Monday memo #6: Doctors

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Each day The Browser recommends five or six of the best pieces of writing that we can find anywhere online. The more diverse the better.

The Monday Memo reverses that approach. It brings together four pieces of outstanding writing with a common theme.

This week: Doctors

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A Night In A&E: The Doctor’s Story (
Anonymous | Guardian | 8th January 2015

Doctor's diary of a night shift in a British emergency room. "The last four patients to arrive by ambulance were drunk. Very, very drunk. They’re taking up cubicles and nursing staff. One of the drunk patients is shouting and swearing. He urinates all over the floor. It’s upsetting for the family of the dying cancer patient next door. They should be spending these last days together in a hospice, but all the hospices are full" (2,056 words)
Confessions Of An Emergency Room Doctor (
Brian Drummond | The Conversation | 10th September 2013

"I spend a lot of time conversing with patients in unusual positions: upside down, talking to their backs, or during an invasive pelvic or rectal exam. But it’s all very matter-of-fact – like an art appraiser or a farmer inspecting sheep. We’re more hands on than other doctors – we often don’t have the luxury of knowing the patents beforehand. Much as I love hearing stories, the information patients often want to share isn’t always what I need." (1,100 words)
On Caring For The Elderly (
Karen Hitchcock | Monthly | 17th March 2015 | Metered paywall

If you are old and ill, you are probably a "multi-morbid" patient with several conditions competing to kill you, such that each hospital specialist will insist that you are another specialist's problem, until you end up with the "physician of last resort", the general medicine unit, where expectations are low. “If you fuck up, it’s not such a big deal ... so I guess the thinking goes that a lesser physician can do the job.” (2,240 words)
How Doctors Die (
Ken Murray | Zocalo | 4th December 2011

"Doctors die, too. And they don’t die like the rest of us. What’s unusual about them is not how much treatment they get compared to most Americans, but how little. For all the time they spend fending off the deaths of others, they tend to be fairly serene when faced with death themselves. They know exactly what is going to happen, they know the choices, and they generally have access to any sort of medical care they could want. But they go gently" (1,940 words)
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With best wishes,

Robert Cottrell, Editor
Duncan Brown, Publisher

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