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August 28, 2016

"Excuse my broken English"


By jim richmond



"Excuse my broken English," the young internist from Kazakhstan, kept saying. I went for a primary care appt., and volunteered to spend time instead so she could practice a complete primary care patient workup. She had practiced as an MD in the former part of the Soviet Union.


"Ah I have been to St. Petersburg three times," I tell her, "and am finishing a wonderful book on the Russians' defense of both St. Petersburg and Moscow in 1941."


"Oh, you mean 1943," she said, "if I know my history well."


I thought, 'No, I mean late 1941, when over 1 million Russians, more than the total lost by US and England, died in defense of Moscow.'


But I said nothing, enthralled a bit by her.


"Oh, forgive my broken English," she repeated, asking concise, perceptive health questions and knowing the counter indications and names of all the heart, blood pressure and other medications I take daily..


My primary care GNP came in the room after 45 minutes. "Would you like a private review with your patient?," my Kazakhstan doctor asked.


"No," my regular GNP replied.


And then Dr. Kazakhstan orally summarized my medical history and its implications in a ten minute, precise monologue, that had my GNP standing a bit agog.


"Patient is 71 year old male. In excellent physical and mental health for patient's age, I believe," she begins in preface.


After that, I started to fall in love. She could've looked like Uncle Joe Stalin and been smoking his pipe.


Somehow, I think the Kazakhstan doctor, young and perhaps a bit rusty on WWII history, will do fine in America as a physician.


We are lucky to have folks like her immigrate to America. 


I wanted to ask HER a thousand questions.


Leaving,  I felt fortunate to have this unusual, long experience, and to perhaps contributed a bit to this remarkable young professional's  licensing and/or board certification here

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