The Disappearing Doctors

Jane R. Gilsdorf


Health Affairs. 2008;27(3):850-854. 

In This Article


The pediatric infectious diseases (PID) team assembles in the hallway for rounds here at the children's hospital where I have worked for twenty-five years. I'm the attending physician during the next two weeks, and the other team members include the PID clinical fellow, two pediatric residents, a medical student, and two pharmacy students.

"Where's Diana?" I ask. Diana, a second-year pediatric resident, is doing a month-long elective on pediatric infectious diseases. On Monday afternoons and Wednesday mornings she is at her primary care continuity clinic. Today is Tuesday. She should be here.

"She was the night float on hem-onc last night, so she's home now," the PID fellow says, using hospital shorthand for hematology-oncology. "She'll be at her continuity clinic tomorrow morning and then here tomorrow afternoon."

"Well, where's Don?" I ask. Don, a third-year pediatric resident, is also taking an elective with PID this month.

"He had to cover the ICU [intensive care unit] today because of some glitch in the schedule. He'll be here tomorrow morning and then gone to his continuity clinic tomorrow afternoon."


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