The Technicolor Dream Coat
This big burly Russian was obviously in severe distress, he could barely get the words out. I said “Sir, how did this happen?”
He Responded: “I am not talking to you, you are not doctor”
Not doctor? What? I often feel like an intruder in my own body but to have someone reinforce my lacking self image, well, this was a first. A patient, no less!
“Sir, what do you mean I’m not a doctor? I assure you that I am”
“No, You no wear white coat. You are not doctor”
Well, he was right. It was really warm in the ER and so I had taken off my white shell opting instead for the stolen medical school scrubs that I often sleep in.
“Yes, you’re right, but, I really am a doctor”
“No, no coat”
I left to get my coat. When I returned we were able to have a civilized conversation where I calmly explained that the information I know is, in fact, in my head. I almost never need my coat for anything, it is a pointless authority symbol.
He apologized and then asked more about his condition and what treatments would he have to undergo. I explained. He said he wanted to speak to specialist. So I paged the GI fellow overhead. He called back and took down the consult. He said he’d be there immediately. To which I responded “Don’t forget your white coat”.