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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    Monday, January 06, 2003
    Day One

    Oh my God. What a day. I feel like I've been hit by a truck. I don't have the energy to give you details, but it took me nine hours to see 16 people. Three admissions. Finally managed to discharge a few people at the end of the day. A sad event: the nice elderly woman that I admitted New Year's Eve with chest pain apparently had a massive heart attack and coded (went into cardiac arrest) at about 6 am today. I staggered into the intensive care unit looking for her at 3 pm - no one had called me - and found out she was dead. The ICU team had handled things appropriately (from the clinical point of view, anyway) and when someone goes to intensive care, the primary care doctor does very little - but I wasn't happy about it all the same.

    I also met with a wife, about to be a widow, to discuss taking her terminally ill husband off the ventilator. We are to meet again tomorrow.

    You see a lot of life 'n' death stuff in the hospital, not nearly as much doing outpatient care. Since today is January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany, I wish I could say I had an epiphany of my own today - but I think it was more common sense: I'm never doing this again.

    Onward to Day Two. I am going home now to collapse.



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