Bringing the Jackson 5 to Kushlan 8
The scene: A rainy night in New Haven, on the eighth floor of Yale-New Haven hospital. It is our valiant med student Rachel's very first day of her two month medicine rotation, and she has already braved an exhaustive orientation, a painstakingly detailed demonstration of the muscle strength exam, two full hours of instruction about the marvelous yet soporific world of microbiology and laboratory medicine, and--hardest of all--the crushing news that she would be on call her very first day.
Rachel has now spent a good amount of time interviewing, examining, and working up her first patient admission. It is well past dinnertime. Rachel would love to get permission to leave for the night, when suddenly, her well-meaning resident appears out of nowhere and says:
"There's something important
that I need you to do.
We need a stat blood gas
on the lady in room 2."
Rachel, trying to appear confident and eager despite her obvious ineptitude and inexperience, quickly blurts out: "Uh...sure!" And then thinks to herself with horror "Oh no, I can't believe I'm going to kill my first patient on my very first day!"
Sensing the fear in her eyes, Rachel's extremely clever and incredibly earnest intern Ernest looks right back at Rachel, takes her hand as he pauses with melodramatic gusto, and begins to sing as he dances her down the hallway: "Come on, come on, come on, let me show you what it's all about!
You went to med school to learn girl
things you never knew before
like heart failure causes edema and why a diabetic gets a foot sore
now, now, now
Im gonna teach you, teach you, teach you
all about blood girl, all about blood
put on those gloves, prep the arm clean
all you gotta do is repeat after me
A B G , It's easy as
1,2, 3, palpate the pulse
radially, needle in deep, so gently
you've got your first ABG girl!"
[They dance around the patient's bed, syringes and vials of deep crimson arterial blood in hand, then skip down the hallway to send the sample to the blood gas lab, and the music dies down as they high-five and saunter back into the charting room]
Scene 2: Same place, several minutes later.
The context: the valient med student Rachel, her extremely clever and earnest intern Ernest, and the well-meaning resident are all chatting about the moving but jarring noon conference they had seen earlier in the day by a Yale doc who had put together a team of area physicians (and one chiropractor!) to bring primary care medicine to hurricane refugees in Mississippi. Thinking about the unusual preponderance of natural disasters in recent weeks, the well-meaning resident remarked, in a way that only a doctor who brings hope and healing to people every single day could: "Maybe the world is ending. Then I won't have to preround on my patients tomorrow morning."