Christopher Moriates, MD
Requests for Single Reprints: Christopher Moriates, MD, University of California, San Francisco, 505 Parnassus Avenue, M1287, San Francisco, CA 94143-0131; e-mail, CMoriates@medicine.ucsf.edu.
Moriates C. A Few Good Words. Ann Intern Med. 2016;164:566-567. doi: 10.7326/M15-2198
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2016;164(8):566-567.
“Do you have any questions?” I asked. My team of residents and medical students standing around the bed began to slump a bit. We had 10 more patients to see this morning, and we were already falling behind. As I asked the question, my brain immediately began chanting, “Please don't, please don't, please don't.” I thought the chant was quiet enough that only I could hear it, but my patient seemed to read my mind. She was an elderly woman with cancer, admitted with shortness of breath due to fluid that had built up around her lung. This stubbornly progressive malady was trying to drown her from the inside—a problem she had never even realized was possible until now. She shot a quick glance at her daughter sitting next to her and then locked her eyes back on mine. I could see the uncertainty, the questions floating around her head, but she, with a small slump in her own shoulders, sighed, “No. No questions. Thank you, doctors.” And with that, we all turned and walked out of the room. Gone with the efficiency of a Broadway scene change. But I left with some ill-defined emptiness. That, and a sense that my dissatisfaction with my job was increasing.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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