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Pectoriloquy |

The Computerized Patient Record: after a letter to the Editor Local Newspaper FREE TO VIEW

Bobby Steve Baker, MD, FACS
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Editor’s Note:The author writes, “This poem was inspired by an actual event where a nursing service was using guidelines provided by a third-party payor to determine recommended length of stay. The patient’s condition was not communicated between site of care and site of billing, in spite of a state of the art computerized patient record, resulting in this disturbing phone call.” Robert Baker, MD, FACS, is an Oculo-Plastic Surgeon in Lexington, Kentucky. He was educated at McMaster University, University of California San Francisco, and the University of Kentucky where he was Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology for many years prior to entering private practice. He received his Master of Fine Arts in Poetry from National University in San Diego and writes as Bobby Steve Baker.

Editor’s note for authors of submissions to Pectoriloquy: Poems should not exceed 350 words, should not have been previously published, and should be related to concerns of physicians and medicine. First submissions to the Pectoriloquy Section should be submitted via e-mail to poetrychest@aol.com. Authors of accepted poems will be asked to submit the final version to CHEST Manuscript Central.

—Michael Zack, MD, FCCP


Copyright 2016, American College of Chest Physicians. All Rights Reserved.


Chest. 2016;149(4):1103. doi:10.1016/j.chest.2015.09.007
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    when you have brought a child into this world
    who has a chronic illness
    a painful crippling disease

    there is sadness and sympathy and sorrow of course there is
    but a strange weight is this gristle of guilt
    borne in a new part of your body with each degree of his decline
    a metastasizing remorse that cannot be cut out
    or reasoned with or prayed away

    a mutinous familiar flies at your throat
    every time the phone rings
    when he is hospitalized

    always the lava surges acrid from the gut
    when you must hold him down for painful punctures
    a fisted stone drops in your chest with bad results

    so when a cheerful receptionist
    from the chronic care nursing service chirps the happy news
    that his condition has improved and he is ready for discharge
    one would think you would be overjoyed

    and you would be
    if the funeral had not been yesterday


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