(note: my name isn't really Dr. Gilman)
“Dr. Gilman?...Dr. Gilman?!!” I glanced around and casually caught the eye of one of the nurses sitting at the nurses station.
“Are you Dr. Gilman?” she asked me.
Me? Oh me!! “Yes, I am Doctor Gilman.”
Starting my internship was a very exciting time. Not only did I get the privilege of wearing the *long* white coat and carrying a pager, I was finally ‘the doctor.’ I think the most difficult part of the transition from sub-I to intern was being called “doctor.” Suddenly you go from lowly medical student…who can’t even get an order carried out by the nurses without a co-signature, to being the first to be called in a full arrest…overnight, literally!!
“Dr. Gilman to CCU, STAT…Dr. Gilman to CCU, STAT!!” My name blared on the hosptialwide communication system.
What tha’ hell?? Why are they calling me?? What am *I* supposed to do? As I arrive to the CCU the (very excellent) RNs are already coding a young man who recently had an MI.
“Hi Doc!!” one of the older, seasoned nurses greeted me. “This guy just bradyed down on us…he’s already intubated, and we started ACLS. What do you want us to do?”
What do *I* want you to do?
Me: “Ahhh, just go ahead and do what you guys usually do…” I tried to sound ‘in control.’
Them: “What drugs do you wanna give? Is atropine okay? We’ve already given one epi.”
Whatever. Just do what you do. Pretend I’m not even here, I wanted to say.
Me: “Yeah, atropine is good. Where’s the resident?” Where the hell is my resident!! Why am I the one first called? I’m the least experienced, alone, in the middle of the night, with the sickest patients. What kind of a system is this? How is this advantageous to anyone that the most naïve doctor is the first one called to the unit?
I found that I’d frequently question the medical education system. I wouldn’t have wanted *me* as *my* doctor at that moment. Honestly, in retrospect, I wouldn’t have wanted the resident as my doctor either. Where was the attending? Shouldn’t he be there? You got a bunch of hacks up in the CCU…basically watching a patient die. The attendings? At home, where they typically are at night. If you dare, you can call him/her, wake her from sleep (or otherwise ‘interrupt’ their lives)…but you risk a virtual ass whupping if you do that. Not to mention being branded with a huge scarlet letter ‘S’ for stupid, to be permanently tattooed on your forehead.
It would go something like: “Oh, Dr. Gilman?...yeah…she’s one of our weaker residents…not very confident that girl…requires too much instruction…”
Thankfully the resident arrived seconds after I did…and ran the remainder of the code.