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A Case of Red Retching

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Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition:


My friend Sabrina, a resident physician at Boston Children's Hospital, was finishing edits on a medical report about an apparent case of hematemesis (vomiting of blood). As she was preparing to submit the piece for publication, she asked me to give it a quick read-through.

Sabrina’s report kicked off with a standalone rhyming line. Before I knew it, 20 minutes had flown by and I’d rewritten the entire essay in the style of a children’s poem. When asked whether I had any notes, I sheepishly admitted I’d gotten rather distracted, and showed Sabrina the poem.

To my surprise and delight, Sabrina and her advisors decided to submit the poem as part of the report. Just over a year later, it appeared in The Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition with the following line: “For a unique illustration of this case, please see accompanying poem.” I haven’t reviewed the record books, but I have a hunch it’s the first time JPGN has ever published a medical poem.

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