Sometimes it takes more than asking, “Are you OK?”
The attending physician looked concerned. My fellow medical student’s face was wet with tears. I knew the next words out of the attending’s mouth would be “Are you OK?” and indeed they were.
I have encountered this phrase many times, almost exclusively in psychologically traumatic situations. It’s a reflex response to an uncomfortable social situation, the “right” thing to say to a student in distress.
As medical students, we learn and practice the …