Stories

The Luftwaffe Pilot

He did not want to have a Jewish doctor, so Mr. Karl Dieter became my patient. I was not excited to be the only doctor he would see. I wanted no part of anti-Semitism. He was one of sixteen people getting treatments on a kidney dialysis machine. I went toward his chair, but stopped short. He sat…

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What Emily Post Has To Teach Us

What Emily Post Has to Teach Us About Cultural Competency in the Clinical Encounter by Olaf Kroneman December 6, 2017               In my essay “Fighting to Heal,” I described my relationship with a former prizefighter who must undergo a kidney transplant. There was some concern about his ability to trust the medical establishment but the fears…

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Medicine’s First Responders: The Unselfish Dedication of Nurses

Image: heavypred / gettyimages In the interest of patient care the Massachusetts Nurses Association seeks legislation to put a limit on the number of patients assigned to an individual nurse. They request one nurse to care for four patients in the non-ICU setting and a one to one ratio in the ICU. A recent editorial…

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The Nurse Killer

It’s called a stump. Dr. Balinger never thought it was a very delicate term, but it is what it is. It’s a stump. The man’s amputated leg was bandaged below the knee. Dr. Charles Balinger removed the gauze from the wound. It was healing. He will do well he thought. It was the best solution…

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Since You’re Going To Die Anyway

You know, Doctor that every year I look forward to your Christmas card. It’s always the first to arrive. I wait for it. It starts the season. It’s not politically correct, it’s always something religious. But then you and your brother are really into religion.  That’s why you forgave them. I’m better now, but not…

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The Dive

I don’t want to brag, pride comes before the fall, but I’m very important. The CEO makes eight million a year. I make thirty- four G’s with no retirement plan and shitty health insurance. But without me, the hospital would crumble. I’m in charge of environmental services for the operating rooms. I make sure the…

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A Battlefield Decision

The black spot on my arm looked different. I tried to ignore it but it was impossible. I rubbed it, it was elevated, and the color was not uniform: danger signs. Projections spiraled from the body of the lesion. It bled. It would have to be removed. I looked in the directory for a dermatologist…

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The Recidivist

“Hello,” I said. “Dr. Larco, Metropolitan Kidney Dialysis. Dialysis without violence.” “Larco, it’s Sweeney, from the network. What’s this dialysis without violence?  What’s that say about the rest of us?” I pictured his fat hand covering the receiver and heard him whisper, “God damn smart ass. He’ll get his now.” “Who you calling smart ass?”…

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The Ironman

I drove downtown. The billboards tallied my descent: Mercedes–Benz Comerica Bank The Bottle Shop Fine Wines and Gourmet Foods I kept driving. Porsche and Audi The wealthy that made a fortune selling American cars now drove foreign. Protestant Cemetery The Black Leather Shop Catholic Cemetery McDonald’s Jewish Cemetery Popeye’s With six miles to go I…

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Fight Night

Frankie Vic owned the Club Milano, a place where the union rank and file held wedding receptions, First Communions, wakes, and boxing matches. Architecturally speaking, the Club Milano was a confusion of Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian columns, giving a very approximate appearance of the Roman Colosseum. On the inside were brick arches and a water…

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