0121_davidson-620x411 When we perceive any object of a familiar kind, much of what appears subjectively to be immediately given is really derived from past experience. - Bertrand Russell, The Analysis of Mind I’ve learned a few more things about Stephen Pasceri, the man who murdered a cardiovascular surgeon in Boston recently.  He had money troubles involving credit card debt.   He declared bankruptcy at one ...

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Whenever I am asked this question, I can't help but think of the punchline to a joke that was once supposed to be funny but would now be considered beyond the pale in all respects, so I won't repeat it. The punch line is: “Just lucky, I guess.” That's the short answer to why we gastroenterologists work in our field. Despite the distasteful aspect of human waste and the perverse ...

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I felt out of place. It wasn’t the dull yellow flickering fluorescence of the hospital lights greeting me well before dawn. It wasn’t the photos of world-renowned surgeons lining the hallways as if monitoring my every step, or that some of those same surgeons were close by rounding on patients. It wasn’t the sea of dark suits swarming around me vying for a prestigious residency position. It was something far ...

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My mother is a very smart woman.  I see it in the way she solves problems, creates complex crafts, and navigates hard conversations. She can't, however, add fractions. She was never very good at math, she says. "I was never very good at math" is a dirty phrase that garners much attention in my household.  My husband, a sixth-grade math intervention teacher, spends just over 170 days each year attempting to ...

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shutterstock_114648127 As physician burnout becomes more widespread, it’s time to think about the future. Do you have people asking you if you would be a doctor again? Not a week goes by without me being asked by either a medical student or a practicing physician: Do you recommend medicine to others? Or is physician burnout too rampant, too overwhelming, too all-consuming? That’s one of those super ...

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In the midst of seeing a patient, I got a call from another physician, my dad's new cardiologist. "Looks like he is going to need CABG (open heart surgery) since he has four major blockages." I was expecting this call, and this result, based on his history of diabetes and at least one month of chest pain. It was still shocking to hear. I walked back into the exam to continue the ...

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Self-Portrait-with-Dr

I recently went to Boston to see the Goya exhibit at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and was thrilled to see one of my favorite paintings by this artist: Self Portrait with Dr. Arrias. The painting was on loan from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts -- a ...

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shutterstock_138966065 There isn’t any such thing as an ordinary life.  - Lucy Maud Montgomery Heroes are ordinary people who make themselves extraordinary. - Gerard Way My colleague, Dr. Jesse Ehrenfeld, is currently on leave from his academic anesthesia practice as well as from his post as speaker of the house of delegates for the Massachusetts Medical Society to serve as Lt. Commander Jesse Ehrenfeld, combat anesthesiologist in Kandahar, ...

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I'm no stranger to dealing with the medical world and its billing systems. I'm a triple cancer survivor, had knee surgery in 2012 and now have ulcerative colitis. All told, I've had eleven surgeries and fourteen colonoscopies. Paperwork is practically my middle name. But the last twenty-four hours have been ridiculous. In that time, I've had three different encounters with healthcare billing -- each absurd in its own way, and each more ...

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How many times each week do we hear the phrase, "If you're not completely satisfied, we'll refund the purchase price -- no questions asked." This is more often a marketing ploy than a true money-back guarantee.  I have a sense that trying to obtain a promised refund on an item that dissatisfied us is about as easy and carefree as changing an airline ticket reservation or reaching a live human when ...

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