“You ever work with vets?” asks the young man sitting across from me in the hospital waiting room.
He’s been sitting there all morning. So have I. Since 5:30 am, my father-in-law, age eighty-eight, has been undergoing surgery to remove a tumor in his lung. The surgeons just sent word that they’ve finished, and my wife and her mother have gone to the post-op room to see him.
The late Eighties was the worst of times in medical education–the era when doctors in training worked a virtually unlimited number of hours each week. This unceasing and inhumane workload led residents, understandably, to view patients purely as collections of physical ailments.
Back then, I was an attending physician at a community teaching hospital. One day, as usual, I was preparing to make morning rounds and, simultaneously, to do my best
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
My practice is in a small rural Wisconsin town just down the road from a large military base. I see soldiers pretty regularly these days; they stay here for several weeks of pre-deployment training before shipping off to Iraq. They come from all over the country–men and women of various ages, some single, some married and with families. Their health-care needs aren’t too different from those of my civilian patients: maternity care, chronic