Emily Yoffe was online July 5 to chat with readers about this story. Read the transcript.
When I went back to my examining table, I tried to think what my reaction would be to my students if they were real doctors and I was a real patient. In response to most I would have thought, "This is disturbing." A few would have made me wonder whether I was in an episode of Punk'd. But a handful were so ready, so ordained to be physicians, that I simply would have been impressed by my young doctor.
Sometimes I got to see their excitement at playing doctor while I played patient. Dr. S, a future McDreamy with a hand in a cast from a rugby collision, moved in close with the ophthalmoscope to examine the fundus (OK, the interior lining) of my eye. Just as we were almost touching he said, "There it is!" with the same delight a sailor would cry out, "Land ho!" Some tried making doctorly conversation. "Have you ever had a physical before?" one asked. I nodded yes, but wanted to add, "Lately, I get one about every half hour."
Finally, I felt privileged to be there at the beginning and help send these healers on their way. So, to you Drs. A through W (even you, Dr. I), I hope your nerves settle down when you examine your patients' nerves, I hope you never get sued for malpractice, and I hope you make a lot of people better and even save some lives.
Thanks to reader Joseph Orloski for suggesting this assignment.
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