The patient is a 36-year-old
physician without a significant
grievance history who presents today
complaining of the word “complain” as used
in bed-side and chair-side presentations.
The patient was in his usual state
of mind about the word, which is to say
he didn’t think twice about using it,
until the end of residency when
a mentor told the following story.
One day, during his own residency,
the mentor was presenting in front of
a patient coming in “complaining of”
such and such, when the patient turned to him
and asked, “Do I really complain that much?”
Ever since then, our patient endorses
a substernal cringing sensation and
sharp radiating embarrassment for
whoever uses this word to describe
what a patient is experiencing.
Of note, he also denies caring for
the word “deny” in such presentations,
but that’s a concern for another day.
Adam Possner, MD
Dr. Possner is assistant professor, General Internal Medicine, Medical Faculty Associates, George Washington University, Washington, DC; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.