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The Emaciated Infant

Paula Lyons

The police had been called to the house by a neighbor who said she heard children crying and hadn’t seen the mother in two days. It was the middle of a night in July, and the children’s wails would have traveled through the project windows left open to catch cooling breezes.

Paramedics provided transport to the hospital, but the normally cynical and well-defended police were so outraged that they also came to

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Now a lightness

4:57 am, Sunday

This week went
from caring with hope 
for a lucid patient to facing 
reality in advocating sanity 
to an insane extended 
family to haggling with specialists
to giving up time
and again telling Mary 
she was dying and then watching
her cling to her lost life like
everyone else to 
finally withdrawing all care
except for comfort 
and comforting the now lucid family 
while the breaths became 
distant
and the pauses

prolonged

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Each Day, Same Story

Jennifer Reckrey

Editor’s Note: Jennifer Reckrey is a family medicine resident in New York City. Each week, while she was an intern, she recorded some of her experiences as a brand-new doctor.

I have been his primary doctor for the entire three weeks he has been on the hospital floor. Sometimes he drives me crazy. Once or twice I’ve asked my senior resident to take over for a bit so I can hide out, catch

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Brain Cutting

Emma Samelson-Jones

The page came to my resident, who grinned and looked over at me, his hovering medical student. “You should go to this.”

I looked down at the pager.

“Brain Cutting. 2:30 PM. Room B157.” 

Text pagers are the indifferent bearers of all news. Emergencies–“Smith, BP 60/30, Room L721”–appear in the same font as messages seemingly borrowed from a teenager’s cell phone: “OMG, the harpist in the hospital lobby is playing ‘My heart will

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Miscarriage

Jessica Bloom-Foster

From the moment I walk into the room, she breaks my heart. She has just been sent to obstetrical triage from the ER, where an ultrasound has revealed a twenty-two-week pregnancy and a cervix dilated to four centimeters–halfway to delivery stage. She is moaning from her labor pains and moving restlessly on the narrow cot.

I am a second-year family medicine resident in a Midwestern hospital, and well past halfway through a busy

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Intern’s Journal–Surprises

Jennifer Reckrey

Editor’s note: Jennifer Reckrey is a family medicine resident in New York City. Each week while she was an intern, Dr. Reckrey recorded some of her experiences as a brand-new doctor. Today’s stories are from weeks number nine and twenty-five.

Week Nine

I dreaded my rotation in the Intensive Care Unit. Though all the tools to keep a body alive are right there, their continuous bells and beeps jangle my nerves. I’m

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First Night Call

Abby Caplin

During my first night on call as an intern, I felt scared. Not just scared–terrified. I was serving on the medical center’s pediatric oncology floor, and medical school hadn’t prepared me for children with cancer. What did I know about cutting-edge chemotherapy regimens? What if a child suddenly developed an overwhelming infection or a seizure triggered by a tumor? Someone would expect me to know what to do.

“It’s okay,” said Brad, the

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Entry from an Intern’s Journal

Jennifer Reckrey

Editor’s note: Over the next months we’ll be carrying occasional pieces by Jennifer Reckrey, a family medicine resident in New York City. Each week while she was an intern, Dr. Reckrey recorded some of her experiences as a brand-new resident. Today’s story is from week number six. 

How do you convince someone to do something they don’t really care about?

This week I took care of a 58-year-old woman who came to the

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Jeannie

Andrea Gordon

“The person with the contractions gets to pick the channel,” I reassure Jeannie, as she tries to talk me into watching The X-Files. It’s not my favorite, but I’m just the moral support–oh, and the doctor.

When she first came to see me, eight months back, Jeannie already had a four-year-old boy and didn’t think that there was much my little white nulliparous self could teach her about pregnancy. I’d offer her my book-learned

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