Thanks for all of the comments on Friday's post. Will come up with some posts based on them soon. In the meantime-- I need to figure out how to stop a medical student who's gone rogue. I go into a patient's room:
"...so we're thinking we're not going to be able to discharge you today like we planned."
"Oh, yes, Dr. Jones already told me."
"Yes, the young-looking one. Dr. Jones."
"Oh, you mean Bill. The third-year medical student. He's not a doctor yet."
"He said to call him Dr. Jones. And he told me he thinks I have cancer."
"That's not necessarily correct. We're still running tests-- like we talked about yesterday. We don't know what's causing your symptoms. Cancer is certainly on the list of possibilities, but we have no reason to conclude that yet-- there are a lot of other things it could be."
"Dr. Jones said it was cancer."
"Dr. Jones is still a student. And let's call him Bill."
"Why would Dr. Jones tell me it was cancer?"
"I don't know why Bill would tell you it was cancer."
"Does he know something you don't?"
"Maybe he does."
"I promise you, he doesn't. We are still running tests. And he should not have been speculating as far as your diagnosis, because, honestly, we still don't know."
"He also said I should be on a liquid diet."
"That's not at all necessary."
"He said it would be better for my condition. Am I going to be okay?"
"You're on a normal diet. We may have you skip breakfast so we can run some tests in the morning, but tonight you'll have a normal dinner, tomorrow you'll have a normal lunch. There's nothing about the food that should be causing any alarm."
"It's not very good."
"I'm sorry that the food is not very good. I know, unfortunately, it's not very good. But from a medical standpoint, you are not on a restricted diet."
"So Dr. Jones--"
"Bill was wrong?"
"Bill may have been misinformed. I'm going to take care of the miscommunication on our end, but I want you to know you can have me paged if you're told any information that seems new or confusing. I will keep you absolutely informed about what we find out. Bill is just a medical student. He's smart and absolutely means well, but he should not be the one giving you information."
"Dr. Jones also said I did this to myself from smoking."
"We don't even know what your diagnosis is, and whatever it is, what caused it is not our concern-- our concern is figuring out a treatment plan that's going to address it as best as we can."
"Dr. Jones said he would make sure I have the best nurse in the hospital assigned to my room."
"Our nurses are excellent, and unfortunately Bill does not have any control over which nurses are assigned to which room. But I will speak to your nurse and make sure he or she is fully informed as to what you may need, and what to keep an eye on."
"Dr. Jones also gave me his cell phone number in case I had any questions."
"I think it would be better if you gave me that slip of paper, and if you have any questions, ask the nurse to have me or whichever resident is on call paged. We can answer your questions, and are in a better position to do so than Bill."
"Okay. And you're an actual doctor, right?"
"Because Dr. Jones said some of the med students like to pretend they're doctors."
"Okay. I'm going to go have a talk with Dr. Jones. I'll come back and check on you a little later."