How many people does it take to change a lightbulb? Five. One to hold the lightbulb, four to hold and turn the table the first guy is standing on. This was a mean joke towards people from a certain town in an area of the world I happened to live in for a few years. In some countries, a certain town or city takes ...

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The answer reflected off of her face, and I knew my news would be no surprise. Nonetheless, the lump in my throat grew as I hesitated to tell her the latest we found on her recent scans. The fact that this was a recurrence of a previous cancer and she dealt with this inhumanity in the past also did not make it any easier. It was then that Mrs. B spoke up, ...

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My last admission on my last call day of the year; only one patient stands between me and freedom. Freedom from the endless calls. Freedom from self-doubt and anxiety. Freedom. She sits propped up in the ER bed, her husband dutifully by her side with encyclopedic knowledge of her long medical history. She is visibly weakened by the daily fight, yet her smile remains radiantly defiant as if to announce: “I’m ...

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So, you’re a physician with a love of travel — awesome! One week of your salary allows you to travel anywhere in the world (coach, at least) — double awesome! But, as you are acutely aware, there is a catch … a big one. As a full time doc, how do you possibly get the time off to explore new cultures, hike/bike amazing trails and eat/drink around the globe? As physicians ...

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In response to recent national events, I have often reflected on privilege — what it means, and what I should do about it. Privilege is the freedom to have an advantage without the guilt of knowing that you have it, and not knowing that it is unfair. It is the freedom to say and do things that others cannot. Admittedly, I am male, which comes with certain privilege. I am ...

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An orthopedic surgeon and a neurosurgeon walk into a room … Unfortunately, this is not the start of a joke. While we would prefer to be sharing best practices and treating patients in our exam rooms, the fact is we’re spending more time than we’d like in a courtroom. Because our medical liability system is broken, orthopedic surgeons, neurosurgeons, OB-GYNs and other specialty physicians continue to find themselves on the receiving ...

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We are all panicked over student loan debt. The size of the loan can be worrisome — sometimes overwhelming. The average medical student debt is over $160,000, and it’s not unusual to owe $300,000 to $450,000! The compounded interest is growing every day and adding to your anxiety. Most early career physicians state the stress related to paying off these loans is their greatest emotional burden. Think about that — ...

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School’s out! This time of year is met with great expectation in children all over the country. However, another unwelcomed guest, hunger, comes along with the summer break. Over 30 million children qualify for the National School Lunch Program which provides free or low-cost meals to children daily during the school year. When classes are out over the summer months, the food availability lessens for many children as parents aren’t ...

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Two hours of administrative tasks for every hour with patients. A proliferation of non-physician administrators deciding how the day is going to run. Little in our training about how to cope with uncertainty and change. It’s no surprise that burnout rates are approaching 60 percent. Despite being so common, when we see a colleague struggling with physician burnout, we may not know what to say. Responding appropriately can bring someone ...

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Your brain is a three-pound hunk of biological tissue. And though it’s nothing more than a conglomeration of specialized cells, it generates the taste of cheesecake, the ecstasy of enchantment, and the misery of suffering. Amazing, right? I certainly think so, though I find myself among a shrinking minority. Whereas the eyes of our medical forefathers were turned toward the heavens in search of answers to seemingly unknowable questions -- ...

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