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Who’s on First

 Filed under: Discussions

One of the most famous comedy routines of all time, Abbott and Costello’s performance of “Who’s on First” still draws laughs over half a century after its premier. A classic example of unintentional miscommunication, it demonstrates how even the most naïve, simple, practical and utterly true statement can become hopelessly tangled in confusion and misunderstanding.

Not unlike Abbott and Costello’s imaginary St. Louis Wolves baseball team, sometimes a doctor’s day seems to be caught between “Who’s on First” and “What’s on Second,” with competing priorities, emergency consults, and unanticipated delays, altogether creating a cascade of aggravation, frustration, and misspent energy.

It makes it difficult to determine who’s properly on first—is it your patient, or your spouse, or your kids? And what’s on second? Is it the Infection Control Committee or the CME lecture or a meeting with the hospital administrator? It should come as no surprise that “I Don’t Know” is on third.

Only you can decide, only you can set your priorities, rightly discern your limits, and maintain your own sense of balance. Pause a moment, regain a sense of rightness, and take proper care of yourself. It’s not just a game.

The link to the YouTube video is:


Ted Hamilton

About the Author

Ted Hamilton, MD, MBA, is Vice President for Medical Mission for Adventist Health System and was previously Senior Medical Officer for Florida Hospital. He graduated from Loma Linda University School of Medicine and did his family practice training at Florida Hospital. His current work is focused on promoting personal and professional well-being for physicians.

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