Not too long after setting up shop in this town, I shared a tough case with one of my favorite intensivists. (By way of diversion, I'll add there were only two of them at the time, and they were both my favorites. Practical and canny, surgical-patient-wise, they were a pleasure to work with.
Over the years we developed great mutual respect and affection; to the extent that caring for critically ill and deeply challenging patients can be fun, it was. It's unique to private practice, I think, that such relationships can be so positive and mutually supportive and satisfying. I know I have said that in the academic centers, there's too much turf war and defensiveness. Was, back in the day, anyway. The discovery of such collegiality was one of the pleasures of my entry into private practice.)
To make a long and dimming story short and bright, the patient was an older woman, admitted in extremis to the intensive care unit. Dying, evidently, of infection of indeterminate source. Clearly, she had severe pneumonia. Was there anything else? I was consulted early on, charged with ruling in or out a surgical and operable cause of her illness ... read more .