My nurse practitioner was pleased to see me at my annual physical this year. “So how does it feel to be 20 pounds lighter?” “It feels terrible,” I replied. Allow me to explain. Weight has been an issue my entire life. Raised on a standard Midwest diet of complex carbohydrates and the best processed delicacies that government assistance could buy, I spent most of my childhood socially segregated by my peer group due ...

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I met “Samantha” during my first rotation as an intern. She was a strong-willed and optimistic lady who weighed about 100 pounds. She was dependent on a tube in her stomach for nutrition, and she appeared 10 or 15 years older than her age of 44 years. Pictures of her children were next to her bed. I asked her how we could help her. She cried. Her husband of 20 years ...

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During breakfast with my father over the holidays, a friend of his asked me what kind of doctor I am. “I’m a radiologist,” I answered. I was met with a puzzled expression and a reply of “Oh, I thought you were a doctor doctor.” I smiled and returned to my banana. Most radiologists, especially those like me who are not physician offspring, are faced with this sort of discourse at least once. ...

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I was recently invited to speak at a conference in what is likely the nicest hotel I have ever set foot in. Partially hidden by an array of palm trees and adjacent to a golf course, I could easily see why the conference rate was $350 per night. Before making my way to the conference room, I paused in the dining area to go over my slides one last time ...

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I have only been able to make it back to my hometown once a year for many years now, but I recall my father having a very friendly dog many years back, a black Labrador mix named Abby. She was well behaved, would stay in the yard if you let her outside, didn’t cause problems, and was great with children. Then about ten years ago, another dog was added to the ...

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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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Three men walk into a deli for lunch, take a number, and sit quietly until called. There are no prices on display, nor is the food visible. The first man, Ron, is called to the counter and states that he is hungry when asked what brings him in. He presents his food insurance credentials, and five minutes later, he walks out the door with a 12-inch gourmet sandwich, a side ...

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It was 1989. While alternating between NCAA basketball tournament games on broadcast television, reruns of an older version of the game show Wipeout on cable, and the 8-bit Nintendo game Top Gun, a child sat in a hospital bed in the middle of rural America wondering why he was there. All he knew was that he had a sharp pain in the left side of his chest and that couldn't ...

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I thought long and hard about the financial ramifications of medical school before I started. I already had a job in the medical field that I enjoyed, and I was happy with my level of compensation at the time. After running the numbers, I knew that the choice to pursue medicine would result in a delayed economic benefit that would take at least 15 years to recover, and only through ...

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I was working at the free clinic late in the first semester of my third year of medical school when I met a patient I will call Mary, the last patient to be seen for the evening. Mary had a fairly typical story among uninsured individuals. She was 26 years old and worked three jobs near minimum wage to make ends meet, none of which offered cost-sharing for health insurance. ...

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