A few months ago I wrote an article about a 28-year-old MBA who attempted to tell an experienced physician where to round first. The article was widely circulated and went a bit viral. Clearly, the scenario resonated with thousands of physicians across the country. It was interesting that afterward, I received many messages from various people who had read it. The majority of these were messages of support and ...

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It turns out that South Carolina is having a busy hurricane season. Recently, Charleston County was under a mandatory evacuation in anticipation of Hurricane Matthew. All I-26 lanes were converted into westbound traffic, gas stations were running low on fuel, and the local Wal-Mart was out of bottled water. It was T-minus 3 days to the landfall of Hurricane Matthew, with very variable predictions on the trajectory, speed, and strength. ...

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I stood at Jack’s bedside along with his wife and two friends as life support was withdrawn. He was 52 years old and had married his wife just seven months earlier. After years of living on the street, struggling with drug and alcohol addiction, he had managed to stay clean for almost a year. Then he experienced a heart attack, and his brain went without oxygen for at least 30 ...

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As physicians, we generally attempt to separate our personal lives from our work. Some of this comes from modeling behavior of others during training, some comes with further experiences in coping with the patients we encounter. I recently had the pleasure of caring for an elderly gentleman who was brought into the hospital by his loving wife and son. He had Parkinson disease, as well as dementia, and his family reported ...

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There are few worse ways to wake a person than with a needle stick in the arm to draw blood. If you have ever spent the night in a hospital, chances are the first thing that happened in the morning was a vampiric nurse or lab technician, following doctor’s orders, standing over your bed and greeting you with a needle and a set of vials. Most of us just grit our ...

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"Nursing students needed to work in the University Hospital. Good pay. Orientation." As a rising nursing school senior in the 1970s, I naïvely applied for the job above without getting the full details. No one mentioned that I'd be working in a psychiatric unit housing twenty-five aggressive, catatonic or schizophrenic patients, many of whom had been locked away for years. The entrance sign, which should have read "Locked Psych/Med/Surg Unit," said simply, ...

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I walked into a patient's room and noticed the hospital has supplied a fold up stool hung on the wall labeled "For Physicians." I shrug. I take it down the stool and open it up and seat it next to the patient's bed. I greet the patient, and we discuss how he feels and what all is transpiring and planned for the day. He feels cold, nervous, pain in his back, ...

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By now you've probably heard about the hospital that charged $39.35 for a woman who just had a cesarean section to hold her baby. The baby's father posted a copy of the bill on Reddit, and it drew over 11,800 comments. The story was also widely circulated on Twitter. At least one labor and delivery nurse on Reddit and a spokesperson for Utah Valley Hospital where the baby was born stated that ...

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Whenever he meets with a new patient, Harvey Chochinov likes to ask one important question: “What should I know about you as a person to help me take the best care of you that I can?” It’s a question every doctor should ask, says Chochinov, author of Dignity Therapy and director of the Manitoba Palliative Care Research Unit; a question he has found helps patient and doctor alike dial ...

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I recently watched the movie Sully. It was the first time I’d ever watched a movie on its actual release date. Knowing what a legendary actor Tom Hanks is, and what a fascinating and near-tragic story unfolded on January 15, 2009, I felt confident that my choice to venture out to the cinema on a beautiful Boston September evening, would be a good one. The movie sure didn’t disappoint. Brilliantly directed ...

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