Anyone with a computer or smartphone is well aware of the incessant alerts that flash across the screen, often accompanied by a beep or exclamation point. The alert may be for an upcoming appointment, a reminder of an acquaintance’s birthday -- or a just-announced sale at your favorite online retailer. How many of these alerts are really important? It’s easy to ignore a media news flash -- but what if you ...

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Many people know that an important part of medical school is choosing a specialty — the field of medicine that you plan to practice for the rest of your career. However, fewer people know just how many different factors weigh on this decision. As my classmates and I navigate through third year, I thought I would share several of the factors that enter the balancing act: Clinical interest: The simplest, yet ...

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I first met her in the urgent care at the cancer center when I was on call one night. She was beautiful: 53 years old, four adult sons, and in incredible pain. She had stage 4 breast cancer, and unbeknownst to her, she had a metastatic lesion in her femoral neck, which she had fractured about four weeks ago. But she'd just had a spine operation for mets in her ...

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I bought my first house a few days before starting my second year of residency in St Louis. It was a townhome: two bedrooms, one and a half baths, hardwood floors and lots of wall space. So much wall space, in fact, that I immediately began to look for ways to adorn all those barren surfaces. After visiting some local art galleries, I came to two conclusions. I knew exactly what ...

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I still don’t know how I did it.  I don’t know how I got through life as a lower-level neurosurgery resident.  I vividly remember the horrific call nights and weekends.  There are certain sensations you get when you have gone weeks without more than two or three hours of sleep at a time.  It wasn’t the foggy thoughts that bothered me most, or continually feeling cold, or even when I ...

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My wife who is eight months pregnant went to a routine prenatal appointment last week. She told the OB doctor that she was concerned she had pink eye. OB providers, along with pediatrics, family medicine, and internal medicine all constitute primary care providers (PCP) and pink eye is a common primary care condition. Surprisingly, the OB physician referred her to the nearest acute care facility. Attributing this provider's recommendation as rare ...

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Empathy is the cornerstone of quality patient care. It is no surprise that the fundamental moral code that has facilitated human kindness for thousands of years is what drives physicians to commit to their oath today: Treat others as you would have yourself treated. When it comes to the disease that is obesity, I can empathize. I’ve struggled with obesity for as long a time as I can remember. There are ...

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It's October, and I'm a second-year medical student. My best friend Carly and I have just finished a backpacking trip through South America. We fly out tomorrow from Lima, Peru, and we have just one thing left to do: eat shrimp ceviche, the classic South American dish of raw seafood marinated in lime or lemon juice, oil and spices. We wander along the busy streets until we find the restaurant our ...

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When I started medical school, I believed the challenges would be purely academic: a rigorous four-year chapter in my life, with a shiny MD on the last page. I had no idea it would alter the very core of how I approach the world. I came to medical school immediately after undergrad -- a path increasingly less common as admissions committees tout the values of “real life experience.” While I should ...

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Being sick is a horrible enough time without having to worry about how much it’s going to cost you. Unfortunately, the United States is unique among developed nations in not ensuring that the populace has a safety net that will protect them against exorbitant personal health care expenses. It’s a terrible thing to have to deal with as a physician. I went to medical school to learn how to take ...

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