. Among the mostly frail, elderly patients, one person stood out: a healthy-looking woman in her
As a third-year medical student, I did a month-long psychiatry rotation in a large urban psychiatric hospital. I’ll never forget my first patients there: Christian Mitchell and Sabrina Smith.
Christian, only in his thirties, looked about sixty. He had the coarse, bushy beard of a mountain recluse, and his hair was similarly overgrown, with bits of unidentifiable debris tangled within.
About three months ago, I had a Definitely Racist Interaction at work. A patient—we’ll call him Allan—said to me: “I’d like a white doctor. Is there a white doctor available?”
Allan’s voice was even, but his attitude was provocative, as if he were testing me. I felt a flash of fury, but kept my face expressionless. Presumably the surgical mask I wore also helped to hide my feelings.
To red dust. Weeds pierce the interstices of paths slowly
Giving themselves up to trackless overgrowth
Or is this slant just as proper to a cupola as symmetry?
Not if it lets the rain in, I suppose
When I first met Jason, I was a third-year medical student halfway through my psychiatry rotation, and he was a newly admitted patient halfway through a nasty comedown from crystal meth.
He sat slumped in his chair, scowling, his face hidden by a baseball cap and black hooded sweatshirt, growling responses to my interview questions.
“Why do I have to do this? I hate this crap. I’ve answered these bullshit
One autumn morning, a woman called the division of child and adolescent psychiatry at the Cohen Children’s Medical Center on Long Island, asking to speak with me.
In more than ten years as the department’s director, I’ve received countless phone calls, but this one instantly got my attention.
“She says that she was your patient in 1984,” said my assistant, Eileen. “Her name is Anne–“
“Jones,” I said
Editor’s Note: This is the conclusion of Liat Katz’s remarkable story. Part 1 was published last week.
Lying here on this hard bed on the psych floor, staring at the white walls and ceiling, I think of my clients–and I don’t feel so alone. Their everyday experience is not so different from my short-lived experience here at the hospital. Often, they endure a whole day’s wait in the dirty Social Security
In my decades as a psychiatrist, I’ve seen many different kinds of patients; only in the past five years, though, have I worked with soldiers.
I see them through TeleHealth, an organization that offers patients long-distance care via a sophisticated form of Skyping.
I originally took this job for financial reasons (during the economic downturn of 2008), but I quickly discovered its unique rewards.
Early on, for instance, as