Recently, my eldest son came home from college for a couple of days. Our home was in perfect harmony and rhythm. The duets (and quartets, if you count us parents) that had played over the prior month-and-a-half were once again trios and quintets. Five or six hands on the piano at a time. The clear brass joining in again with the bright woodwind and the deep bass. The voices in ...

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Pamela Wible: A eulogy to her father I believe we choose our parents before we are born. I hit the jackpot. I picked an unlikely pair -- a radical feminist and a guy named Ted Krouse. Mom wasn’t home much (she was finishing up her psychiatry residency) so I became head of the household. Dad always kowtowed to the strongest woman in the room. I was two at the ...

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Not too long ago I suggested hospice to a patient who had progressive cancer, although she likely had months to live.  “I don’t think it is time,” she replied, “hospice is for morphine.” “That is not how I see hospice,” I replied, “I think hospice is about getting the best care and support, even if there is no real treatment for the disease.  It is about living well, maybe better. Even ...

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While driving to work, I listened to Mike and Mike (a radio sports talk show). Mike Greenberg made a wonderful point about his job. He described what they do as “professional over-reactors.” They take every game and extrapolate, sometimes irrationally, about the implications of that game. Does this remind you of health reporting? A study appears in a serious medical journal, and the press “blows it up” as the next great advance. ...

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What I found most disturbing about the man’s arm was not the deep, stellate laceration on the underside of his biceps. It was the swastika tattoo next to it. “Sir,” I said, “we’ll have you fixed up in no time. I’m going to numb up the wound, irrigate it, then repair the laceration with sutures and send you home on antibiotics and pain medication. The nurse will update your tetanus shot. But ...

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Go into any hospital today and notice that between every great nurse and patient sits a computer terminal. The quantified health movement has created the great digital divide, between the patient and everyone else. The nurse of old used to actually touch the patient. No more. Now, they wheel in a computer console, sit down and record the digital output of the wired up patient, every vital sign, every drug order or ...

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What I love about being an anesthesiologist I wear a lot of hats in my job.  Though I’m a physician who specializes in the practice of anesthesiology, I don’t spend all day every day at the head of an operating room table. Many days I spend in an administrative leadership role or conducting research studies.  These functions support the best interests of my patients as well as the science ...

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Every so often you have a patient in your practice that you sort of know, but really don’t. You’ve seen the name somewhere, but your mind draws a blank when asked about him. You may even have a vague idea of what he looks like, but if he were to bump into you on the street, you won’t even recognize him, despite the fact that you’ve been inside his heart ...

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In June 2014, the first patient with Ebola arrived at Liberia’s county hospital, Redemption. As tensions grew around the city of Monrovia, administrators at JFK Hospital began to devise plans for handling patients with suspected Ebola. Officials from the CDC then came and gave us lectures. They discussed prevention of spreading and what our plans would be in the event of a potential outbreak. Before that moment, there were no ...

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Many physicians are discouraged by the state of medical practice in 2014. Maintaining job satisfaction and well-being for the duration of a decades-long medical career can be as daunting as completing an uphill marathon. In addition to keeping up with the explosion of medical knowledge and maintaining certification in your specialty, what concrete practices can you adopt to insure that you will make it to the finish line in good ...

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