May 16, 1986

In the Back of the Ambulance

JAMA. 1986;255(19):2654. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03370190138040

I was scheduled to be the Early Bird and so, after trudging sleepily through the cold, predawn morning, I entered the pediatric emergency room just before 6 o'clock. It was the third month of my internship. I was exhausted and felt as if I'd had enough. Jeff Goodman was sitting in an examining booth, finishing off a chart. "How was your night?" I asked, sitting next to him.

"If I live to be a hundred," Jeff answered, "I'll never understand why people bring kids to the ER at 5 AM for diaper rashes." He finished the chart and said, "Look, it's quiet. I'm going to take a nap in the isolation room, okay?"

"Sure," I said nervously. "You mind if I wake you up if I have a problem?"

"I expect you to wake me up if you have a problem," he answered. "You know where to find me." And