Over the years, the inability of patients and others to believe that I am a doctor has left me utterly demoralized. Their incredulity persists even now that I am a senior resident, working in one of the world's busiest hospital emergency rooms. How can it be that with all the years of experience I have, all the procedures I've performed and all the people I've interacted with in emergency situations, I still get what I call "the look"? It's too predictable. I walk in the room and introduce myself, then wait for the patient—whether he or she is black, white or Asian—to steal glances at the ID card that is attached to my scrubs or white coat. (I've thought of having it changed to read something like: It's true. I'm a real doctor. Perhaps you've seen a black one on TV?)


This reminds me of a riddle I read in the book Blink (which I will paraphrase):

A man and his son are in a serious car accident. The man is dead on arrival, but the son lives. The ambulance takes him to the ER, where the examining doctor, who upon seeing the boy, gasps and says: "This child is my son." Who is the doctor?