Tuesday, October 5, 2010


"There are never uninteresting patients. Just uninteresting providers" were the words spoken by my new medic partner, as a precursor to his story. (We were on our way home from a 3 hour long transfer... Which actually was interesting and sad at the same time)

"When my father, who is now a cardiologist at a hospital in the Berkshires, was in his residency, the chief resident would come around and ask his residents if they had any interesting patients today. When the chief resident arrived at my father for this question, my father said that there was nothing particularly interesting about his patient. She had a fractured arm due to a fall, no prior breaks, no real interesting past medical history.

The chief resident slowly began to "dissect" this patient as he did his head-to-toe physical examination, finding several interesting things wrong. His chief resident was trying to make a point and it was a point that my father understood clearly. He felt embarrassed but took the lesson to heart.

Years later, my father had residents of his own to look after and one came to him and said "I actually have an uninteresting patient, doctor."

So my father did exactly what his chief resident did... and thensome. He went over to the patient, who again, only had a fractured arm oddly enough, did his head-to-toe physical examination... and simply spoke with her. "So you seem to be doing pretty well! Do you have any other medical history?" he asked. "No... I've never had really any medical problems... except that I broke my leg when I was a little girl" she said. This piqued my father's interest... just a little. "Oh and how did you break your leg?" he asked.

"Well, you see, a sea trunk hit it."

"A sea trunk? What do you mean?"

"I was on a boat and when it crashed into an iceberg, a piece of luggage hit my leg."

"Huh, interesting... What was the name of the boat you were on?"

"The Titanic"

My point is, and my father's point was, is that you can never have enough information about your patient. Transfers like any, may seem sometimes boring... But they never are... If they're boring, you're not doing your job."

Thank you, Adam.

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE this post! It's something I'm trying to convey to my co-workers, with no avail. Great job!