My first weekend on call at Mercy. It was definitely a quieter place than Christiana, with four new consults and about eight others who needed some kind of personal attention. There were not a lot of consultants or even ICU people or surgeons milling around by early afternoon, with the assigned hospitalists and a few residents assuming most of the patient care. On Saturday afternoon, the hospital hosted a community health fair so I agreed to occupy the ASK A DOCTOR table for about 90 minutes. A few folks came by including a couple of diabetics who needed some professional attention, but mostly folks with minor events that would not ordinarily incur a medical visit but as long as somebody is there to look at the rash or sore shoulder for free, why not. A physician who charges nothing is worth nothing (Bava Kama 85a), though that comment comes in the context of just compensation for an injury which includes payment for medical care, which by Talmudic requirement has to be mainstream care. I must say, I enjoyed being at the table, watching the people go by as I sipped on a Diet Coke.
Then Sunday I did real on call type of work, a slower pace that enabled me to think about what I was doing, instead of the Christiana burden of just getting through the enormous census and unending cell phone interruptions. Definitely a more civilized experience, and I suspect a lot better for the patients to have a doctor who is thinking more about them than about the tasks that lie ahead.