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Hospitalist Horoscopes


The Prescriptionist

Birthdate: January 1-February 21

Symbol: Rx

There is a disease for every drug. If it’s new, you’re on it. You’re on the pharmacy and therapeutics committee, and when you get journals you read the ads first. You’ve never met a drug rep you didn’t like. You are willing to experiment on yourself if need be; you would have made a great hippie. You like to hang with double Helixes, but you also like to hang heparin, fentanyl, ephedrine, and anything else that will fit in a bag of D5W.

The Statistician

Birthdate: February 22-April 19 (+/-two days)

Symbol: 1A

Evidence-based medicine is your mantra. You will do nothing without a double-blind, randomized multicenter control study. You are a therapeutic nihilist. You read Sherlock Holmes as a child. As you are reading this, you are wondering why you were assigned this month and how they know that this horoscope is correct. What was the control group? Is it a horoscopic placebo effect? You will submit an article to a major journal and have it rejected because your sample size was too small.

The Sentinel

Birthdate: April 20-May 20

Symbol: The Guardsman

You are always alert, but somehow bad things still happen to your patients. Delirious octogenarians fall out of bed and fracture their femurs; mistaken medications are administered, leading to adverse consequences. You admitted a diabetic patient for a below-the-knee amputation. The surgeon did a wonderful job and took off the left leg—too bad it was the wrong patient. The patient who was due for the amputation had an inadvertent orchiectomy. You cannot stop using abbreviations. A JCAHO survey is in your future; perhaps it is a good time for a vacation.


Birthdate: May 21-June 20

Symbol: The Leach

You love to order tests: CAT scans. PET Scans. Ultrasounds and Dopplers. You want contrast? That’s no problem! We’ll just Mucomyst and bicarb the patient. You especially love phlebotomy. Every patient gets full lab every day. You would not want to miss a drop in hemoglobin, even if you caused it with excessive phlebotomy. If the patient is a tough stick, you’ll give it a try. You once found a vein on a particularly cicatricial heroin addict and you are still talking about it. You love Bela Lugosi movies.

The Chairman

Birthdate: June 21-July 20

Symbol: The Gavel

You love committees. Face it—there is not one you don’t want to be on. You like to know what’s going on and want to be involved. You don’t want someone to surprise you. You prefer to run the meeting and talk more than anyone else. As you read this, you think it could have been written more concisely, and you advise the formation of an ad hoc committee for wordsmithing, after which it will be sent to the communications committee, then on to exec. SHM has a place for you.


Birthdate: July 21–August 20 and August 22–September 20

Symbol: The Black Cloud

When you have been on hospital duty, nobody wants to take over the service from you. You always have the most patients. When you are on nights, you have 27 admissions when other people don’t get any. Your patients always get chest pain as you are about to roll over the pager, and it’s guaranteed not to be gas. Your post-op patients get to the floor very late, and they always have ileus, urinary retention, and delirium. You are paged constantly, even on your day off. The computer system just crashed; you must be on call. Your patients love you because you are always there.

The Dumpster

Birthdate: August 21

Symbol: The Garbage Can

You never mind leaving some work for your colleagues; you would not want them to be bored. You are going on vacation and need to leave early to pack, you have a headache and are home sick, or your dog has the flu, can somebody cover? Your discharge summaries are sketchy; you like to have residents so that they can do your paperwork for you. You are on good terms with Inertias and always seem to be changing call nights with Nimbuses.

The Geneticist

Birthdate: September 21-October 20

Symbol: The Double Helix

Face it—you’re twisted, dude. You like things to align nicely; your clothing always matches your shoes. You love consanguinity and the interesting diseases that develop. Nobody knows what you are talking about at parties. You hear hoofbeats (it’s not a horse). Bad news: They just discovered that Linus Pauling was right. DNA is a triple helix.


Birthdate: October 21–November 19

Symbol: The Snail

You think the world is changing too fast. You were right about HMOs and still think LBJ made a mistake when he signed Medicare into law. When you are on a committee, you always find something that needs a rewrite. You always want a second review.

If it was good enough for you, it’s good enough for those who follow you. You still write notes by hand and are damned if you’ll learn how to operate a computer.

You are a natural bureaucrat. You love to block Chairmen from getting anything done.

The Techie

Birthdate: November 20 at 6 a.m.-December 31 at 11:59p.m.

Symbol: The Palm Pilot

You are first to embrace a new technology. If it’s embedded, you’ll root it out. You get your news from a podcast, and you have a Blackberry and a Blueberry. You don’t understand how anyone could not like having an electronic health record. Your entire medical school education is saved on a memory card, though you are not sure where it is. Your secret shame: Your vintage VCR still has a blinking red light. You get along well with Chairmen as long as they move your technology request through the committees. You would like to see all Inertias implode. TH

Jamie Newman, MD, FACP, is the physician editor of The Hospitalist, consultant, Hospital Internal Medicine, and assistant professor of internal medicine and medical history, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minn.


The Nocturnalist

Birth time: Any day 8 p.m.–8 a.m.

Symbol: The Owl

You know who you are. Nighthawk at the diner—you’re a night owl, and you sleep all day long. You love Joni Mitchell and Tom Waits—or you would if you’d ever heard of them. You feed when the sun goes down. You’d rather not be around everybody; the noise makes your brain hurt. You have an amazing tan from sleeping in the sun. If you live in a big city, you have a great social life; otherwise, you enjoy the History Channel more than you should. You have made it to level 39 on Swordquest.

The Recruiter

Birthdate: Whenever, but as soon as possible

Symbol: The Dollar Sign

You know how to motivate people. Cash. Quality of life. Great schools. Outstanding golf courses. Low crime. Affordable housing. Partnership potential; $300K guaranteed! You like to get paid in advance. You love the last half of any journal. You’ll phone; you’ll e-mail; you’ll do whatever it takes to make it happen. You had a great investment portfolio until the market crashed.

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