I am about 45 minutes from the end of my night float shift, that dangerous hour all residents learn to wait through with baited breath, when my pager goes off. Pushing the button to silent its insistent beep, I read the text: “STAT 4-9876.” I am slightly bemused. STAT pages in psychiatry are few and far between. If one of the patients on the psych floor has had an MI, stroke, or something else that necessitates an immediate response, I may be the last to find out, as the nurse will often call a code and bring a medicine team running before letting me know what is going on. Even a consult for a suicidal patient on a medicine floor, considered a psychiatric emergency, doesn’t exactly necessitate the same sort of urgency as anaphylaxis or an acute abdomen. I like pondering and deliberation, making me naturally suited for psychiatry. Rather than engendering excitement, the word STAT makes my blood run a little cold. Besides, I typically assume that if someone is paging me, urgency is implied, and I return the call immediately; the two year old inside me smarts at being told to hurry up.
As any practicing physician can attest, adequate medical care extends beyond pure medical knowledge to … Read more