One busy call night, while handling multiple admissions from our emergency room, I received a page notifying me that a new patient, Mr. T, had just arrived on the hospital floor. I looked up his medical record number, but no records were found in our computer system. I rushed to his room, expecting the worst.
When I arrived, he appeared remarkably stable. The chart at his bedside provided a working diagnosis for Mr. T’s primary complaint, shortness of breath, but I wanted to hear directly from him about his condition. After reviewing his vital signs, I put down my notes, pulled a chair up, and began taking his history.