I was an overachieving, well-rounded and sagacious undergraduate student. I majored in psychology, minored in biology and was an active member of the Psi Chi honor society. I was drawn to the study of psychology, and fascinated by the complexities of mental illness. I became certified as a research assistant and spent many hours with severely depressed individuals, who had become crippled by their illness. I was intensely intrigued by ...

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shutterstock_233804005 The outcry over antipsychotics has ranged far and wide.  Everyone from governmental agencies to senior advocacy organizations have pointed to the abysmal data.  Antipsychotics have a negative impact on morbidity and mortality.  They say we are chemically restraining those who are too fragile to stick up for themselves.  They say we are sedating instead of treating. And I disagree wholeheartedly. I manage a ...

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shutterstock_223709917 I’m a physician, and I’m adrift. I am pretty much lost at sea. I’ve often thought of writing this column, but afraid I’d be recognized, I’ve hesitated for years. Even now, I’ll most likely remain anonymous, because I’m in a vulnerable position. Let me preface my remarks with the reassurance that I’m not a bad person. I developed dependence on opioids several ...

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As a patient, I would like a primary care visit that is pleasant, comprehensive, convenient, and efficient. As a future practitioner, I hope for a visit that is unhurried, educational, efficient, and holistic. We may have through all these years grown accustomed to the status quo -- on both ends -- that is, we have come to expect the 45-minute wait in the atrium prior to our beckoning by the ...

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Medicine is an area of study that is bursting with countless gut-wrenching ethical debates. Throughout our medical training, even in some medical school interviews, we are asked and tested on how we would personally navigate the delicate tightrope of right and wrong. Trying to maintain equilibrium between our personal beliefs and those that are best for our patients can often be difficult. On one side of our acrobatic act, we are ...

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shutterstock_127842695 Over the course of pre-professional and professional education, my colleagues and I have had numerous moments of self-doubt.  Would the next organic chemistry exam eliminate my 3.99 GPA?  Would the MCAT decide what medical schools would immediately ignore me without ever meeting me?  Would the sheer volume of material weed out the persons sitting next to me in medical school or ...

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To the staff overseeing my medically-complex child, My child has been in this world much longer than you expected; thus I’ve been in this relationship with you much longer than I expected. If I could break up with you and find someone new, believe me I would (I’m sure so would you some days). But that isn’t possible; we’re in a dysfunctional relationship. If we recognize this together and just come to an ...

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Three years ago I received some of the best news of my life -- that I have dopa-responsive dystonia. (Yes, a neuromuscular disorder was welcome news.) Painful, life-interrupting muscle contractions had made the dystonia diagnosis likely several years before, despite poor response to standard treatments, and I was fighting through graduate school: trying to compensate for medication-induced memory problems, increasing need to work from bed, and a disappearing social life. ...

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shutterstock_60295858 I will always remember my awkward medical school interviews. Filled with bioethical scenarios and questions to measure my ability to prevent an impaired physician from practicing, the interviewers seemed hardly interested in my prior career achievements or humble beginnings. Such discussions carried on through the first two years of medical school. They never taught us how health care reimbursement works or why ...

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My department had a problem that harmed patients on at least a weekly basis. It was well-known, but it seemed there was no viable solution.

My supervising attending was in his seventies and highly regarded at my hospital, having held powerful administrative positions for decades. About ten or so years ago, he stepped down from running the hospital, and ...

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