It was my childhood dream to become an airline pilot. We lived near Heathrow airport in London, and I was a diligent plane spotter (please save the jokes). I had a book when I was nine years old that listed all civil aviation registrations, and I would mark them off as I spotted different planes through my binoculars, coming into land at the world’s busiest international airport. My flying memories ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 58-year-old man is evaluated in follow-up for hepatitis C-related cirrhosis that is complicated by nonbleeding small esophageal varices and ascites. His ascites has recently worsened and has required large-volume paracentesis three times per month. He has been on a low-salt diet, spironolactone, and furosemide. On physical examination, ...

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More than one million women experience pregnancy or infant loss every year in the U.S., yet many stay silent about their experiences. What if we were brave enough to break the silence? Empowered to declare, “My baby existed and mattered?” In 2011, I was a newly-minted pediatrician and finally living the life I dreamed of after so many years of hard work. My husband and I announced my ...

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It’s 3 a.m., and I’m wide awake.  I’m giddy with excitement and scared.  I am 41 years old and tomorrow feels like the first day of school all over again.  Only it isn’t.  Tomorrow is my first day back at the hospital where I work as a surgeon.  Tomorrow is also my first day back at work after chemotherapy. Two months ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  I underwent bilateral ...

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As Harvey’s devastation raged through Houston recently, the city's mayor was compelled to address rumors that those seeking aid could be deported. In the wake of a statewide ban on “sanctuary cities,” the mayor sought to reassure the Houston area's more than 500,000 undocumented immigrants that they would not be targeted for deportation at emergency shelters. Nevertheless, out of the disaster ...

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I was surprised when I felt my body stiffen as I became aware that an iPhone had just been fiercely thrown in my direction. “I’m calling security,” shouted a distant voice in the background. “I want the 10 mg oxycodone pills! I am in 10/10 pain!” The patient shouted this to me as he abruptly got up, violently launched his phone in my direction and stomped toward the exit of the ...

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The ice storm of 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia made headlines for weeks described as "snowpocalypse" and "snowmageddon.” It looked like something from a sci-fi movie — the end of the world, an alien invasion. It was the subject of social media memes and discourse for quite some time. In the midst of all that human frustration, there were ice-trapped cars, parents who struggled to reach children trapped at elementary schools. Physicians, ...

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I enter the corridor of my new workplace. I’m welcomed and introduced all around. For some reason, best known to her, the human resource lady took so much of my time that I am already pissed and looking angry. I don’t feel comfortable in this different setup, and I miss my old workplace. Every single thing about it, which previously used to get on my nerves, I miss. However, I succumb ...

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Albert Einstein once said, “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” No matter how advanced our artificial intelligence is and continues to evolve, it lacks the reproducibility of the powerful human instinct, sense of curiosity and constant questioning; especially when resulting in that “wow” moment of important scientific discoveries. Were it not for these powerful traits, medical science could not have evolved to ...

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How do I tell you who I am in a couple of paragraphs? Well, I was born in 1955, so that makes me 61 years old. My namesake is probably movie star and America's sweetheart Debbie Reynolds. My maternal grandfather was straight from Italy; my paternal grandfather was straight from Ireland. Both crossed the Atlantic and landed on Ellis Island in New York Harbor. It was the promised land. So, that means I ...

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