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Anesthesiology:
doi: 10.1097/ALN.0b013e31820b8b5d
Education: Mind to Mind

Anesthesiologist's Lament

Harvey, Stephen T. M.D.*
Section Editor(s): Cassella, Carol Wiley M.D., Editor

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After a day of keeping up the shtick,
As a colleague calls it, all the backslapping
And one-liners that put the staff at ease,
Dodging comebacks of passing gas and napping,
The old clichés of caring for the sick
While saving lives and stamping out disease,
I settle in for an all-night case on call
And let myself consider the surreal:
Some sorry bastard known as Stat Unknown
Who passed out, I am told, behind the wheel
And managed to steer straight into a wall
Of the courthouse, no less, has now been flown
Here to purgatory, his position
Suspended somewhere between life and death.
That colleague told me once a good physician
Is sometimes right, sometimes wrong, never in doubt.
Sobered with that thought, I draw a breath,
Hold it for a moment, let it out,
And bow my head to pray with all my might,
One sinner for the next, that I am right.

© 2011 American Society of Anesthesiologists, Inc.

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