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A Piece of My Mind
July 19, 2016

Changing the Narrative

Author Affiliations
  • 1Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2Division of General Internal Medicine and Primary Care, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA. 2016;316(3):275-276. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.3029

“During the first week of my third year of medical school, I diagnosed an acute stroke. Ms Lau had been admitted to the hospital with right hemiparesis from an acute pontine infarct. I was the first member of the neurology team to see Ms Lau on her third morning in the hospital, or at least the first to notice that she had also developed new left-sided weakness. I ran down the hall to find my resident. As he worked to confirm my findings, his pager went off. New to his role as well, he looked uncomfortable for a moment before announcing, ‘It’s time for rounds. I can’t handle this right now. She needs a stat CT scan of her head, and you need to take her to radiology.’ He began to leave the room but then paused at the doorway. Thinking he was going to provide me with an important medical pearl, or maybe a contingency plan, I focused. Instead, he turned to the team’s intern and said, ‘Someone get the medical student a bag mask. You know. Just in case.’”

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