Recently, during one of my last shifts as a resident, I was supervising my intern as we admitted a middle-aged man, Mr. S, who had been transferred from another hospital. His history was complex, the diagnosis unclear. His wife handed us a thick stack of radiology reports, lab test results, and physician notes. For the moment, Mr. S appeared stable, breathing comfortably on supplemental oxygen from a mask. We had time to examine him, go through the records, and think about his symptoms.
As I stepped out of his room, his wife pulled me aside. Her face was taut, exhausted with worry. “Aren’t you both trainees?” she asked, gesturing toward my intern. “I’d really prefer that we see the doctor in charge, not someone still in training.”