My significant other is a physician working in Houston, and he missed Hurricane Harvey over the weekend, being out of town for a conference. The hospital sent out an S.O.S. asking faculty to do their best to come in. As the Houston airports continued to be closed Monday and Tuesday, he and his colleague, also a physician and a native of Houston, flew to another airport and drove a few ...

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Being a health care provider has always come with personal risk. We care for all patients, which includes patients agitated due to psychiatric issues, dementia, acute medical illness, alcohol or drug intoxication or just anger. Patients can be extremely volatile and lash out unexpectedly causing physical injury to their doctor, nurse or another provider. Besides the physical risk, patients can be emotionally and verbally abusive as well- and both types ...

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For American conservatives, Britain’s NHS is an antiquated Orwellian dystopia. For Brits, even those who don’t love the NHS, American conservatives are better suited to spaghetti westerns, such as Fistful of Dollars, than reality. The twain are unlikely to meet after the recent press surrounding Charlie Gard, the infant, now deceased, with a rare, fatal mitochondrial disorder in which mitochondrial DNA is depleted — mitochondrial depletion disorder (MDD). In this condition, ...

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“You’re a doctor; focus on being a doctor.” This piece of advice was recently given to me by my own father, in regards to my multiple ambitions outside of the medical field. He himself only recently retired from a long career as a surgeon, so his opinion is the result of years of experience. His advice got me thinking. What makes for career longevity in our field? Statistics show that more than half ...

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In the early epoch of human development, mankind learned to shape and sharpen wood, stone and metal objects to facilitate plunging them deep into other humans’ chests, abdomens, skulls and eyes in the ultimate form of conflict resolution. Over tens of thousands of years, other less pugilistic and more compassionate humans crudely — but later artfully — insinuated an increasingly sophisticated array of implements into the human corpus to cure diseases, ...

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One of the most difficult situations for a parent is one in which your child is sick. To be in a situation where you cannot control how the child responds to interventions is very challenging. Under normal circumstances, you follow your normal daily routine: up in the morning, breakfast, get dressed, off to school or daycare or activities for the day, a nap in the afternoon, pick up from school ...

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It’s a scenario that every doctor is familiar with. You are having a busy day and working full steam to get everyone better. You suddenly receive that unexpected message: “Mr. Johnson and his family are very upset and would like to speak with you now.” Most of the time, any physician’s initial reaction will be one of irritation, disappointment or frustration: “My goodness, I’m working so hard here, and we have ...

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On our first night in Dublin, my mother and I head straight to a pub. We sit at a table across the room from a cheerful woman who looks to be in her eighties. It doesn’t take her long to walk across the room and join us. She grasps her pint of beer and takes a long gulp. We learn that her name is Mary and she welcomes us with ...

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Approximately 18 months ago, I was asked to serve as the surgical director for operating room (OR) services at our children’s hospital. The opportunity has been an eye-opening experience in understanding how a hospital functions. ORs are like the economic engine room in a large ocean-going vessel. Without them functioning optimally, the boat stops moving, and is batted about by of waves economic disruption. If surgical admissions drop below a certain ...

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Doctors see firsthand the toll that today’s increasingly stressful society takes on patients: Engineers, office managers, teachers, you name it. Work demands have increased, as has multitasking. Pressures outside the workplace add additional stress. Often, parents chauffeuring children to multiple activities must also care for aging parents with increasing needs. Electronic devices, always in hand or close by, command our attention (due to work or personal needs, sometimes simultaneously). Finding a ...

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