As medical professionals, we are expected to care for all patients no matter their gender, race, religion, or economic status.  Sometimes there are lessons that can be subtle.
West Los Angeles paramedics brought him in as a pedestrian victim of hit-and-run, breaking his leg.  He was about 80 years old, no ID found, appeared disheveled, and speaking gibberish in a language hospital linguists were not able to translate.  There was no evidence of head trauma, but this was before the advent of CT scanners.
His clothing was worn, so he was hospital-labelled “homeless” with transfer arrangements to “County.”
After several hours awaiting ambulance transport, a nurse urgently summoned me saying “he’s speaking English!”  I asked his name, “Max”, and got a phone number.
Explaining to the person answering the phone Max was in the ER, she screamed “that’s my husband!”
A short time later, a car sped into ER parking screeching to a halt.  An older woman flew out the back door of a chauffeured Rolls Royce draped in a mink stole, with the license plate “Mrs Max.” 
The transfer was cancelled.
Lesson learned:  Add age, appearance, and language to the list.
Gene Uzawa Dorio, M.D.
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