My wife and I married in our mid-thirties. Over the next five years, we had three sons. When our boys were young, we had no real desire to go anywhere or do anything unless it involved our family. Traveling and entertainment were a low priority unless it involved a Disney character, the Power Rangers and the like. My serious passions such as hunting and fishing were put on hold until ...

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Yesterday was the perfect storm. The combination of articles printed over the weeks seem to give me a morose outlook on the medical profession. Article 1: A specialist had reasoned the medical world was in shambles because "specialist" try to rule the world with unnecessary obscurity. His example was acid reflux and how addressing it was a failure in delivering simple remedies. My throat was bitter with betrayal. Article 2: An insurance company ...

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Fifteen minutes. This is the typical amount of time allotted for any single follow-up or acute type appointment in Primary Care. 30-minute spots are reserved for new or complicated appointments. Now, I just want that to sink in for a minute. I want everyone to sit down and think real hard for a moment, about how much they can get done in 15 minutes. How long does it take you to ...

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A long time ago, when I was interning in an emergency department, several ambulances arrived at once from the site of a bombing. They unloaded three victims plus a mass of assorted limbs. As I placed an endotracheal tube in one patient, the awfulness suddenly hit me: These people had probably been sitting peacefully at home only a half-hour earlier, and now they were a mass of gore. Overwhelmed, I ...

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Early retirement is a hot topic these days, particularly in the field of medicine. It is associated with the concept of financial independence, and together they are known by the acronym FIRE (financial independence and retiring early). In essence, FIRE means having enough saved that you can live off your investments, and no longer need to work for a salary. While FIRE is not for everyone, it is something my ...

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In a recently published JAMA meta-analysis, medical students were found to have a higher prevalence of suicidal ideation and depressive symptoms than the general population.   From the mental exhaustion that begins in medical school to the physical fatigue that peaks with residency, it is not shocking that medical trainees are suffering.  Current discussions have ignored one of the biggest hindrances for the ...

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As a physician who left clinical medicine because of burnout and as a writer, I’m drawn to stories of physicians whose professional and personal lives have improved after reasoned interventions. So my ears jumped to attention earlier this month when a colleague at a summit on physician burnout described the positive results his practice had achieved in reducing burnout. Read Pierce, MD, is interim director of the Hospital Medicine Group ...

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Lots of people write about how “doctors work so hard.” But let's look at it from an economics and value-creation perspective. I’m a neurosurgeon, so you know I do pretty well financially, but how much value am I adding to society? Here are a few examples: 1. A mail carrier couldn’t work because of a herniated lumbar disc. We'll figure he makes $50,000/year. I operated on him; he goes back to work. ...

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In honor of everyone graduating and moving on to the next step, let's talk about money. And by money — I mean debt because new doctors don't have any money! All we have are bills to pay! I am the one who does the finances in our household. It really happened by accident. My husband was deployed shortly after we got married, so all daily responsibilities were de facto handed off ...

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As doctors, we are good at lots of things — we are smart, efficient, hard-working, proficient, role models and leaders. Then why do so many of us place our own health and well-being after our jobs? As a physician, my most prevalent discussions with patients always boil down to very simple recommendations: eat right, exercise, sleep and manage your stress. Lifestyle changes are really the key to solving many of the ...

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