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An Interview With Dr. Signout


This time we sat down with the ever-elusive Dr. Signout, of Signout.

What’s your name?
Ooooh. Sorry, can’t tell you that.

What do you do when you’re not blogging?
Why, I provide compassionate, evidence-based patient care at a high rate of speed. If I’m not doing that, I’m probably traveling, reading, drinking coffee, or cooking flamboyantly.

What is your blog called?

What’s up with that name?
When residents hand off the care of their patients to other residents, they’re supposed to summarize each patient’s medical background, issues, and potential for change in clinical status in a neat package called “signout.” I felt that on this blog, I’d be giving a signout of sorts, only to a completely different audience and with a completely different purpose than usual.

How long have you been blogging?
Three years, off and on.

Where are you from and where do you live now?
I’m from the U.S. I now live in the immediate vicinity of a large university hospital.

Would you describe yourself as a working scientist?
As a resident, I’m really more of a sponge for knowledge than an investigator in my own right. However, during my free time, I still work on some research projects I’ve been involved with since medical school. So yes, I’d describe myself as a working scientist, but not because of anything I’m actually paid to do.

Any educational experiences or degrees you’d like to mention?
Uh. My M.D.?

What are your main academic interests, in or out of your field?
I’m really interested in infectious diseases and issues in international health, especially issues around the transmission and treatment of HIV in the developing world. I’m more peripherally interested in languages and etymology, and even more peripherally interested in entomology.

Last book you read?
“My Name is Red” by Orhan Pamuk. I was underwhelmed.

What is your idea of a perfect day?
Sleeping in; a productive hour at a farmer’s market; a bike ride to a nice spot under a tree for an amazing lunch; an afternoon involving iced tea, a really good cryptic puzzle, and a nap; and a late night cooking with and for friends.

What’s your greatest habitual annoyance?
Like, everything. Maybe it’s the lack of sleep.

Who are your favorite heroes of fiction?
Those uber-functional families of children’s books, like the Ingalls family and the Swiss Family Robinson.

Your favorite heroes in real life?
Molly Ivins. Ira Glass. Timothy Quill. One of my research mentors. I used to totally idolize Nicholas Kristhof, but he lately seems to have become a bit of a tool.

What’s your most marked characteristic?
My sunny disposition.

What’s your fatal flaw?
I’m hypercritical, especially of myself.

Who are your favorite writers?
Meir Shalev; Nathan Englander; Dave Eggers; Ernest Hemingway; Dorothy Parker; M.F.K. Fisher.

What would you like to be?
What I am, only in a different part of the world and with better work hours.