Early in my career, I learned that keeping my focus on patients would help me define the physician I wanted to be. One of my first offices was in a cell of a repurposed juvenile detention unit with cinder block walls painted pasty white. Occasionally, I had to apologize to my patients as I explained that the smell was sewage from the toilets backing up. In that cold, harsh room, ...

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To my dear patients, This has been a difficult time to be an American. I will never forget my walk through Central Park on the morning after the election; I have never felt New York so flat and somber. This election has brought out the worst in many. I have seen its ramifications in people’s health and fear that it may continue to have an impact. I want to express my ...

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Thanksgiving is this week, and I have a lot to be thankful for, both inside and out of medicine. Life isn't always easy as a resident, and to quote the lyrics of Journey, "And lovin' a [medicine] man, ain't always what it's supposed to be." What's a life in medicine mean to me? It's certainly not the glamorous. I'm on the back half of 30 years old. I've been a doctor for little over ...

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A few weeks ago, my employer sent me to a three-day out of town conference. I had mixed emotions. It would put a burden on me to work more than usual both before and after it, but I couldn’t help but look forward to the blissful, uninterrupted sleep I would get in a cozy, quiet hotel room. There was guilt when I realized that my wife would shoulder the full ...

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I was at work a few nights ago. We had had a patient death early in the morning before I got there, and the body was still in the room awaiting the JP’s arrival. The family was en route back with the children (he was only 57) and the body was not presentable. Blood, saliva, a gaping mouth and lividity with rigor were a bad combination for the kids to see. ...

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Beyonce wasn’t kidding when she wrote the song “Girls Run the World.”  We as women wear as many hats as some of us have shoes.  However, the cost of that can be grave if we never learn to create balance in our lives.  When I say balance I don’t mean the balancing act, I mean the act of giving back to ourselves.   Imagine that you have an energy bank account.  ...

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In the middle of a five-way thoroughfare intersection, with the early-morning sun's glare on my windshield, I hit the curb of the median and blew out my left front tire. Amid stopped traffic, I ran to collect my escaped hubcap, whose silver eye stared helplessly from among the automotive debris of previous accidents. A policeman blocked the lanes until I could pilot my car into the gas station on the other ...

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It is 6:08 p.m. on a Monday night, and I am sitting in an unlocked patient exam room, my uneaten lunch opened in front of me, clicking through a patient’s chart, all to the constant whir of my breast pump. I last breastfed my infant at 6 a.m. this morning, and the discomfort in my chest has only amplified as the 12th hour has gone by without time to express ...

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  It’s Wednesday, the day after the election. I spent the previous night clicking from one website to another, trying to find someone who was refuting what the others said was true. And when it became inevitable, I held my infant twin boys and cried. Now I’m in front of my exam room, walking in to see Mr. Bundy. I open the door to find him wearing a red hat embroidered with ...

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I had never heard the term “throughput” before a meeting at our hospital two years ago. It was used to discuss how the emergency department (ED) could yield greater profits by faster patient turnover. Coordinating various duties (including intake, admitting, and cleaning staff; lab and radiology; nurses and doctors) patients could be shuttled into and out of the ED earning the hospital $2 million more per year. This strategy was implemented ...

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