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I was doing medical rotations at Highland Hospital in Oakland, California; the U.S. GSW (Gun-Shot Wound) champion. I was the only doctor who walked to work; certainly the only one who walked MacArthur Blvd., and definitely the only one who walked at night; but I wasn’t ‘fraid o’ no ghosts; I’d been in worse places around the world, though none in the U.S.
The hospital was switching over to electronic records, and a few of us were using tablets to enter patient data. I didn’t like mine very much: it was slow, the Wi-Fi was dodgy, and I couldn’t get past the firewall unless I was physically in the hospital so I couldn’t prep for the morning’s patients at the motel my wife, Gwynne, and I were staying in.
I was working nights, and mid-shift, went down to the hospital cafeteria for something to eat. I was the only one in the place; me and the cafeteria guy. I put my tablet on one of the tables; they were all vacant; went to the counter; put some cold food on my plastic tray; and headed back to the table: my tablet was gone. I had been gone for 2 minutes max; no one had come or gone since I’d been there. I didn’t care about losing the tablet; what a piece of junk, but Oakland was beginning to scare me.
I told my team what had happened. My Resident said I should tell security, so just to make her happy, I did, not expecting anything to happen, but a couple hours later the security guy called me and said he had my tablet and to come pick it up. I was amazed to see it again.
“It was the cafeteria worker,” he explained. “He’s already been fired. Do you want to press charges?”
“No, sounds like he’s been penalized enough.”
The guard nodded his head, like he returned stolen articles all day long. Maybe he did?
I took the tablet back to the motel, put it in my backpack, and forgot about it until our car was broken into the next day and my backpack got stolen.
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