For me, hepatitis B booster shots feel pretty much as pleasant as being sucker punched in the arm. You can imagine that it didn’t inspire much elation when I scrolled through my calendar to see, spelled out in big red letters, a reminder for “Hep B #3.” Now, as I reflect, this reminder feels like a victory of sorts. When you are told during medical school orientation that you must be reimmunized for ...

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In India, when the first heavy droplets of rain meet dry earth it releases a particular kind of smell: a dampness arising from sizzling soil that in Bengal we call shnoda gondho. It is raining on the second day we go to visit my grandfather in the hospital. He has been readmitted to the hospital, after spending a week recovering at home from a hospitalization for rib fractures and bleeding into his ...

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My first experience administering injections involved sitting in an ICU room, ten years old, drinking bitter diet Shasta colas and watching thrillers from the 90s starring Sandra Bullock. The nurses started me on oranges. Easy as pie -- I could stab away, practicing insulin injections with saline and fruit. The oranges practically squealed with delight upon puncture, rewarding me with the scent of citrus and a plume of juice -- ...

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It was the boy who was unable to speak who ended up teaching me the most. I was seeing patients in the epilepsy clinic during my neurology rotation. The attending physician with whom I was working, an internationally renowned pediatric epilepsy specialist with a penchant for attracting exceedingly complex cases, wanted me to observe the end of a patient session with one of the child neurology fellows. I entered the patient’s room ...

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Medicine is an area of study that is bursting with countless gut-wrenching ethical debates. Throughout our medical training, even in some medical school interviews, we are asked and tested on how we would personally navigate the delicate tightrope of right and wrong. Trying to maintain equilibrium between our personal beliefs and those that are best for our patients can often be difficult. On one side of our acrobatic act, we are ...

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shutterstock_133319240 As a third-year medical student, I realized one particular morning on rounds that I had let the demands of the job overtake the joys of why I went into medicine at all. I found myself running behind my team, barely even able to say goodbye to the last patient we had seen. The human interaction had become an afterthought in the ...

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There were a lot of happy faces on March 20th as depicted in this brief video of the excitement on the campus of the University of Rochester School of Medicine. Similar scenes took place at every U.S. medical school because 93.9 percent of the 18,025 graduates of U.S. allopathic medical schools matched in a specialty. But for the 1,093 (6.1 percent) U.S. graduates who didn't match things were not ...

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The patient was hacking sputum into a tissue when the resident and I entered his room. “How long have you had that cough?” “Oh this? As long as I can remember.” “But it’s been worse lately?” “Yeah.” “Worse how?” “More stuff coming out each time. See?” He opens the tissue. “How much sputum is there?” “Sputum?” “The stuff you cough up.” “I don’t look that close.” “More than two spoonfuls?” “Oh yes. Definitely.” “And the color?” “White-ish.” “Ever see any streaks of blood?” “Never.” “And how long have ...

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As I reflect back on the last four years of medical school, I am reminded of the ghosts of patients past. Those of you already entrenched in the dredges of patient care know what I mean. The images of their faces burned on your brain: the ones you couldn’t help, the promises you never meant to break, and the hope you weren’t able to give. Those ghosts take on several shapes ...

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I am relieved and proud to report that I passed my boards: I am officially a diplomate of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. While the oddly formal “diplomate” is a term in common use with physicians, I didn’t understand what “diplomate” and its sister phrase "board-certified physician" meant until I undertook my own board preparation. The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) is a memorably stressful element of applying to ...

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