Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

My First Medical Rotation

Shawn Khosla
Kansas City, Missouri, USA

Poet’s statement: My junior year in high school, I started to shadow a physician in an inner-city hospital. This poem illustrates my initial shock at the devastation caused by social evils like drugs and drunk driving. My experience showed me the importance of combining medicine and the humanities to create passionate physicians. This poem is a product of that feeling.


My first medical rotation

Thinking it would give me something to do and would be cool
I decided to shadow a neurologist my junior year of high school

The neurologist started his hospital rounds from ICU bed fourteen
A comatose teenager lay in that bed hooked to a breathing machine

He had taken the deadly combination of speed and cocaine
The drugs ruptured a blood vessel and he bled in his brain

They did not think he was going to survive and soon would die
Family members and friends had gathered to bid him good bye

Unlike the drug prevention lectures which we were forced to take
A message hit home that drugs can kill you like a poisonous snake

Few days later I saw a victim of a drunk driver in the same condition
“When will my dad talk to me?” asked his little girl to the physician

He did not say much to her but told me that Dad was hanging by the thread
An EEG and many other tests would determine if he was alive or brain dead

Sad face of that innocent girl announced the message loud and clear
Drunk drivers cause misery to the families that is impossible to bear

A person of my age came to neurology clinic and he was not even able to walk
Cerebral palsy was his diagnosis, and I was told he would never be able to talk

While waiting to be seen he bit his tongue and started to have violent jerking
Mom told us that he does it every day as his seizure medicine was not working

I was thankful for what I had, and my life had changed in many ways
I had become a mature adult from naïve teenager within only a few days

Knitted neurologyKnitted neurology by Estonia76


SHAWN KHOSLA is a 19-year-old pre-med student with plans to become a neurologist. He volunteers to teach chemistry to underprivileged children in an inner-city school, as well as at a local hospital, shadowing a neurologist.


Highlighted in Frontispiece Winter 2013 – Volume 5, Issue 1

Winter 2013  |  Sections  |  Poetry

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