Recently, the Harvard Chan School of Public Health reported on the effect of surgical checklists in South Carolina. The press release was titled, “South Carolina hospitals see major drop in post-surgical deaths with nation’s first proven statewide Surgical Safety Checklist Program.” The Health News Review, for which I review, grades coverage of research in the media. Based on their objective criteria, the Harvard press release would ...

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December 2012, three days before Christmas. It started as an ordinary day, but soon it would become the turning point of my career. As I entered my office, I noticed a different energy in the room. The receptionist looked at me and said, “Doc, one of your patients died last night.” As a psychiatrist, I am not used to the feelings generated when someone you cared for, passes in the ...

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When my children were growing up, I advised them, “Don’t choose any profession in which your worth is determined by knowing a body of information or using algorithmic thinking. If you do that, you’re toast.” ”Toast” because monopolies on information have been supplanted by the internet, and algorithmic thinking replaced by computers and artificial intelligence. Incredibly, this seismic shift in what society values has occurred in just a single generation. And that’s ...

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I pause in front of the door. On the other side, you all wait. A spouse, sons and daughters, sometimes with their own small children in tow. Today, it’s your husband and father you have come for. Yesterday it was someone else’s mother. You have come from near and far, across the street and the country. Your weary eyes are unable to mask your sadness. Over the past week, you ...

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Mindfulness has gained a lot of awareness and attention over the last few years as the medical community has set out to find strategies for prevention of physicians burnout. What has been coined “mindfulness-based stress reduction” or “mindfulness” is a principle proven long before medical researchers decided to reduce it to treatment strategy to promote acceptance among the physician community. This very useful tool today is becoming widely used in ...

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"This is the end, beautiful friend This is the end, my only friend, the end Of our elaborate plans, the end Of everything that stands, the end." - The Doors I am an obstetrician. My job, distilled to its essence is to be present and assist during the birthing of a new life. Labor has its inherent risks, but with credit to those who came before me, delivering a child has never been safer for ...

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Not once during my eight years of medical school and residency training was I ever asked the converse of the titular question, what was my wife’s opinion of my career choice. Not while scrubbed into a case on my surgery rotations, not in the middle of an overnight call in the neonatal intensive care unit and never once by an attending, fellow or co-resident. Even those who knew me best and ...

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I received these emails recently. The writer gave me permission to publish them. They have been edited for length, and some details have been changed to protect his anonymity.

I'm a third-year medical student at an allopathic state medical school. I've always wanted to do surgery. My problem is I failed USMLE Step 1 the first time and got a 207 on my second attempt. I hadn't failed anything else throughout first ...

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STAT_Logo The cadaver lab is a rite of passage in medical school — those few months early on when we dissect a human body to better understand our anatomy. It’s grotesque: peeling back skin, separating muscle sinews, and sawing through bone. It’s so emotionally jarring that young doctors in training often compartmentalize the experience, and this person before us ...

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Two sisters (religious order, not biological relation, as far as I know) live in one of the condos across from us. They are very nice, older ladies, warm and pleasant, always ready with a kind word and a smile as they see others in the complex come and go. They seem, at least on casual observation, to lead very busy lives. They rise early, heading out to do whatever it ...

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