If You Were A Medical Student: How Would You Respond?
Think about being a 23 year old student who was in his or her first few weeks of medical school with the only experience in medicine as an occasional patient with a minor illness or having experienced the reactions to significant illness in the family. You are challenged in these early days of becoming a doctor to sit across from a real patient lying in a hospital bed and told to take a medical history with no immediate assistance by an instructor. When the history is completed, the instructor will discuss with you about your experience. You have already been instructed regarding the composition of the history though prior education of the details of how you should react to all situations which develop during the interview can never be complete. Therefore, when faced, at the time of the interview, with a decision of what to do or say next, what would be your response? As a student, how would you handle the following three scenarios? As the student's instructor, after the student tells you what happened, how would you support and further educate the student regarding the event? By the way, as an instructor, I have been informed about each of these three scenarios later as brought to my attention by students looking for advice. ..Maurice.
1. You are interviewing a 68 year old apparently competent woman patient with pneumonia and her 45 year old son is in the room who repeatedly interrupts your attempts to have his mother give the history herself by immediately responding with what he knows to each question. What would you do and what would you say?
2. You are interviewing a 33 year old red headed female flight attendant who is to have repeat right shoulder surgery by a different orthopedic surgeon because as she says the initial surgeon "botched the job". She says that she was left with more pain and limitation of motion of the right shoulder after the first surgery. She tells you what she knows about the surgery and her subsequent symptoms and then asks you directly "What do you think about how my surgeon treated me?" What would you then say to her?
3. You are interviewing a 28 year old female 3rd year medical student from a medical school in another state. She is very sick with leukemia and appears very weak, pale with multiple bruise-lie spots on her skin and is short of breath with repeated spells of coughing, raising bloody sputum as she tries to move in bed. She doesn't seem to be able to cope with her illness now and is very restless and depressed. She talks about her fear of dying and seems to be asking you, a first year medial student, to somehow give her some emotional support even though he had never met you before. You, yourself, are very upset about what you see and know. There is a "lump" feeling in your throat and you are beginning to feel nervous and weepy with tears welling up in your eyes. What would you do at this point and what would you say?