I met a man recently who had wandered about life dragging the rotting corpse of his arm barely attached to the rest of his body for over a year. His limb carried such a pungent malodor he stopped eating months ago because the noxious stench of his own dripping pus made him perpetually nauseous. A former handyman, he had jimmied up a poor-man’s sling with a tattered Hanes undershirt. It too ...

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The frenetic pace and chaos of working in an urban trauma center are addicting -- at least for a while. Interesting, unusual, and tragic patients test the mettle of even seasoned physicians. For some, the lure is too strong to step away. For others, the attraction of a quieter life and promise of a more sane existence is too powerful to resist. My story After training in one of the busiest level 1 ...

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Wellness. It’s all the rage these days as we try to manage our crazy work schedules while still maintaining balance in life. We have wellness committees, wellness workshops, wellness coaches, and wellness apps for our smartphones. So, then, what does it mean to be well? To the average person, and to the dictionary, to be well is to be “in good health” or “in a good or satisfactory way.” However, to those suffering ...

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(This letter was jointly written by members of the American Association of Women Emergency Physicians.) We are writing to condemn James Green’s letter “Equal Pay for Women has Consequences” in which he suggested women be paid less than men as a matter of “simple economics.” This letter is heavily laden with bias against both women and men. The assumption that men need to ...

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Medicine, what a noble profession.  As the keepers of human health and longevity, we are entrusted with a huge but solemn responsibility.  It’s an ancient artwork, passed through the generations from pre-antiquity, hand in hand from physician to physician.  The Hippocratic oath ensuring that we first “do no harm” and commit ourselves to the honorable calling.  We often hear “see one, teach one, do one” and so propagates the training ...

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Monday night, at Lincoln Center waiting for Beethoven’s Ninth to begin. Masses of glass spatially dividing David Geffen Hall from the Metropolitan Opera, are still allowing for the majestic Viennese crystal chandeliers next door to provide the necessary visual interruption between the two symphonic masterpieces, Beethoven’s Eight and Ninth. For me, the excitement about this particular event is deeply personal: Ode to Joy became part of my classmates’, my friends’ collective ...

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I’m humbled by the honor to practice medicine.  We have the opportunity to be frontline participants in an ever evolving cascade of events in the lives of others.  Our decisions, directions, and split second actions have the ability to unite families, sustain breath or literally a beating heart.  Although biased, I can’t think of many professions more fulfilling and honorable.  There are issues and concerns, but they pale in comparison ...

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I’m probably crazy. I ride my motor scooter to and from work at the hospital. Some consider it unsafe. Perhaps it is, but feeling the wind and rain, those unfiltered elements. And after 12 hours inside a controlled environment, it's too refreshing to pass up. So at 2 a.m. Friday night, I'm zooming (you always "zoom" on a scooter) through the industrial district after a tiring admitting shift. I see ...

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"Mom, that's a little unreasonable,” piped up my 9-year-old from the backseat as we drove by an ER billboard that prominently displayed an average wait time of four minutes. “That would be stressful, seeing everyone that fast.” Even my kids understand how absurd some of today's time metrics are. “Hospitals probably make more money showing shorter wait times on a billboard because people want to go there because it's faster,” ...

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The ER doc sounded genuinely concerned, which is never a good sign. “Sixty-year-old guy, no real medical history, dude is seriously hallucinating. Head imaging is negative. Can you come take a look at him?” I flitted through the chart. A car accident a few years ago that left him with chronic, poorly controlled migraines. Depression, on Prozac and well controlled. That was pretty much it. I grabbed my stethoscope and ...

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