The patient arrived in the pediatric intensive care unit one summer early in my medical training. The weather was still warm, although the unforgiving heat from earlier in the season had mercifully passed. The whole thing had been an accident: The child, a toddler, had been left in the car outside her father’s office, discovered several hours later when the father returned to retrieve a document from the back seat. ...

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This story has been on my mind for many years, but each time I have sat down to write it, the words would not fall into place. The other day, a family mentioned having their “rainbow baby” referring to a child born after a tragedy.  To me, rainbows symbolize that even after the roughest storm, things can get better.  To see a rainbow, there must be moisture, like falling rain, in ...

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If someone had told me even ten years ago that I would retire young and become an itinerant radiation oncologist, I would have thought he had lost his mind.  As the career medical director of community-based cancer centers, I was used to running the show.  And as the saying goes, I ran a “tight ship.”  Consultations were performed and documented in a timely fashion, day of the request if the ...

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When Arnold Schwarzenegger was governor, he decided that you and I don’t need to have physicians in charge of our anesthesia care, and he signed a letter exempting California from that federal requirement. Luckily most California hospitals didn’t agree, and they ignored his decision. When he needed open-heart surgery to replace a failing heart valve, though, Governor Schwarzenegger saw things differently. He chose Steven Haddy, MD, the chief of cardiovascular anesthesiology ...

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On the morning of the tragic mass shooting in Orlando, a tweet by CNN stated, “The White House waived HIPAA regulations so that hospitals could talk with family members of shooting victims, says Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.” Many, including me, retweeted this thinking that it was probably unprecedented. Later that day, several Twitter followers informed me that HIPAA had been waived during Hurricane Katrina. Despite rumors to the contrary about 9/11, Katrina ...

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There’s a lot of fear and anxiety about the job market with recent medical school graduates. The 2008 crisis almost collapsed the housing market and many of our large banks, prized institutions, and beacons of financial stability, dissolved overnight.  If you combine these events with the financial burden of student loans that many graduates have, it’s easy to see why many medical students are somewhat skeptical of the job market. In ...

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No couple ever expects to visit a fertility doctor. However, 10 to 15 percent of couples suffer from infertility. This means that approximately 1 out of every 8 people you know are struggling to conceive and seeking help to grow their family. I can only imagine how hard it must be for a patient struggling with infertility to walk into clinic and see that their infertility doctor is also pregnant. ...

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I glanced at my watch before responding to the pager. It was almost 2 a.m., with the end of my 24-hour call as the in-house surgery resident still dangerously far away. The page was for a new consult from the medical service, on a patient with necrotizing pancreatitis. Apparently, she had been in the hospital for over a month, in and out of the ICU with multiple drain placements, and ...

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During a busy ED shift, my computer signaled the complaint and location of my next patient: a woman in bed 10 flagged with “GI bleed.”  I almost bolted to bed 10 to ensure this patient was stable, but then noticed orders pending, so my urgency eased. “I see you already saw the patient in 10,” I began, addressing the triage physician. “Yeah, she’s all set,” he replied, without turning from his computer. ...

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As a pediatrician I come across lists of “what to ask the pediatrician” and routinely meet with inquiring parents who are in search of a pediatrician.  Occasionally they come with a list of questions but most often they are not sure what they should be asking.  I always tell my new parents that the interview visits can tell you if I’m a normal person and if you can get booked ...

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