Many Americans have never visited a predominantly Muslim country and may know relatively little about the faith of Islam. This is relevant in light of the Trump administration’s recent executive order attempting to reduce terrorist threats to the U.S. by halting the issuance of visas to travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries. Having returned this month from Sudan, one of the countries affected by the ban, I wish to ...

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Thirteen years ago, I received a call from the mother of a college freshman who was concerned because her son had been diagnosed with mononucleosis during finals week.  She felt something was not quite right and asked me for advice. “Trust your instinct, go get him, and bring him home.” She brought him to my clinic the following day.  He looked mildly ill.  His vitals were stable; he was fatigued, slightly dehydrated, ...

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Pain is usually considered a symptom, not a life-threatening medical problem. But for Army veteran Richard Dejarnette, 52, constant excruciating pain in his right leg made his life intolerable, and he believes he wouldn’t be alive today if a physician anesthesiologist at the VA West Los Angeles Medical Center hadn’t been there to help him. On December 14, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced the wise decision to keep physician anesthesiologists ...

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As an infectious diseases specialist married to a pediatrician, I am going to propose, in most unhumble fashion, that I have the ideal perspective to assess the worthiness of vaccines. So when Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a notorious anti-vaccine crusader, announced that he was under consideration to head a government commission on vaccine safety and scientific integrity, and is planning to step away from his environmental job to take that post, I ...

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Another year passed by, and I was going to write about my wishes for the New Year as a hospital doctor. But then, remembered that I did something very similar a couple of years ago. I went back and read over my wishes and found that they are identical to my wishes now! That’s not to say we haven’t made some great progress but — as anyone in health care ...

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I spent many sleepless nights in the months after my son’s autism diagnosis fretting whether I could have done something to prevent it. I recounted, in obsessive detail, the course of my pregnancy, the birth, and the two years of child-rearing that led to the moment when our pediatrician confirmed my fears -- and life as I’d known it tilted off its axis. In my spare waking hours, I pored ...

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You won't at first. But then, you will. It will start innocently. Probably even before medical school. You will have a morbid curiosity about passing ambulances and motor vehicle accidents. Your original empathy for the victim will disappear when you begin to think of them as patients ... as test cases. The commodification accelerates during the early years of medical school. Anatomy, pathology and physiology provide you a vocabulary to replace human ...

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So let’s step outside our traditional arguments when discussing the health care problem of gun violence in this country. We all know the entrenched opinions of both sides: The second amendment is inviolable vs. there are over 30,000 deaths from guns per year in this country, and why on earth does anyone need an assault weapon? But the city with the strictest gun laws, Chicago, has the most gun deaths, ...

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Every medical couple knows that the lifestyle and career choice brings with it adjustments and sacrifices. Physician spouses and partners often take on more housework and childcare to accommodate long working hours. Physicians may work unusual hours that lead to late-night arrivals, missed bedtime tuck-ins, and less face-to-face time. This can lead many couples to blame medicine for their struggling relationship. Take the example of a resident who has been working ...

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Cancer. The ominous word instantaneously triggers fear and anxiety. According to the American Cancer Society, cancer is the second most common cause of death in the United States, accounting for one in four deaths. Despite the attention cancer has garnered, an inequality exists. Patients without Internet access may not learn about possible therapeutic interventions. As we proceed with the “Moonshot” to better control cancer, we must assure that all patients ...

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It was 1 a.m. on a Sunday night on call, and we were waiting patiently for admissions in the resident workroom. We were four near-perfect strangers, yet we had one thing in common: our challenges we faced in maintaining relationships. Was it truly because of our shared profession of medicine or because of our similar personalities that led us into the field? We realized we struggled preserving our current relationships ...

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Dear future colleague, What a tremendous thing it is to know you are becoming a physician!  You are devoting your life and talents to the betterment of the health of your future patients, your local community, and our entire society.  You have responded to the call to serve in a profession that is hundreds of years old, steeped in tradition but vehemently progressive, always changing, and vowing to remain abreast of ...

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Burnout is a tragedy.  It terminates careers, friendships, marriages and sometimes lives, prematurely.  It threatens the well-being of individuals, families, patients, organizations and our society. The current media focus on the crisis of physician burnout is appropriate and timely, but the industry itself needs a reality check.  While burnout is experienced by the individual, it is the manifestation of a dysfunctional environment that only we as physicians and leaders in ...

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I recently gave a teaching workshop focused on giving feedback. Thrilled to share my passion for medical education, I excitedly prepared my slides, ready to discuss tools that can help make someone a more effective educator. Despite the evidence and the recommendations from well-known educators I presented, there was an attendee that was dubious. The inevitable question arose, “But, why?” Why, this person asked, take the time to give feedback when ...

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One of the most common questions that I receive from patients diagnosed with celiac disease is if they should take a probiotic. The only available treatment for celiac disease, an autoimmune disease characterized by destruction of the absorptive surface of the small intestine which develops in genetically compatible individuals, is a gluten free diet. However, patients and providers often question whether supplementation with probiotics may hasten the healing process. Probiotics are ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 68-year-old man is evaluated in the hospital for a right intertrochanteric fracture sustained in a mechanical fall. He reports right hip pain but no other symptoms. He has hypertension and type 2 diabetes mellitus and was in his usual state of health prior to the fall. He checks his blood glucose ...

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Ejiofor Ezekwe, Jr., PhD, is a medical student. Watch his compelling story on Black Men In White Coats.

In the interests of full disclosure, I acknowledge with delight that I have a non-time limited board certificate from the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA), issued before the year 2000. I can just say “no” to recertification. The more I learn about the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and its highly paid board members, the more disillusioned I’ve become. It’s easy to see why so many physicians today have concluded ...

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Our recent paper on differences in outcomes for Medicare patients cared for by male and female physicians created a stir. While the paper received broad coverage and mostly positive responses, there have also been quite a few critiques. There is no doubt that the study raises questions that need to be aired and discussed openly and honestly. Its limitations — which the paper highlights — are important. Given the temptation ...

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The day I got into medical school, my uncle said to me, “You are going to be a doctor!  We finally have a doctor in the family.  You are going to take care of your uncle in his old age.”  Other family members echoed the same sentiment.  First doctor in the family.  Now, we will all have free medical advice. As I progressed through medical school, then internship and residency, then ...

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