I am a doctor. I save lives. Sometimes, by accident, I take them. I fight off bad infections. I spread worse. I do no harm. I do no good. I order the right tests and the wrong ones. I do only what is necessary, then do more. Maybe I do less. I care for the individual. I care for their lab values. My care is evidence based and defensive.

I am a physician. I am the new guard and the old. I am bright eyed, optimistic, jaded and bitter. I have integrity and prescribe the drug rep’s newest candies. My patient’s autonomy knows no bounds, nor has my paternalism found its limit. I admire. I condescend. My patients are wise fools. I welcome their questions and scorn inquisitiveness. I listen to them. I don’t. I have the utmost respect for nurses when I dismiss their assessments. My patience is exemplary, and God help those who test it.

I am a caregiver. I am a symbol of hope and a harbinger of despair. I am the cure. I am the contagion. I am therapy and iatrogenesis. I despise the bad and participate in it.

What a mortal sin to be human in this profession! Yet for the sake of those who entrust me with their very being, those souls I love even before I meet them, I will be diligent. I will strive to tip scales heavily in their favor. I need quality. I need safety. Without these tools, I fear the things of which my colleagues and I are capable.