This happened in my first couple years of practice, but I will never forget her. I stood at the doorway of the funeral home, a 26-year-old mother lying in the open casket was off to the side. Standing out among the crowd of mourners was a tall man holding his one-year-old daughter, her curly locks of hair bouncing as he moved. Soon after they were married, she became pregnant. They were a ...

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My voice recognition software insists on typing “when needed” when I say “PRN,” and the other day I saw an orthopedic note that said, “before meals joint.” I was sure that the straight-laced orthopedic surgeon did not intend to tell the world anything about anybody’s cannabis use. Instead, it was obvious he had spoken the words “AC joint,” meaning acromioclavicular (on top of the shoulder). But AC can also mean ...

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Everyone has their abscess story. Tales of pressurized pockets of pus abound. Trust me: However far-fetched they may seem, they’re not. I had one such experience last week in which a man came to me with a painful red swollen lump on his back. It was about 2 inches in diameter, angry and fluctuant (softened) and ready to be drained, which he pleaded with me to do. So I did. Although ...

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From time to time, friends, patients, and relatives ask my advice on participating in a medical experiment.  My response has been no.  More accurately, once I explain to them the realities of research, they don’t need to be persuaded.  They back away. Here’s the key point.   When an individual volunteers to join a research project, the medical study is not designed to benefit the individual patient.  This point is sorely misunderstood ...

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A few years ago, my colleagues and I started a non-profit called Women in Anesthesiology.  I started medical school late and had two children in residency (earning the delightful label of elderly primigravida or, if you prefer, geriatric pregnancy). My co-resident and I noticed few women in our department, and even fewer in leadership.  We charged forward, starting a local, then national group.  At the same time, a separate Facebook ...

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At first, you'll question reality. You will hear your own words, but they'll sound foreign — apart from you. The ground will still reassuringly push back against your toes when you walk out of the room, but you will wonder if they are your feet. Like in a movie, you will negotiate the world convincingly. Yet, you are an actor playing a part. It is not the real you. Be assured ...

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My entire childhood I wanted to become a doctor. When asked by adults what I wanted to be when I grew up, it was always the same answer. Never did I consider being a fireman or policeman or professional athlete. It was always the same answer: doctor. You see, my father was a small-town, general practice doctor who was somewhat of a legend in town because of his unfailing dedication ...

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"Help!" I yelled out of our open apartment door. I was seven years old, and my family had recently emigrated from Egypt to the U.S. We'd been feeling elated that week because, after months of interviews, my father had matched into a pediatric residency. That morning, he'd awoke feeling nauseated. My mother and sister went to buy some soothing food. I noticed that he'd vomited in the bathroom; now he was feeling ...

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The American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) estimates that the U.S. will have between 6,000 and 8,800 fewer OB/GYNs than needed by the year 2020.  Additionally, there is a possible shortage of 22,000 by the year 2050. What is being done about this problem?  Well, there are currently efforts to attempt to increase the number of residency positions.  There is also talk of having nurse midwives take a greater role.  While those are valid ...

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I am a pediatric resident working, like many residents, in a clinic that sees many of the most vulnerable children in our area. We see many refugees and immigrants coming through our clinic, including many from the countries named in President Trump’s immigration ban. These refugee children often suffer from afflictions we rarely see amongst our usual patient population: severe vitamin and nutritional deficiencies, intestinal parasites, malaria. They are often thin ...

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