Progress

July 24, 2020
Richard M. Berlin, MD

Volume 37, Issue 7

A million doctors on fire, three million scorched nurses beside them, burned out as the flames progress.

POETRY of the Times

In the sixties, progress looked like men

on the moon and cars with seatbelts,

GE’s slogan proclaiming, “Progress

is our most important product!”

Flash forward sixty years and medical

progress is clear: precision scans,

robotic surgery, our clinical work

still documented by progress notes.

But shift the accent from first syllable

to second, and tumors progress

to kill their hosts, the way EHRs

have progressed, their key-clatter

drowning out each patient’s voice,

our work never finished, charts clicked

past midnight until every billable

data crumb is scraped off the table

for payment, LED screens as cool

as silver coins, a million doctors on fire,

three million scorched nurses beside them,

burned out as the flames progress.

Dr Berlin is Instructor in Psychiatry, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA.

download issueDownload Issue : Psychiatric Times Vol 37, Issue 7