Two months into my pediatric residency, while working on an overnight call, I encountered my first medical mistake. We, fortunately, had had a very good night, and all patients had remained stable. It was an hour before sign-out to the morning team, that I received a page. I quickly held my pager and dialed the 4-digit number, only to find a busy dial tone. I was a little surprised and ...

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As an attending and educator, I give a lecture to the residents each year about stroke syndromes.  In the lecture, I use mnemonics, pictures, and associations, so that the trainees can retain the information in non-traditional ways and have fun learning what could be otherwise dull material.  When I talk about the internal carotid artery stroke syndromes, I bring up the possibility of “the good, the bad and the ugly” ...

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I'm in the ICU and was just back from an incredible tropical vacation. Nine days of vegging out on the beach. The glistening ocean was just steps away from the five-star hotel I was staying in, where doormen greeted me with fruity daiquiris and a staff that couldn't wait to serve my every whim. I was in paradise, and far, far away from the reality of my day-to-day existence as an ...

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As a second-year family medicine resident, wife of a nurse and mother of an almost-two-year-old, the feeling of just not being enough has a suffocating hold on me some days. Non satis. Sounds like a pretty good gig when I talk with others outside the medical profession and friends from home. Training to be a doctor? Great. Happily married to an amazing man who's taking time off work to raise ...

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Approximately 300-400 physicians commit suicide annually. Given that a typical doctor has about 2,300 patients under his or her care, that means more than a million Americans will lose a physician to suicide this year. In a study of six medical schools, almost seven percent of students said they had thought of ending their lives in the last two weeks. In another recent study, 29 percent ...

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“Apocalyptic” was the word used by my fellow volunteers at the local church, a temporary shelter for displaced families on post-hurricane-landfall day 3. Although the flooded roads harboring similarly displaced alligators, fire ants, and snakes and the black flecks in the sky representing rescue helicopters were grossly removed from the many-eyed beasts of Revelations, I agreed with their assessment. In fact, the thousands of flooding victims stranded on roofs in ...

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This is by no means a scientific study, just some thoughts on what I have seen in my 22 years as a nurse and the loss of bedside nurses who hate it. I think the advent of nurses leaving the bedside will cause a greater crisis for the nursing profession. I obtained my ADN in 1995 after having worked as a computer operator for 16 or so years in the defense ...

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As a pediatrician, I have always known the value of my presence. At least, that is how I remember feeling during long nights in the hospital taking care of sick children, in the clinic or in any situation that required pediatric expertise. “How can I help?” I would always ask as I entered an exam room. Answering questions from wide-eyed parents about their foreign and frightening new bundle of joy, ...

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Which arrow causes you more pain, the first or the second? Fellow blogger Michelle at The Green Study recently posted a piece in which she distinguished between pain and suffering. It reminded me of a Buddhist teaching that inspires and humbles me. Blogger and curator extraordinaire Maria Popova quotes it in an article she wrote last year on a book by Tara ...

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This is a letter to everyone who has ever smiled, shrugged their shoulders, or nodded while either hesitantly or enthusiastically uttering the words, “Yes,” “Sure,” “OK,” “I guess so,” or, “Of course,” when a medical student has asked if he or she can talk to and examine you before your doctor comes in. We know that you are busy and that your time has value. We know that you have ...

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