Feet First

“It is much more important to know what sort of a patient has a disease than what sort of a disease a patient has.” - Sir William Osler

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    Sunday, January 29, 2006
    Partner? I Don't Even Know 'Er!

    Odd incident in the office this week, which I recounted to two friends during an evening at the movies. They were vastly amused:

    I saw a patient of mine a few days ago who had recently had back surgery. While in the hospital she was followed by the hospitalist group we're contracted with. (Yes, I do some hospitalist work, but the managed care plan for seniors has a separate hospitalist contract. Long story; don't ask.)

    "So," my patient said, partway through this visit, "the hospital people said this doctor was your partner."

    "Well, sort of," I qualified. "She isn't a member of our group, but she is one of the hospitalists who see patients for us."

    "No, they said she was your partner. In the vernacular sense."

    I stared blankly, then I got it. "Oh, no. I don't think I've even met her." The patient shrugged, and we both laughed; there must have been some lapse of communication there, but I'm not sure what.

    By coincidence, the movie my friends and I had just seen as I recounted this story over dinner was this one. (I highly recommend it, by the way. Go see it if you haven't.)



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