1. Steinberg, Amir MD, FACP

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Figure. Amir Steinbe... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. Amir Steinberg, MD, FACP

The Stubborn One

There once was a patient from Yonkers


Who loved to drive our staff bonkers


He always threatened leaving


Causing his wife's grieving


His cancer she hopes he conquers


He did not let us draw morning labs


And often threw at us verbal jabs


Eventually he'd consent


We were shocked he'd relent


Of course we knew he was keeping tabs


We really urged him to stick around


To get his meds to be safe and sound


But if he did not stay


There's not more we could say


He was extremely stubborn we found


When his white cells began climbing up


He wanted some wine to have a cup


He was high as a kite


The news was out of sight


He became as gentle as a pup


He listened to everything said?


Since he was not going to be dead?


His discharge was coming


He began succumbing


His stubborn tendencies he had shed


You see the Stubborn One is no more


He is a gentle man to the core


But when death seems so near


And there is palpable fear


Our dear Stubborn One comes to the fore


AMIR STEINBERG, MD, FACP, is Assistant Professor of Medicine at Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, in the hematologic malignancies/stem cell transplantation group in the division of hematology-oncology. He notes that this poem, a limerick, was inspired by interactions with a patient undergoing a stem cell transplant.