Medical training in the United States is a long and tedious process. It begins in college, when one must complete the mandatory prerequisite curriculum and take a medical entrance exam; your score on which is directly compared to other applicants, immediately labeling you as a competitive candidate or not. The process of applying requires the completion of multiple comprehensive applications, the compilation of countless hours of research, clinical experience, letters ...

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If the emergency room is the most expensive place to receive health care, then why are more patients visiting the ER than ever before? There are no local doctors’ offices that can charge $1,000 to put a Band-Aid on your finger or $8,000 to tell you that your abdominal pain is due to drinking too much coffee.  But, I don't think you would mind paying this premium if you were having ...

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Sometimes, the loudest sounds I hear in the emergency department are laughter. It may seem irresponsible. It may seem discordant. It may seem callous. To me, it is the sound of survival. It is the sound of resiliency. It is the sound of making it through the day. My father was at work when he suddenly became cold, clammy, and collapsed to the ground unresponsive. His staff did the right thing ...

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Dear emergency medicine physicians: You aren’t alone. This is very important for you to realize. I mean, I know you aren’t ‘alone.’ You have spouses and children, parents, siblings, neighbors, dogs and cats. That’s all good. You need them.  Also, every shift is chock-full of people and their maladies, which you heroically manage day in, day out. Patients are everywhere. Some are sick, and some are injured, and many are ...

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I was afraid.  Really, I was more anxious.  This wasn’t any of the typical new mother fears I had been warned about. If fact, I didn’t even see this one coming.  I knew that it would be tough going back to work 3 months after my first daughter was born.  I knew I would miss her terribly.  I knew I had to figure out a pumping schedule with my colleagues ...

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Most people are surprised to hear that the way doctors are recertified every ten years is through a multiple choice test. “Really?” they’ll say. “You take a multiple choice test? As a doctor?” Unfortunately, after all these years that's the most efficient way we can think of to evaluate professionals. But the method is so flawed. And your ability to answer questions on the multiple choice test isn't necessarily linked with ...

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Now that the dust has settled in the wake of America’s most recent mass shooting, the odds seem high that history will repeat itself, and our legislature will again fail to enact any meaningful reform. Like it or not, we as a country, through our elected representatives, have decided that we value unfettered access to deadly weapons over an individual’s right to feel safe in public spaces. Why this ...

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For many people with chronic disease, the toughest thing is convincing themselves they’re not crazy. This is especially true for those with an illness with no clear etiology. For millions of people around the world suffering from multiple sclerosis, lupus, fibromyalgia, chronic abdominal pain, ALS, rheumatoid arthritis, certain types of cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, and hundreds of other illnesses, just making it through the day is overwhelming. Not only do many of ...

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"Code fifty-two, emergency room.  Code fifty-two, emergency room," blared over the loud speaker in the hospital.  Simultaneously a chorus of beepers went off, like crickets on a sticky summer day. I glanced down at my pager that echoed the same message "CODE 52, EMERGENCY ROOM."  The same message flashed across the screen three more times as I ran quickly down the main hallway.  Code 52 meant trauma.  I was about to ...

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When our daughter Florence was born, we were shocked that a tiny, seven-pound beauty could turn our household (and our entire lives) upside down. Why was it so difficult to deal with one human being, when we often took care of a department full of ill patients? How could someone so cute induce a state of perpetual anxiety, forcing us to question every single action we took? It was disconcerting to ...

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