As I sit in the exam room waiting for my first patient of the afternoon, the phone rings. It rings four more times before I realize that Amanda Ringwald, our eighty-year-old receptionist, hasn't come back from taking a rare lunch break. I pick up the phone and say, "VA Hospital. Marianna Crane." Oops, I'm not back at the VA anymore. "Senior Clinic," I quickly add. "Hello, my friend." The familiar voice makes my ...

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Saturday nights on my couch are usually late and peaceful. But my old friend, civil unrest, crept into my reprieve. Do I do one more "to-do task?" Or do I or continue my aimless net surfing? But it's not exactly aimless now. I'd just stumbled across an online article: "When You are the Friend of a Physician Suicide." The physician-author's narrative about his friend's death and the reader's posts, mostly from ...

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It’s that time of year again, the dreaded, yet exciting, residency application season. Year after year, we have learned that securing a residency position extends beyond competitive scores. It involves planning, networking and putting your best foot forward to prove you are the perfect “match” for a program. To avoid having shock and stress of an unexpected scramble, we wanted to share five tips, which extend beyond some of the ...

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There is a 4,300-strong grassroots movement known as “Save Our Hospital” gaining notoriety in Albert Lea, Minnesota. This story is symptomatic of the fact that hospital consolidation has slowly become a national pastime. With declining revenue under the Affordable Care Act, mergers increased by 70 percent, leaving small communities scrambling for health care access. The latest casualty in the “hospital-consolidation-for-sport” trend is Albert Lea, a small ...

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We tend to like threes. Hendriasis, in Greek — one through three, is a figure of speech used for emphasis in which three words are used to express one idea. For example: Veni vidi, vici. Location, location, location. Or one of the anthems of my youth — sex drugs and rock n' roll. Monty Hall had three doors on "Let’s Make a Deal." Even Uncle Junior, the patriarch in the “Sopranos,” ...

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“Someone call for a body bag.” These were words that I didn’t expect to hear on my final day of burn surgery at large metropolitan hospital. We had just planned on a routine burn excision and skin grafting. Our patient, Faith, was a seven-year-old girl with third-degree burns to 85 percent of her body from a house fire. We had been caring for her in the ICU for the past three ...

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That first paycheck as a new attending means so much more than what is direct-deposited into the bank account. The emotions of finishing medical school and training to finally seeing the fruits of your labor positively affect the bank account is something to be proud of. As a medical student (like myself) and resident, it is the light at the end of the tunnel. You’re probably asking yourself, “Why should ...

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I find myself spending close to an hour on the computer each morning at the hospital. I spend this time dutifully looking up vital signs, labs, recent radiology or pathology results as well as many other valuable pieces of information about each of my patients. I watch as my colleagues frantically record values, while making sure to point out important trends and gross abnormalities. When we round, there is always a ...

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"So, I'm getting routine labs on her." Wait, what? Statements like these often make the hair on the back of my neck stand up. One of our residents was seeing a healthy young woman for her "annual physical," seen just a few days after a routine postpartum visit with her OB/GYN after the uneventful birth of her third child two months ago. The resident was coming for his afternoon continuity clinic from an ...

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My intern gazed blankly at her notes from the day. “You OK?” I asked. Her face was quivering with restrained tears as she turned to me, “I don’t think I helped anyone today.” This was not the first time, nor would it be the last time, that I had heard those words from a resident physician. Medical training is no joy ride. How could it be? First, there is the intellectual challenge of ...

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