A few months ago I read an essay by Dr. Herbert Fred of Houston, Texas. After reading his essay, "Medical Education on the Brink," I was inspired to start a revolution in surgical education. His essay ends with the following recommendation:

“…raise the bar of performance in all training programs to a distinctly higher level, with excellence as the perpetual goal.”
As the Fourth of July approached, I began to view his ...

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The presence of strong, independent women has been a constant throughout my life. Friends, teachers, mentors, aunts, cousins, and grandmothers have all helped shape my firm belief that gender need not be a hindrance and can indeed become a source of pride. Yet the most influential and compelling woman will always be my mom, and for me, no story of admirable females can go without mention of her. On a rainy ...

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Edward arrived at the hospital following a stroke; a standard work-up failed to reveal an obvious cause. His physician explained that a previously diagnosed patent foramen ovale (PFO), a hole in between the chambers of his heart, may have led to his stroke. He presented three possible treatment options to Edward: (1) medical management with drugs; (2) open surgery to correct the defect; or (3) interventional catheterization to correct the ...

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As we enter the fall, we welcome a new class of bright-eyed medical students. To such students, you are about to embark on a life-transforming journey. My first year on the said journey has been full of highs and lows. There was the morning I woke up before 6 and got upset with myself for sleeping in. There was the day I received my first exam score and realized I ...

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In early December 2012, I experienced two life-altering events. First, on December 5, Sadie, my first grandchild, was born. Second, on December 8, I suffered a myocardial infarction. All things considered, I was extremely fortunate. Because I received outstanding care almost immediately, I survived the heart attack. But that night, as I lay in bed in the coronary care unit after undergoing an angioplasty and the placement of a drug-eluting ...

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I remember when we dragged ourselves to the large lecture hall every morning, backpacks slung over our shoulders and cups of coffee in our hands. Six to eight hours of lectures awaited us. I remember where we all sat in that lecture hall. I remember the future ophthalmologist who sat behind me and made snarky comments while certain professors gave their lectures facing the chalkboard. I remember students sitting six rows ...

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Inspiring a new generation of oncologistsOne of the things I enjoy as an academic oncologist is the opportunity to teach. I like having students, residents, and fellows in my clinic and the opportunity for them to see what oncology is and what we do; how we "marry" the art and science of medicine in our routine care of patients with cancer. For several years, I've co-directed an ...

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A concept that has been percolating in the medical literature boiled over into the mainstream as the New York Times published this story, "Chicago's Intern 'Boot Camp' is a rehearsal for life or death medical issues." The article describes a new internal medicine intern having to deal with a simulated patient who is critically ill and has alarms going off. Another intern had to tell a "patient" played by an actor ...

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You may not remember me, but when I asked how you were, you said, “alive.” A few weeks earlier you were afraid of going under anesthesia and not waking up. They said you’d do great; that this was routine; that we’d see you again soon. Then you coded on the table. I’ve never met someone who was grateful for life the way you expressed to me that day. You may not remember ...

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“I don’t want a tube down my nose. I’ve been through it before and I don’t want it again.” Charlie turned his head away from the team and crossed his arms in defiance. “I’d rather be sick.” I looked at the intern, who looked at the resident, who just said, “Well, think about it. We’ll be back in the afternoon.” “I’m also hungry and haven’t eaten in days,” Charlie added. “Maybe some food ...

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