1. It was 4 am, I had slept 4 hours in the last 2 days and I had 5 patients waiting to be seen
  2. I get a consult for a guy with abdo pain and vomiting, I look through his notes and see he's been in and out of the hospital with substance abuse-related problems for years
  3. As I walked over I started to think about what I would say to him
    "We'll give you fluids and pain relief, the only cure for this is to stop using those drugs, etc etc." I had given this speech several times before.
  4. But the more I talked to him, the more I realised
  5. There's probably a medical explanation for this guy's problems. Completely unrelated to drugs.
  6. He's had these symptoms for years
  7. He's seen specialists in that field while in hospital, albeit briefly, and no one thought of this
  8. It's a really common problem, I'm no genius for coming up with it
  9. It's because of all the drugs. People are quick to blame problems on that, and on a busy night with lots of very sick people, it's easy to do.
  10. And you know what else, he was such a sweet guy
    So polite and honest
  11. I feel ashamed
  12. I thought I was in a profession that would teach me to be more compassionate, non judgemental and understanding, especially since I have the privilege to be part of people's most intimate, frightening, sometimes joyful moments.
  13. But what was the first thought that popped into my head when I read the chart? Before I even met him?
  14. Not something compassionate or non-judgemental. I mean, not something terrible, I'm generally a nice person. But judging is judging no matter how subtle that feeling is
  15. Judging people sucks, guys.