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Interns At The Operating Table

Fri, 03/25/2011 - 5:50am
Pauline W. Chen, MD

One afternoon in clinic, a patient’s wife stopped me in the hallway. I had just finished describing an operation to her and her husband, obtaining his consent and answering their questions, but I wasn’t surprised that the woman was still worried. Despite her easy smile and infectious throaty laugh, she had appeared anxious throughout the visit, the corners of her mouth twitching and her hands flitting from her hair to her face to her pocketbook and back to her hair again.

In the hall, she opened her mouth to speak but stopped abruptly when one of the residents, a doctor-in-training, passed by. Once the resident was out of earshot, she cleared her throat. “Please don’t bring any students into the operating room,” she said, looking toward where the resident was standing. “It’s not that I don’t like these young doctors. I just don’t want one practicing on my husband.”

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