Saturday, July 29, 2006


During the summer I work at a community park, which consists of a tennis center, platform tennis courts and mini-golf. Today, I was fortunate to get to open at 7AM. Normally I close and I prefer this since I'm a night person, but I owed someone a favor.

Around 11AM I saw some people walking over to the picnic tables with food and after a while it clicked that we had a birthday party this morning. Okay, whatever, not a big deal. A birthday party doesn't really involve me doing anything extra. I moved to the mini-golf hut and prepared to be bombarded by 5 year olds looking to play some mini-golf. I then see a car driving through the park towards the mini-golf hut, which is a little unusual since cars don't drive through the park. As the person got out of the car I immediately recognized the person as a patient I had recently met while shadowing. The party ended up being for his son.

Later on in the day he came up to ask for a club and ball for his son and I definitely thought he gave me a look like "hmmm... I feel like I've seen you somewhere," or "oh, this is the guy at the doctor's office. I wonder if he remembers me?" But regardless, there was a look. In my head I questioned whether to say hi and explain where he knew me from, but there was always the chance that there was no look at all and I was just being weird like usual. That time I let it go and didn't say anything.

I then talked with my co-worker about how I knew him but didn't know if he recognized me. I mean I don't think I even said anything in his presence during his doctor visit. She, like always, said that it would be weird if I said something and that it would probably go against some patient confidentiality thing. I told her she was nuts and it wasn't like I was announcing to the world what he went to the doctor for; which, by the way, was absolutely nothing embarrassing. Although, I did learn some supplementary private information about him, but I wasn't going around saying, "Hey! You're the guy who (insert private matter here)!" I ended up deciding that if I saw him again I would say hi.

He ended up being the one that came to pay for the party. Once again, I thought I saw a look like he knew me from somewhere. So, I said, "Are you wondering where you know me from?" His answer was kind of a vague yes/no thing, like as soon as a mentioned it he realized he knew me. Then I just told him that I was the student interning with the podiatrist. He immediately remembered me and we had a little chat, which didn't include anything about his health.

Afterwards, like usual, I felt like a moron for saying anything. But if he did recognize me and I didn't say anything then I didn't want to be that guy who can't remember a recent patient's face.

Question for the readers:
What would you have done in that situation?

Once again I make a big deal about nothing.


Mimi said...

I would have said hello but then I regularly speak to people, even people I don't know well. To me it's just being friendly. It's not like you have to have a long discussion.


Bitsy said...

I would have said a polite hello and that is it. Leave it up to him if he wants to say anything to you--hate to break it to you but he probably did not remember you. And you should NEVER have said anything to your co-worker about the situation. Regardless of whether his condition was embarrassing by your standards or not, you have absolutely no right to tell a stranger about this. This violates patient-provider confidentiality. If you are going to continue to shadow/work in medicine, you are going to have to learn this quick.

Pending, P.A. said...

Whoa, ouch bitsy. Do yourself and everyone else a favor and don't become teacher. Okay, my bad. No need to bite my head off Mr big bad med student. Can't wait till you do something that actually matters and screw up. I can only hope your supervisor is as nice as you.

God, why does everyone else get the nice blog commentors. JK I love the rest of you dearly. You make me feel cool.

Pending, P.A. said...

P.S. - I thought I made it clear that I never said why he was a patient.

Bitsy said...

You asked what your readers would have done, and I told you. I am not being your teacher. No need to get immature (Mr big bad med student??) and defensive just because I disagreed with you. I know you didn't say why he was a patient, but just saying he IS a patient reveals some details of his personal health, no matter how insignificant you think they are. Hell, I wouldn't want someone knowing I saw a podiatrst a few years ago when I had plantar warts! :) And for the record, I HAVE done things in my past and present career (I'm not a "big bad med student" anymore) that DID matter and I HAVE screwed up and I HAVE gotten reamed by supervisors, for things that were and were not my fault. I HAVE hurt people inadvertantly. And it sucked. It all sucked. But that is what this job is all about.

On another note, I read and enjoy your blog because I like to be reminded how excited and dedicated I was when I was an undergrad 15 years ago. Keep writing, and don't loose that excitement for as long as possible.

Pending, P.A. said...

Fine. Truce. And for the record it was the delivery of your criticism that pissed me off, not the fact that you had a criticism. I wasn't the only person who though you sounded I bit harsh. And the reason that I thought you were a med student was because your blogger profile said so. Had I known you were past being a med student I probably wouldn't have responded the way I did. But I'm glad you enjoy the blog and hope we get along in the future.

(Way to piss off the readers Dr. Wannabe)

Sid Schwab said...

It's ok, Dr W/B. Passion is a good thing. Keep plenty of it.