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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Jim Morrison of the Doors once sang, "Petition the Lord with prayer ... You cannot petition the Lord with prayer." But we did that. We petitioned. On one side of the ICU, we had an 18-year-old girl, upper middle-class family, had everything. Beauty, brains, money, supportive parents, and she was off into this new bright world, choosing her college of choice. A simple surgery led to sepsis, severe sepsis that raged through ...

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OK, I’ll admit it. I’m a doctor “I work at a hospital.” Those words had left my mouth a hundred times before, and yet on this late summer day, I paused to actually think about them. Why I was saying them, what I really meant, and what I should have said instead. I was making conversation with someone I had just met. The inevitable question, “So, what do you do?” was asked, and ...

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We have all heard the grumblings regarding the 80-hour resident workweek.  This is due to the opinion that jobs after residency typically require hours that surpass 80 hours a week. But, why?  Why does medicine have to be this way? I have worked 100 plus hour weeks for over 20 years, and I am exhausted.  I am burned out and I can not catch up because of the sleep deprivation. This ...

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