When I was a resident one of my attendings said, “You know why patients are called ‘patients’? It’s because they have a lot of patience. For us.” Patients in hospitals do a lot of waiting. They wait for physicians. They wait for nurses. They wait to use the bathroom. They wait to undergo procedures. They wait for their IVs to stop beeping. They wait for the person next door to stop ...

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Everyone noticed him before we boarded the plane. He asked the airline representative at least three times to confirm that he had a seat. He looked like an adult, but the tone of his voice was that of a child. “Yes, you have a seat, Michael. It’s 7B.” Grey cargo pants covered his short legs. The sleeves of his striped polo shirt collected below his elbows, making his arms look even shorter ...

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As I noted earlier, hospitals permit around-the-clock observation of patients. If you don’t need around-the-clock monitoring, you don’t need to be in the hospital. Who is doing this around-the-clock monitoring? Nurses. Therefore, whether you are a patient or a physician, one of the best things you can do is get on the good side of the nurses. If you are a patient, a nurse watches over you and your care. ...

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Who works at a hospital? (Again, just indulge me for now.) Doctors. If you’re a patient at a teaching hospital, this includes medical students (people in school to become doctors), interns and residents (people who have earned the title of “doctor”, but who are still learning their craft), and attendings (people who have completed their formal training as physicians). If you’re not at a teaching hospital, it’s less likely you’ll see medical ...

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As a fourth year medical student I did my “sub-internship” in oncology. I hoped that this rotation would help me choose what specialty to pursue: internal medicine or psychiatry. One of “my” patients was a woman with breast cancer that had spread to her liver and lungs. Fluffy brown hair fell to her shoulders. Wrinkles surrounded her puffy eyes that held jade green irises. Though she was in pain, she was ...

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Involuntary commitment refers to hospitalizing people against their will for psychiatric reasons. It is a controversial topic because this is where medicine and civil liberties intersect: Physicians have the ability to take away the rights of fellow citizens. (I suspect that few people who become psychiatrists realize that making recommendations about involuntary commitment is part of the job. I certainly did not know this. I also did not appreciate the ...

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I remember when we dragged ourselves to the large lecture hall every morning, backpacks slung over our shoulders and cups of coffee in our hands. Six to eight hours of lectures awaited us. I remember where we all sat in that lecture hall. I remember the future ophthalmologist who sat behind me and made snarky comments while certain professors gave their lectures facing the chalkboard. I remember students sitting six rows ...

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Are you tired of waiting fifteen minutes only to spend ten minutes with your psychiatrist? Do you hate rearranging your busy schedule, fighting traffic, and trolling for a parking space just to spend a few minutes with your doctor? Wouldn’t it be easier if you could take care of your mental health according to your schedule, instead of someone else’s? We are pleased to introduce the Automated Psychiatrist Machine (APM). The ...

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“I HEAR THEM! THEY ARE CALLING ME A CHEAP PROSTITUTE!” Her shouting is like a gas: It completely fills the space, regardless of the size of the container. The sound originates deep in her abdomen and bellows from her mouth before reverberating throughout the room. “THESE DISGUSTING MEN,” she shouts, “KEEP CALLING ME A WHORE! I AM NOT A WHORE!” Her wrinkled hands flecked with liver spots loosely hold a fashion magazine open. ...

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When I grow up, I want to be a drunk I want to wake up feeling restless and uncomfortable. It’ll be neat to drag myself out of bed to open that first bottle of wine. I’ll drink all of it within an hour. Then I’ll go to the liquor store. The guy behind the counter will know that, everyday, I will buy a pint of vodka from him. He will look at ...

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