December 17th, 2012

On Service — But Some Works in Progress

When several of my colleagues attend on the inpatient consult service, they turn on an “out of office” message that provides an automated e-mail reply that goes something  like this:

I am currently attending on the inpatient consult service. During this busy time, I may not be able to respond to email in a timely fashion. If you need to reach me urgently, please page my by calling xxx-xxx-xxxx, or leave a non-urgent message here and I will respond shortly.
Thank you,

Of course what they really mean is:

Please leave me alone.
Thank you,
p.s. In other words, I’m too busy to respond to you — but when I do, you should feel grateful, because after all, I told you I was busy.
p.p.s. I wish my name were something less silly.

Now I don’t do this — though I can understand why some people choose to do so, especially  researchers for whom this time is their only clinical work. (Of course those who do clinical work full time are always “on service”, but that’s a different topic.)

But there’s no doubt that regardless of who you are and what you do, if you’re in an academic medical center and on service, you will now have several additional hours of clinical work and teaching added to your day. This not surprisingly takes time away time from other activities.

Like this site.

So since I’ve been on service recently, my writing here has been relatively less frequent. In compensation, I’ll take a page from one my favorite writers, and provide a list of works in progress.  Helps organize my thoughts, too.

Here’s what I’ve been working on, and what I hope will be coming out soon:

  • Why HIV social workers are the greatest
  • The microbiome is hot
  • Another “Brush with Greatness” (it’s part of a series)
  • Missing the diagnosis at case conference
  • Things ID fellow applicants say, and why
  • The top papers in HIV — the early years
  • Clinical diversity in ID, and why we love it
  • An incredibly disgusting source of infection (not sure I can even mention it on this family-oriented site)
Hey, service ends Tuesday!

3 Responses to “On Service — But Some Works in Progress”

  1. Carlos del Rio says:

    I think you are absolutely right. My life is incredibly busy and crazy every day. When I go on service I feel like I need to put some sign that says “everything else I do on hold”…..patients are a priority. It is also important for us “experts” to realize that being a “clinician” is no easy thing.

  2. Guada Lopez-Marti says:

    Dr Paul Sax, you are awesome! I love your blog, you can always express how I feel and make me smile. Thanks so much for your wholesome writing. Wishing you happy holidays! hope you are off, I am on service for Xmas…from a fellow Peds ID colleague…:)

  3. Thanks for your BLOG and writings. My interest is in I.D. questions. I had an enteroccus faeculis infection during total hip replacement. I had I.D. regimens ending with six weeks of Vancomycin daily in PICC line…my total hip joint was removed in a second debridement operation and then I went almost two months without a hip joint…finally, the third operation implanted a new total hip joint. At this time, my daughter is under I.D. treatment combined with double mastectomy and chemo due to breast cancer. She had infections in surgical sites and was started on Vancomycin via P.I.C.C. line.. she had a severe shock reaction within three days or so… she was switched to another antibiotic.
    Although both of us are no longer under I.D. care, I am monitoring related literature because of personal interest and self-preservation. She just started a five month AC-T chemo protocol to be followed later by other treatments. I am a retired university professor of kinesiology.

HIV Information: Author Paul Sax, M.D.

Paul E. Sax, MD

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Infectious Diseases

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