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Midnight Supper

Jack Coulehan, MD, MPH
[+] Article, Author, and Disclosure Information

From Setauket, NY 11733.

Current Author Address: Jack Coulehan, MD, MPH, 4 Townsend Court, Setauket, NY 11733.

The poem is being republished to correct an error that appeared in the 7 December 2010 issue.

Ann Intern Med. 2011;154(2):84. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-154-2-201101180-00005
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Posted on February 7, 2011
Daniel M. Musher
Baylor College of Medicine
Conflict of Interest: None Declared

I objected to the poem, "Midnight Supper" (1) when it was published in the Annals in December, 2010 and doubly resented it when it was re- published to correct in error in the January 18, 2011 issue.

"Gears grinding, motors turning, but nothing happening," is exactly the way a poor house officer regards his or her time in training when things get slow and it is late at night on call. The good ones are recharging - using Pubmed or perhaps Uptodate or an online textbook of medicine to review literature on a case they have just seen, or checking an online pharmacopeia to learn more about a medication they have just ordered.

Those who regard time on duty as drudgery "stab...[their] plastic tray with a pen ... [or] shuffle through a stack of index cards." For them the training is a waste. The ones who use their time to learn end up with an enriching and rewarding experience during their training. Look to the individual, not the program.

Daniel M. Musher MD

Professor of Medicine

Baylor College of Medicine


1. Coulehan J. Midnight Supper. Ann Intern Med 154:84, 2011

Conflict of Interest:

None declared

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