There she lay: a 59-year old woman who had become increasingly disoriented and confused. Not only did she have an infection in her bloodstream, years of alcohol abuse had taken its toll on her liver, leaving her skin yellowed. “Welcome to the ICU,” I thought. In contrast to my previous clinical experience, I found this patient encounter unsettling. No conversation. No personality. No interaction. She was nothing more than a body in a bed punctured ...

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One night while on call, I was sitting in a loud downtown restaurant when I received a phone call from the hospital. I didn’t think I would be able to hear the call, and so I scurried around to find a place to speak. The bathroom appeared straight ahead, so I rushed into the first empty stall, locked the door and took the phone call. After wrapping up with the ...

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At a recent block party, neighbors asked me questions about the life of a resident. It amazed me how little the general public still knows about the hours a resident works. Over the years, TV shows have shed some light on what the experience of a resident is like, although none are quite realistic, but it is hard to appreciate from a one hour sitcom what it feels like to ...

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“Have you had any horrible problems with wait times?” shouted the reporter as he jogged towards the van pulling out of the parking lot. Leaning in so far that his head actually crossed the window’s threshold yet still audible from across the street, he continued “We’re looking for people who’ve had terrible experiences here!” So it was last week walking in to work at the Durham VA Medical Center. One year ago, ...

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To his credit, Mark Cuban, engaged on Twitter in response to my post.

Mark, I’m sorry I had to leave Twitter abruptly. My wife threatened to kill me and then divorce me -- in that order -- if I didn’t get off Twitter instantly and get the groceries.

However, I caught the tail end of the Tweets. I’ll do my best to respond.

1. “Why is this ...

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A recent publication from the Mayo Clinic created a lot of buzz regarding the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), or drones, in medicine. However, in reality, most of the drones being used or tested in the U.S. are for things like aerial photography, small package delivery, and surveillance. While several corporations have been quick to expand existing applications and test new adaptations, the non-profit medical community hasn’t ...

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medpagetodayFrom MedPage Today:

  1. Whooping Cough Epidemic Hit Vaccinated Kids Hard. The 2012 pertussis epidemic in Washington state affected a surprising number of adolescents who were vaccinated on schedule.
  2. 3-Year Curriculum: The Cure for Med-Ed's Ills?. In response to complaints that medical education costs too much, takes too long, teaches the wrong things, ...

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Do you know the difference between a surgeon and God? God doesn't think he's a surgeon. Everyone who goes into the study of surgery has ideas about what they're going to be. I would imagine that each individual has different expectations of what the future holds, though few find their future at all resembles those expectations. I recall when I started my surgery residency, my head was filled with all kinds of ...

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american society of anesthesiologistsA guest column by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, exclusive to KevinMD.com. As a physician, you never quite get used to being paged in the middle of the night. The shrill tones emitted via a radio frequency device that seems squarely stuck in the 1980s are almost always the first sign of something gone wrong, especially when ...

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Dear drunk driver, Tonight, I am tired. Tired from lack of sleep, tired from the long hours, and tired from bearing witness to your destruction. Tonight, you caused an accident while under the influence of alcohol. And you are badly injured, requiring emergency surgery. Your liver is hard, cirrhotic, and unforgiving. Although I can get you through this first surgery, I know you will not survive. I know over the next few days, ...

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