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On My Mind
August 2014

The Patient Rotation

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University, Palo Alto, California
JAMA Pediatr. 2014;168(8):697. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.5445

A prolonged vibration followed by 3 piercing beeps from the pediatric gastroenterology service pager informed me that my first admission of intern year had arrived. As I scrambled down the corridor to the emergency department, I flashed back to my most recent emergency department experience, 6 months earlier. I had completed the last of my required clinical rotations as a medical student and celebrated Christmas at my parents’ home when my taken-for-granted life abruptly came to a halt. After dining on all-you-can-eat seafood shabu-shabu with my cousins, I suddenly began vomiting bright red blood and passing black tarry stools. I shrieked for my parents before passing out on the white tile of our bathroom floor. In those few seconds, I transitioned from physician-in-training to patient. For the next 30 days in the hospital, I learned invaluable lessons in my journey to becoming a physician.