Behind the White Coat

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“What the F**K are you doing, calling me at 2AM? You are a doctor, take care of the damn patient yourself.” I had steeled myself for the verbal onslaught. I knew it would come. It always did.

“With all due respect sir, this patient’s enzymes are climbing. He has an ST elevation on his EKG and active chest pain that is not responding to morphine or nitroglycerin. Now, as you know, I am just a family practice resident. You are the cardiologist on call. I am begging for your help here because I don’t know what else to do to for this man.” Sometimes meek supplication helped.

“God Damn it!” I held the phone receiver away from my head while he yelled that expletive and the several that followed after. The pain from the verbal attack on my tympanic membrane made me wince.

When the yelling had died down I…

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