Medical Student as Interloper by Alice Huang

“You might not be

Leaving the hospital,”

The attending doctor says.

There are many eyes.

More pairs of eyes than I am comfortable with.


Residents. Three? Four? Five? I have lost count.

Nurses. Technicians.


I am one of those pairs

Of eyes.

Our eyes bear down on

The receiver of the doctor’s words,

Sitting snugly in the chair that is too big for her.

That swallows her petite frame whole.

Just only the other day

She was able to leave her bed,

But she

“…might not be

Leaving the hospital.”

The attending does not add the words

“Anytime soon.”

Nor does he say what

We all know he is implying

But is unable to say outside of Rounds

Out of her earshot.

What the attending doctor says

Is important.

But what he does not say

Even more so.

She is dying,

This frail lady with her powerful, strong gaze

In the ICU of the hospital.

She smiles and nods,

Ruminates and digests the words the doctor has said

And the words that he will not say.

She smiles and nods.

I want to make myself as small as

A pinpoint

And disappear

From that space that should be only hers

In this moment.

Her moment.

“Thank you,” she says.

As we leave her bedside,

A troop, a gaggle, a parade of


Resident One

Resident Two

Resident Three


Maybe five





I think to myself

This frail lady who sits snugly in the chair that is too big for her

That swallows her petite frame whole

She is strong,

So strong.


Alice Huang is a first-year medical student (MD’22) who likes her stories and poetry spiced, marinated, and tender.

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