Despite the furious pace of the emergency department, he sat within his private bubble of calm on a hallway cot situated just outside the entrance of room 31. He sat upright, facing the opposite direction from which I approached, with the thinning brown hair of his broad occiput splayed across the upper edge of his pillow. From this approach, I paused for several seconds to appreciate this serene, surreal view ...

Read more...

Tonight I will sleep in bed, all night, with my wife. The hours will pass in pleasant dreams, wrapped in a blanket, warm beside my darling. We are on vacation, and our teenage children will be sleeping in their beds as well; after they have watched enough bizarre videos on YouTube and eaten all the chips in the house. But as I sleep, many of you, my dear colleagues, will be ...

Read more...

As the youngest member of a family of doctors, it was not uncommon during my childhood to spend summers at my father's private practice. I fondly remember greeting the familiar office staff as I recklessly ran amok among an endless array of rickety cabinets containing an untold amount of aging, yellowed paper charts. My dad's patients would tousle my hair like family and his partners would always leave an insurmountable ...

Read more...

It’s been thirty years since Dr. Pete shook my hand on graduation day and slapped my back, his gravelly voice mumbling a wisecrack that couldn’t quite hide his emotions. I was the first foreign medical school graduate in our small residency program and he had trusted me, just as I had trusted him, through three years of hard work and many challenges. Our residency program was only a few years old, and my ...

Read more...

shutterstock_149644169 Everything in health care seems to take a long time. Remember the last time you tried to schedule a routine doctor’s appointment? More than likely, the receptionist told you the doctor couldn’t see you for another week or even another month. Perhaps you’ve had the experience of a loved one being hospitalized on a Friday night for a major (but not life-threatening) problem, ...

Read more...

Dostoevsky's Brother's Karamazov cleverly spoofs the careless inexpertness of what often passes for expert legal testimony. Three medical experts are called to testify whether Dmitri Karamazov was sane or insane when committing the alleged murder of his father. Naturally, the experts all disagree, with each completely convinced of the incontrovertible truth of his own opinion. Expert 1 finds Dmitri insane because he looked to the left as he entered the courtroom. Expert ...

Read more...

We are often our own worst critics. Whenever doctors feel down, or burned out in our roles as health care providers and healers, we look inward. We wonder what is wrong with us. What could we do differently? We wonder why other doctors don’t have this problem. The truth is, we do. We all do. And yes, sometimes the problem is within us. But other times, the problem is outside of us. Sometimes, it’s ...

Read more...

shutterstock_158365127 I can recall, though it seems quite long ago, my first basic life support (BLS) course as a first-year medical student. The instructor dutifully demonstrated on a mannequin to eager young medical students what to do if someone is found unresponsive. Shaking the unmoving mannequin she said loudly,  “Sir, are you OK?” Then hearing no response she showed us how to ...

Read more...

shutterstock_190924184 I’ve wanted to be a physician for as long as I can remember.  As a teen, the choice to become a doctor seemed to perfectly meld my affinity for science, academics and helping others.  Better yet, pediatrics offered the ability to work with families and children of all ages and developmental abilities. For fifteen years, I lived, breathed, and worked toward my ...

Read more...

shutterstock_217177708 Radiologists discussing test results with patients, a subject that has been lurking under the radar for a while, recently came to light because of an article in the New York Times. The idea is that patient anxiety while waiting to find out a test result could be alleviated by an immediate discussion with a radiologist. That would be very nice, but there are ...

Read more...

Most Popular