When I started out in practice, I worked at one of the few hospitals in the area that accepted Jehovah Witness patients. Their beliefs prohibit them from accepting blood transfusions or blood products. Many hospitals are concerned about the liability of allowing a patient who refuses necessary blood products to die. For this reason, these institutions are not welcoming to Jehovah Witnesses. This is of special concern in surgical specialties ...

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This happened in my first couple years of practice, but I will never forget her. I stood at the doorway of the funeral home, a 26-year-old mother lying in the open casket was off to the side. Standing out among the crowd of mourners was a tall man holding his one-year-old daughter, her curly locks of hair bouncing as he moved. Soon after they were married, she became pregnant. They were a ...

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Despite living in Michigan for over 30 years, my cold hands disclose my Southern California origin. As a physician, these cold hands have touched many lives. For my pregnant patients, they usually sigh with relief as I touch their bellies, the coolness of my hands offering them respite from the inferno growing inside them. They smile when I tell them I can feel their baby squirming and how it is ...

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As a gynecologist, I not only witness new love but have to regularly ask about it because it can impact my patient’s health. They may need birth control, STI screening and counseling, or pre-conceptual counseling. Then there is one of my favorite group of patients: those that are “older” and entering into new relationships either for the first time or following a divorce or loss of a spouse. The balance ...

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The women’s health has a history of being a volatile sector, especially of late. It is an area of medicine where politicians think they can have access to intimate and confidential patient-physician relationships. This is unacceptable and an invasion of privacy. Voluntary termination of pregnancy. Voluntary interruption of pregnancy. These are the medical terms for what the layperson thinks of as an abortion. Missed abortion. Threatened abortion. Incomplete abortion. Spontaneous abortion. Septic ...

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My car says it’s 2:10 a.m., 17 degrees. I just left my warm bed — and snoring husband — threw on scrubs and my contact lenses and quickly brushed my teeth and hair. I’m shivering as the car warms up and I hear the crunch of the snow as the car rolls out of the driveway. I’m the first one out on the fresh snow, and it glistens in the ...

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On a busy day in the office, a patient was added to my schedule for “bleeding, early pregnancy.” She was one of my partner’s patients, but he was not in the office that day. We talked for a minute, then I examined her and did an ultrasound. As I expected, she was in the process of a miscarriage. Unfortunately, I, who wasn’t her regular doctor, had to give her this ...

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The other day, the last two appointments on my schedule were "unable to get pregnant, consult" and "pregnant, desires a termination." Even my medical assistant commented about the timing of those last two patients. Although these are not unusual issues for patients to see me about, the fact I was seeing them back to back, haunted me all day. Why? Why did life deal them these cards? Did fate make ...

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Food. Such a universal sign of love. For me, a gift of homemade food is the ultimate gift of love. So when a patient brings me food, not like a box of chocolates, but something they have spent time considering and preparing, I know I have touched them in a unique and special way. These are a few of those special stories. Chex mix Every December I see her for her yearly ...

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We chat about the day, as I use a sharp knife to cut into her. We joke about my kids, as the blood is spurting. We reminisce about our friendship, as I rip open her tissue. For most surgeons, their patients are asleep as they perform their surgery. In obstetrics, however, we want our patients awake, not only to witness their baby's arrival, but also because it is safer. When I ...

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