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On Being a Doctor |

Off-Service

Boris D. Veysman, MD
[+] Article and Author Information

From New York University, Bellevue Emergency Medicine, New York, NY 10016.


Note: Mr. Jones is a composite of many people and my feelings during their care. This essay is dedicated to my grandmother, Dr. Tamara Avrutskaya, whose compassion and devotion to her patients will inspire me always.

Requests for Single Reprints: Boris Veysman, MD, Department of Emergency Medicine, New York University, Bellevue Hospital, 1st Avenue and 27th Street, New York, NY 10016; e-mail, boris.veysman@med.nyu.edu.


Ann Intern Med. 2004;141(1):76. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-141-1-200407060-00022
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Today is the last day of yet another intensive care unit rotation, and I am writing my “off-service” notes. The notes describe how patients presented on admission and detail their hospital stay. There are 6 patients, 6 off-service notes, but 1 stands out—“Mr. Jones,” an intensive care patient that I “inherited” from the last intern. Every time I am in the intensive care unit, I care for at least one patient like him and I always leave his note until the end, dreading it because of what it is going to say. It will show that I am a failure and a criminal.

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