He entered the hospital on Monday morning with a list of patients running through his mind. From the time he received a sign out of 22 patients from his colleague on Sunday evening, he was planning his workday. It was a ritual of his to pray and sleep early on Sunday night to prepare him for what lie ahead. What lied ahead was a busy week of inpatient medicine — ...

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My husband is a doctor. Similar to any other career, this is what he spends most of his time doing. It’s also our family’s livelihood — how we pay our mortgage, our bills and send our daughter to preschool. He went to through seven years of training after college, often working all night or even 24-plus hour calls. He’s had to miss family dinners, birthday parties, nights of putting our daughter ...

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I am nearing the end of my training at one of the top surgical fellowships in the country. I chose this fellowship not just for the name, but also because the surgeons all seemed like genuine and altruistically motivated individuals. It was two-thirds of the way through fellowship when I found myself in conversation with two male trainees. We were discussing the younger trainee and his girlfriend; he would be ...

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I have lived for some time with depression. Most of the time, it is nagging in the background, helped by exercise, family and friends. But a few times, despite my best efforts, it has gotten out of control. At the middle of my chief year in November, it came to a head. I was under tremendous pressure to apply for fellowship when I didn’t think it was what was best for ...

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Recently, a nurse at Children's Hospital Los Angeles noticed that comedian Jimmy Kimmel's newborn baby had a murmur and was cyanotic and brought it to the newborn intensive care unit for further evaluation. That triggered a rush of activity that led to a diagnosis of a congenital heart defect and heart valve problem and surgery to save the baby's life. Here's what the public doesn't understand: Nurses do this every day. ...

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I’ll be honest, when I first matriculated into medical school, I didn’t even know what a USMLE Step exam or clinical clerkship was. In fact, the first time I ever heard of them was from another applicant on the interview trail. I have always been a take-it-one-step-at-a-time type of person, but eventually, I would have to succumb to the pressure and ask upperclassmen about the exam. And what did they ...

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In the not-to-distant past, American health care was the gold standard. It offered job satisfaction and autonomy, was financially rewarding and was considered by many to be the most honorable profession. But as we all know, over the last two decades, increasing health care costs and demands and increasing competition for insurance contracts have changed the face of medicine. Metrics ranging from quality and safety (which are needed and were ...

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“Do you have sex with men, women or both?” This is the way that we were taught in medical school to ask a patient about their sexual history.  When we took our sample standardized patient exams, we were scored whether or not we asked this question.  In my understanding, this was supposed to be a non-judgmental, non-assuming way to elicit a sexual history. However, romantic partners generally come before sex (unless we ...

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“Can you make Moana sing,” my four-year-old daughter begs as she widens her dark brown eyes. (My husband insists those are my eyes.) Apparently, the Disney toy was involved in an accident. A button on the wrist that makes the doll loudly blurt out “See the line where the sky meets the sea!” has become separated from her plastic body. Pink wires stick out instead of forearm bones. I’m a doctor. ...

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If I have to hear, "There is always a third victim in these situations, don't forget to take care of yourself," one more time, I may go crazy. I wish people would be cognizant of the language they use. According to the dictionary, a victim is, "a person who suffers from a destructive or injurious action or agency." Don't call me a victim. I go home afterwards, completely broken by what just ...

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