Friday, May 28, 2010

Would you go back to work?

Recently I had a patient who was a podiatry student. She'd been in an accident but fortunately a thorough workup showed that she had escaped without any injuries. As she was about to leave she asked for a work excuse. I told her that I'd be happy to write her a note saying that she'd been seen in the emergency department, but I couldn't say that she was impaired -- after all, I'd worked her up and found nothing wrong, and if I had found anything wrong she wouldn't be leaving the ED, she'd be staying for treatment.

Then she said to me, "but I have to go back and take care of patients. You wouldn't go back to work if you were in my situation, would you?" Generally I avoid discussing my personal health experience with patients, but if they ask directly I try to answer honestly. So I said that yes, I wouldn't have a choice, I'd have go back to work and take care of patients. She didn't really believe me and pressed the question. Especially since she was a healthcare student herself, I wanted to level with her. So I told her about how I had just broken my foot two weeks ago. Not only did I not get any time off work, I worked back-to-back 12 hour shifts, hobbling around in an ortho shoe.

She paused, then said, "Sounds like you need a podiatrist." True! Then she turned to her father and said, "Podiatry is a lot nicer than Medicine." I wrote her a note for the rest of the day off.

My foot's feeling much better, by the way, although it doesn't look like I'm going to get time off work to go to my scheduled Orthopedic appointment.

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At May 30, 2010 at 9:16 PM , Blogger kirelimel said...

You gave in and let her have the day off?!!! I can't believe it.

You wouldn't last a minute with my girls before they'd have taken you for all you've got.

Tough love. Tough love. tough love.


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