They May Not Be Like You

  • They may not have money – Suggesting them to join a gym or eat organic foods may not be possible for them. They may be dependent on WIC or food stamps.
  • They may not have support – You may require them to have someone who can drive them back after the procedure, but they have no friends or family around town to do so, and thus opt out of getting the procedure.
  • They may not have a car – What time (and whether or not) they can make it to their appointment may depend on what time their ride gets off work, or fixes their car. They may have had to walk to your office, on roads without sidewalks, in the rain, with a walker.
  • They may not know how to read – They may be too embarrassed to tell you that they cannot read the patient education packet you just printed out for them to learn about their condition, or the directions on the prescription bottle, or the developmental screening questionnaire you gave them, so they just randomly circled their answers.
  • Their priorities may be different from yours – You’re thinking they need to stay in the hospital at least overnight to be observed, and they are thinking of leaving against medical advice so they can go home and feed their dog.
  • They may not care about what they cannot see – They may not understand why taking their blood pressure medicine is all that important because they cannot see or understand what blood pressure is. However, they may care a whole lot about trying to get rid of the relatively benign and harmless keratosis pilaris on their arms.
  • They may not want a treatment for their problem, but an answer – Pain pills may not be what they want for their chronic pain. Sometimes all they want to know is why they are having pain, and if it’s going to be forever, and they’re fine with just dealing with the pain. Sometimes they may refuse to take an antibiotic empirically without first knowing which bacterial species exactly is causing their symptoms, fevers, and elevated white blood count.
  • They may not want to know what’s going on – They may not want to know about their HIV status or workup that nodule. They may prefer not knowing, because they fear getting bad news.
  • They may want a say in their care, or not – They may just want to hear options from you and decide for themselves what to do. Or, they may prefer you to make all their decisions for them because after all, “you’re the doctor.”
  • They may know more than you on certain things – You may not have children of your own, but they may ask you questions like how to make their kids eat their broccoli, or what can they do for their kid’s temper tantrums. You may be a man, but they may ask you how to breastfeed a newborn who has trouble latching.
  • They may not like medicine, or even doctors – They may feel like every time they come to you, you will always tell them something is wrong with them and give them medicine they do not want to take, even for the smallest problems, and all they really want is for you to reassure them they are fine.
  • They may want to be heard – An adult with Downs’ Syndrome or Autism may have a caregiver legally making decisions for them, but they may still have their own goals in life and desires like other adults do. They may appreciate it if you to speak with them directly and respect their wishes as an adult rather than only conversing with their caregiver.
  • They may not want to be rushed. Or, they may be in a rush – Maybe a more detailed explanation is what they need to understand what they are supposed to do. Or conversely, maybe they don’t have time to listen to preventative counseling.
  • They may not use the same vocabulary as you – Maybe they’re afraid to ask you to re-explain something you just explained because they don’t want to trouble you or feel embarrassed. Maybe a more simple explanation is what they need.

Paperwork

As you can see from the recent dearth of posts on this blog, you may be wondering, is Benji still writing? Well, the answer is I am writing more than I ever have. Ever. The posts I write now are called SOAP notes, on a type of blog called the “electronic medical records,” about people and their medical issues .…

Thanksgiving Thoughts

I am thankful for:
  • Two healthy kids. They know that they need to finish dinner all gone before getting any dessert. Fruit is a dessert in our family. They eat their greens because they know it’s good for them. They are fine with drinking water when thirsty. They know to brush their teeth and tongue every night, or else they’ll
  • Reconnection

    The last year and a half has no doubt been busy for Irene and me, as we do our best to balance running a medical practice and raise a family. When we first took over the clinic that my pediatrician father had founded nearly 20 years, there were lots of things that needed to be changed to suit our practice:…

    Doctors Against Stroke and Heart Attack

    Last month, I had the pleasure to participate in a music video with other doctors in the Macon community with DASH, or “Doctors Against Stroke and Heart Attack.” Hope you enjoy!…

    Hurricane Irma

    It breaks my heart to see what happened to St. Maarten during Hurricane Irma. This place had been my home for two years while I was studying medicine at AUC, and it was where Irene and I got engaged. We had a lot of sweet memories here.

    I feel bad for the current students there right now. When I was…

    Forever a Student

    As a doctor, lectures and exams do not stop at med school graduation. Nor does it stop after end of residency. Getting state-licensed and board-certified is never a one-time done deal. In order for me to maintain my legal ability to practice medicine, I will be required to earn CME (continuing medical education) credit. CME comes in many shapes and…

    End of Residency

    So that’s that, the end of residency. There’s no one word that can describe the last three years. Residency had been challenging, no doubt, with a steep learning curve, long work hours, and long board exams to study for. Throw two kids in the mix, balancing work and family life has made the experience a little more interesting. However, there…

    Staying Fit in Medical School

    A few months back, I received a question from a blog reader concerning staying fit during medical school. Jonathan writes: “Benji, I have some questions regarding maintaining overall health and fitness during medical school, something which you obviously appear to have done. What did you personally do and what advice would you give to incoming students? Was there a specific…

    Happy to Announce…

    A little over a week ago, I wanted to give yall an update that I have just been granted my full license to practice medicine in Georgia by the Georgia Composite Medical Board. I was going to talk about how licensure was a lengthy process that requires successful completion of all three United States Medical Licensing Exams (USMLE), as well…

    About the USMLE

    What is the USMLE? In order to apply for licensure to practice medicine in the states, one must complete the United States Medical Licensing Exam, also known as the USMLE. The USMLE is not one exam, but several, taken as a series of exams over the course of med school and residency.  There are four exams, divided into…

    Beginning of the End

    And just like that, there goes another year of residency. Every July 1, all around the US, hospitals start seeing a new set of faces taking care of patients, working with the rest of the staff. They are the new doctors, the interns. That same day, the previous interns also take their role as the new second-year residents, and the…

    An Exciting Day

    Do you remember when you were a kid and wondered what you will be when you grew up? Well, today is that special day when many of my medical colleagues find out. It’s Match Day! Congratulations to all those who matched this year. I am truly impressed by the matches AUC graduates have placed this year. Going through my Facebook,…

    Why Family Medicine?

    Why Family Medicine? It is a very satisfying field, particularly if you love building relationships with patients and their families. I’ve gotten to treat both parents and their kids. I’ve even got to take care of a pregnant woman, deliver her baby, then take care of both her newborn and herself post-partum. The range of practice is wide, and the…

    End of Intern Year

    So it’s come to this day, the end of internship year. There’s no doubt that there were some rough days and sleepless nights during the past 365 days, but there were also many days when I came home with a smile knowing I did something significant for someone else. As for my co-residents, I have really enjoyed working with them…

    Return to the Caribbean

    The last time I saw the Caribbean was the day I hauled my bags to the airport and flew away from St. Maarten where I had been living for two years for Basic Sciences, to move back to the states to start my clinical rotations. That was in the fall of 2011. It wasn’t until nearly four years later, this…

    Dos and Don’ts for Residency Application and Interview

    It’s that time of the year again… interview season. It didn’t seem that long ago that I was interviewing here and meeting my current colleagues for the first time. Today, I find myself on the other side of the dinner table, interviewing candidates who I will potentially work with next year. I’ve gotten to read many applications, and met many…

    Hobby

    Hey folks, I know I haven’t blogged in a while, but I am still here, surviving my intern year. Residency has been pretty busy thus far, but there hasn’t been a day gone by where I haven’t come home feeling I’ve had a productive day. My intern experience thus far has been pretty inpatient-heavy. I’ve had two months of internal…

    45 Thoughts Running Through My Head During Match Season

    It’s that time of year again, when all medical students who are transitioning into doctors go through a rite of passage called the Match season. I can’t believe it’s been a year already since I went through mine. It hasn’t been that long since I’ve been on this side of the Match, and already,  I will be interviewing applicants like…

    How to Dress for a Residency Interview

    During the residency interview, it’s important to dress to impress. While you can act and speak professionally, wearing jeans or a mini skirt to an interview can ruin the program’s impression of you. For every interview you go to, it’s important to bring two types of outfits:
  • Business Casual – to wear to the dinner with residents the night before interview.