Friday, July 13, 2012

The Nicest Attending

There was an attending I worked with in residency who I will call Dr. Lane. He was my absolute favorite attending. He's the reason I ended up in PM&R in the first place, partially because I ran into him during a very low moment in my internship, and partially because he wrote me a letter of recommendation (and one for fellowship later on).

I loved that Dr. Lane always told corny jokes. I loved that he offered me Vitamin C tablets when I was sick because he said he felt like he had to look out for me since my parents were far away. I loved that at the end of every rotation, he treated his residents to lunch at his favorite falafel place.

And he actually did something for me once on call that was unbelievably nice:

We took call from home. One evening at about 7PM, I got a call that a patient's halo brace had fallen off. A halo brace is what is used to stabilize the neck after a cervical fraction, so when it falls off, that's really bad. It's an emergency.

I called Dr. Lane, who was the attending on call that night. He told me he was still in the hospital (for some reason). I told him I'd meet him there, and he insisted that I stay home. I tried to insist on coming in, but he said, "It's not a big deal. I'm already here. And you're pregnant." (I was six months pregnant at the time.)

And he did take care of it himself. It probably took him hours. I will never, ever forget that.


  1. Fizzy, I will also never forget that my residency director once dismissed me form post call day (I did not leave) - the only favor I recieved in my entire residency/pregnancy. Never had anyone cover for me, never took a sick day no matter how I felt (though had brain tumor removed a few months after residency). I remember you said program director had no right to shove the work load on another resident when she was dismissing me. The workload really was to listen to another intern's report on his patients not even 15 minutes, and be available to that intern I normally supervised if intern had questions. Here it looks like someone actually worked hours instead of you coming in. I know its a sensitive issue, but people tend to use double standards when its about them vs others vs genral situation. Yeah, no one has to ever help a pregnant coworker, but was sure nice when it happened to me. I am glad you worked such attending. Moments like this melt all other frustrations and unfairness away.

    1. I can only go based on information I'm given. In the original comment you made, you said that your director dismissed you for no other reason than being pregnant (you weren't sick or anything) and told another post-call resident to stay and do your work. And the resident had the gall to complain about it. You didn't say how much work it was. All you said was that someone else was forced to do your work for no other reason than that you were pregnant. I'm sure if someone told you that you had to do extra work today because someone else is 6 months pregnant (no other explanation), then you'd be pissed off.

      If you were sick, then fine, it's justified. If the resident *offered* to cover for you (as my attending did in this case), then you're justified in accepting. My issue in the story you told was that you were feeling fine (as far as I knew) and the resident was forced. That's the kind of thing that breeds resentment toward all pregnant residents.

      As I said, I don't know you or your actual situation. All I had to go on when I commented was the brief anecdote you told me. I'm sure you see how it's different when a person volunteers to help you versus being forced.

  2. It's crazy how excited we get for the smallest acts of kindness. One of the BMT attendings was in the hospital for a transplant at midnight (!) when I paged her to give her the heads up I was headed in to check on different BMT patient who sounded unstable. She told me to stay home and she'd take care of it.

    I was also pregnant at the time. I think I cried I was so grateful.

  3. From your recent post "Pregnancy is not an excuse"

    "And you know what? I never was treated different. Nobody treated me even a bit nicer due to being pregnant, as far as I could tell."


    Love the blog btw, only reason I have any clue what PM&R do :)

    1. Well, I'd like to believe he did it because he liked me and he was a nice guy, not just because I was preggers.

  4. How can someone go about getting a halo fitted for a period of time? I am completely serious. It is something I have always wanted to experience - I don't think it is any worse than wanting plastic surgery or some other unnecessary procedure. Each his own, we only live once I say. If someone understands all the risks, can pay for it, why shouldn't they? I know some will think this is crazy, but let them. Some of us think it is crazy to go from being a man to a woman and yet that kind of surgery is common today. I am only talking about being fitted for a halo. So why should one be acceptable and the other not? I return to my original question, where can I find a professional willing to assist with this - is it possible, surely it is. Reply here and I will see it, hopefully we can move forward from there.