I was recently part of a panel aimed at helping physician trainees make the transition to becoming full-fledged independent practitioners, and a member of the panel said something that struck an important chord with the audience when he mentioned that new doctors are probably the most developmentally delayed professionals in society. When you think about the fact that for some of us, the first “real” job we have starts as ...

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My generation of physicians was much like yours. My were also “the best.” We’d risen to the top of every academic pyramid: middle school, high school, college. We could be anything we wanted to be. We chose medicine, partly for noble reasons. Our bodies were wondrous and we got to help people. But also for some not so noble reasons: the money was good, everyone would look up to us, and we’d ...

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Years ago, when I was less flexible, I took up Pilates. My instructor, Jim, a charming chap with an infectious laughter, was a 9/11 truther. I’d egg him on to hear about his conspiracy theories. Jim believed that 9/11 was concocted by Bush and Halliburton so that the U.S. could invade Iraq to capture their oil. He thought that United Flight 93 never took off. Whatever happened after 9/11 became ...

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Basing medical care on patient satisfaction is as smart as basing elementary education on child satisfaction. The patient who wants a cheeseburger while going to the OR shouldn't influence hospital reimbursement any more than the child who wants recess all day should influence school reimbursement. By tying health care funds to the opinions of patients, we are letting the kids run the school. Doctor-patient relationships are based on the trust that ...

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As a physician with a strong sense of calling, I always see myself working for each patient, regardless of who pays the bill. Following in the footsteps of role models like Hippocrates and Osler, how could I do anything else? Ted has been my patient for decades. He can’t seem to lose weight. John has admitted he doesn’t know how long he can keep doing the kind of work that has supported ...

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There is a basic communication gap between you and me. How could there not be? It's not what you expect. I say you have cancer, or heart failure, or emphysema. Full stop. A conversation ensues. This is not what I'm talking about. It's more like when I report to you a series of normal lab results, and at the end flippantly mention a slight elevation of the white blood cell count. ...

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“An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.” - Niels Bohr Five experienced, well-published, and widely respected head and neck cancer surgeons are sharing the dais at the national medical meeting to explore the topic “Can We Be Better?” The panel represents a spectrum of experts from around North America, and they have served as program leaders, department chairs, and ...

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Sometimes the minuscule moment is the most relevant; the least anticipated becomes the most profound.  Endless searches for wisdom and insight fade with each passing day, only to be shadowed by an unintentional conversation or event.  Wisdom is profound in the simple, while often hidden, complicated or forgotten in the complex or intentional.  This ironic phenomenon is as old as time, obvious in God's creations and man’s discoveries.   I’ve reached ...

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There was an article recently published in Forbes titled "Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Doctors." It was a well-written piece that outlined the multitude of reasons that many physicians have become disillusioned with a field they once felt a passionate draw to. The reasons listed in the article were accurate and included the loss of autonomy, mental exhaustion, and asymmetrical rewards. Many physicians feel ...

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On the eve of President Trump signing an executive order on immigration, I lay here awake, silently screaming for the Syrian children. What will become of the hundreds of children I met recently at the Zaatari camp in Jordan whose hopeful eyes searched my own for answers? Unable to return home because of a war that has stretched more than 5 years, where will they go if we turn our ...

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