I’m having a good day. We took on a ton of patients last night, and everyone whom we tried to discharge today developed major new problems as soon as we got their paperwork done. If we don’t get some of them out tomorrow, we’ll be seriously overloaded for our next call, on Saturday. I actually like these patients, they’re mostly nice people – but there’s an awful lot of them. On the other hand, that means I can do actual work for the residents, so we’re a real team, and it’s good.

As we were rounding today, the attending, whom I have down as an Asian Muslim, noticed my last name and its ethnicity, which led to a discussion of the three monotheistic religions and their attitudes towards Abraham as a common prophet. I got my tongue tangled, trying to say that I did know that the Muslims regard Abraham as a prophet, and that Christians call him “the father of all who believe” (Paul, Romans 4), but that that doesn’t necessarily mean that we agree on the definition of prophets, or that Mohammed follows as a prophet.

A few patients later, we heard of a baby named Uriah, “from the Bible.” Most of the team didn’t know what that meant, so I explained to them (after we left the room!) that Uriah was the husband of Bathsheba, and was killed by David because he wanted Bathsheba. The attending remarked that this showed the difference between Christians and Muslims, because Muslims regard this story as fictitious, since no prophet could do such an evil thing. I responded that yes, indeed, Christians believe that all the other prophets sinned – Jesus is the only perfect, sinless person. The rest of the team jumped as if stung, and the attending hastily steered in another direction.

Then, this afternoon, another Asian resident mentioned that he didn’t understand why so many hospitals are named after the Good Samaritan. He didn’t know the story, so I told him. I keep underestimating the biblical illiteracy of our society – but it’s fun to tell the stories to people who’ve never heard them before.

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