“He is the best physician who is the most ingenious inspirer of hope.” - Samuel Taylor Coleridge I was a third-year medical student on a Sunday morning when the reality of what I had chosen as my life career truly hit me in the gut. At that moment, I realized how intimate the practice of medicine was and that I would have to bring not only my brain and skills to work ...

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This is the patient's eight admission over the course of two weeks. The patient is a heroin abuser and has bacteremia and endocarditis. Their heart valve is failing and they are in and out of congestive heart failure. Every day, dozens of medical professionals converge on the patient to give treatment and advice. And every day after hearing that advice, the patient leaves the hospital against medical advice and goes ...

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Today, I hugged a stranger. And I didn’t know his name. We had just operated on a young man, probably in his late teens.  He sustained multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and abdomen, and was in critical condition.  When he lost pulses in the trauma bay, we cut his chest open and spread his ribs.   His lifeless body laid there as we held his heart in the palm of our ...

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An excerpt from The Other Side of the Bed: What Patients Go Through and What Doctors Can Learn. As soon as I’d opened my mouth, I regretted it. In the hospital, it’s bad luck to say “It looks quiet,” or anything to that effect. At the sound of those words, ...

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A patient of mine recently came to see me in a follow-up appointment after an emergency department visit. He had been working out at the gym, on a hot day, after he had skipped breakfast, and after his usual routine he felt extremely lightheaded. Everyone told him he looked "white as a sheet", and a physician who was at the gym told him he must go to the emergency department. In ...

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“Can you hear it?” she asked with a smile. The thin, pleasant lady seemed as struck by her murmur as I was. She was calm, perhaps amused by the clumsy second-year medical student listening to her heart. “Yes, yes I can,” I replied, barely concealing my excitement. We had just learned about the heart sounds in class. This was my first time hearing anything abnormal on a patient, though it was ...

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I feel privileged to be practicing medicine. Many people consider doctor careers and imagine how great it may be. Is it the right thing for you? Yes there are days of frustration, exhaustion, and utter defeat, but at the end of the day I home and know that I helped at least one person if not two from the 16 I meet. The fact that I alleviated one individual’s anxiety or ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 60-year-old woman is evaluated for a 3-week history of substernal chest pain. The pain is dull, nonradiating, and unrelated to activities. Sometimes the pain is worse after eating spicy foods and can be occasionally triggered by emotional stress. She has not had shortness of breath or ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 28-year-old pregnant woman is evaluated for a cardiac murmur identified on examination by her obstetrician. She is asymptomatic. She is in her 24th week of pregnancy. Medical history is unremarkable, and there is no family history of heart disease. She takes prenatal vitamins and no other ...

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"Annie, Annie, are you OK?" Many of us learned to resuscitate a person who has collapsed using Annie, the mannequin based on a death mask of a young woman who had drowned in the Seine in Paris in the 19th century. Bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) has become increasingly accepted and expected as the years have passed, and we have even begun to make affordable machines to deliver a life-saving shock (defibrillation) ...

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