Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Is This Private

This new month offers a different experience for a third year pro such as I. Off the city beat, I'm currently in a private, posh hospital full of private attendings and private patients. This experience is leaving me somewhat disappointed with the current state of affairs.

When people ask what I do I usually say Internal Medicine. "So you're a general doctor?" they ask and being so tired of trying to explain it I say "well, sorta". "So you take care of colds and give referrels for specialists and stuff like that?" that's the usual follow up comment. I often feel like smacking these folks but knowing quite well this may get me in trouble I just waive it off and say something like "I usually don't need a consult, I can take care of most things on my own".

And I can. I do. In my city hospital I am the internist, cardiologist, pulmonologist, gastroenterologist and everything else the patient needs. I only defer to these specialists when it's a problem I can't handle and that's not very often. I mean, I can read UptoDate just as good as the fellow can.

But here, in this private palace, I've being instructed to call consults for nearly everything. Patient has a cold call I.D. complaining of belly pain call GI. etc. etc.

I'm being reduced to a note reader. No, let me correct that, I'm being reduced to note reader number 4. After my intern, my sub-I, and my attending get a look at the consult notes I get to read them too. How amazing, I can read!

Is this really how pathetic Private Medicine has become?