1. Be yourself and learn to be flexible. Don’t ever change who you are as a person. It’s OK to have a personality of your own. If you secretly listen to Taylor Swift’s Shake it Off on the way to work, it’s OK. As a junior member of the team it’s very unlikely your iPhone playlist will make the cut for the operating room (OR) entertainment anyway, so go ahead and keep it ...

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Experiment 1. Stop five random people on your way to work and ask them to name the top public advocates of health and wellness that come to mind. Do I dare speculate that more than a few would mention Dr. Oz. Or Jenny McCarthy? Experiment 2. Stop five medical colleagues and ask them to list their top physician writers and journalists. Do I dare speculate that more than a few would only have ...

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March30-copy-640x480 I’m in a room full of doctors at my mom’s 50th medical school reunion when I announce, “It’s almost March 30th!” I pause. “Doesn’t anyone know what March 30th is?” Nobody has a clue. March 30th is National Doctors’ Day! Who knew? I never heard of it -- until a friend told me last week. Veterans know about Veterans Day. Mothers know about ...

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Recently, I was asked to fill a questionnaire during check-out at a hotel in India. I was very pleased with my stay, so I agreed to provide feedback. It is worth pointing out that if I was only mildly satisfied I would not have agreed. If I was disappointed with my stay, I would have filled the form more enthusiastically. When I offer feedback I am in one of two extreme ...

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At age 37, after a nearly 2-year battle with stage IV lung cancer, a talented neurosurgeon lost his battle. My oncology-related newsfeed is filled with stories this week about this brave and clever man’s recent passing. In a field where the recent tweets tout results of the latest clinical trials (overall survival prolonged from 2 months to 4 months!), it is sobering to be reminded of what truly matters to ...

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41NmPFjOxXL._SL250_ An excerpt from The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly.  Warning: Contains explicit language. It started with a banana peel. After years of quiet study in the libraries, laboratories, and lecture halls of Harvard Medical School, I finally made the tectonic shift to hospital life in the summer of 2006. The third year of medical school marks a ...

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The girl seizes. Her body torques and twists and jerks about like a snake trapped on an electric fence. She flops back and forth on the gurney before us, her pale forehead glistening with sweat, her brown hair wetted black from the effort of muscle contractions that threaten to tear apart her tiny frame. Trauma room two is silent save for the gluck-gluck-gluck of her gagging as jaw and teeth grind and bang together ...

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The following article is satire. In the first application of a new “reverse AMA” system put into place to improve patient satisfaction, a patient was admitted to the hospital for the first time against the wishes of her treating ED physician.  Constance Dolor, a 37-year-old morbidly obese patient with chronic unexplained pain and a frequent visitor to the emergency department, became the first person in known history to be admitted the ...

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It came out of nowhere. One of those life lessons that I didn’t know I needed to learn. Until I did. There I was, at a weekend business retreat, hobnobbing with a group of women executives. Feeling only slightly out of my element. Trying to blend in. There was a break in the meeting. And what happened next made me rethink how I approached everything. Several of us walked to the ladies’ ...

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Behind every doctor is a little boy or girl who once watched helplessly. Maybe it was her father or grandfather who suffered under the weight of a disease that was deemed all but incurable. Perhaps her own skin was battered and bruised by the repeated trauma of an unrelenting tourniquet.  She swore that when (if) she got older she would protect the innocent from such things.  Her vow was the ...

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