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So God made a hospitalist

March 2013

Published in the March 2013 issue of Today’s Hospitalist

Editor’s note: The following is a response to the “So God made a farmer” ad for Ram trucks that aired during last month’s Super Bowl and featured a commentary from broadcaster Paul Harvey.

AND ON THE NINTH DAY, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, “I need an inpatient specialist.” So God made a hospitalist.

God said, “I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, take signout from the nocturnist, work all day in the hospital, make rounds, eat supper, sign out at the end of the shift, then go home, help her kids with homework, and put them to bed, read the mail, interact with her spouse, do some reading in preparation for rounds tomorrow, and then go to bed.” So God made a hospitalist.

God said, “I need somebody strong enough to see 15 to 20 sick inpatients per day while documenting accurately in order to meet core measure requirements. Somebody who can perform medication reconciliation, avoid readmissions, unnecessary tests and prolonged lengths of stay, yet gentle enough to patiently listen to frightened and disoriented senior citizens who can’t remember what day it is. Somebody who will stop his rounds in order to hold the hand of a frightened patient who just had a meeting with the oncologist to hear about chemotherapy side effects.”

And on the ninth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, “I need an inpatient specialist.”

gipe~ Bruce Gipe, MD
Primary Critical Care Medical Group 

God said, “I need somebody willing to sit up all night with an unstable patient in septic shock who dies, and then meet with the family to provide consolation for their loss. I need somebody who can take a history and perform a physical exam on a desperately ill patient in order to shape a clear assessment and plan that will hopefully result in a successful outcome, somebody who will talk politely to grumpy Emergency Department physicians who insist on admitting everyone, and who can make nurses feel like they are being listened to. Who, during influenza outbreaks will finish his 40-hour week by Tuesday noon and then, paining from a migraine related to staring at the computer screen for CPOE, puts in another 72 hours.” So God made a hospitalist.

It had to be somebody who would dig deep for the right answer despite conflicting data and not cut corners. Somebody to listen, question, touch, examine, make eye contact, auscultate, palpate, percuss, review, read, study, prepare and communicate. Somebody who’d hold a family together with the soft, strong bonds of sharing, who would laugh, and then sigh and then reply with smiling eyes when his son says that he wants to spend his life doing what Dad does.

So God made a hospitalist!

With apologies to farmers, and to Paul Harvey.

Bruce Gipe, MD, is president and medical director of the Primary Critical Care Medical Group, a Burbank, Calif.-based company that provides hospitalist services throughout California. Dr. Gipe’s blog first appeared on his company’s Web site.