voluntary The American Board of Medical Specialties says “board certification is a voluntary process, and one that is very different from medical licensure.” This is echoed by my board, the American Board of Pediatrics, who says, “Board certification is a voluntary process that goes above and beyond state licensing requirements for practicing medicine.” Over the past few years, the definition ...

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To the suicidal transgender teen I had the pleasure of meeting, I have been thinking about you a lot recently. I have been thinking about your struggle and how to support your transition into a healthy and happy adult who feels like the world is a safe place. I have been thinking about how to best help alleviate your fears about being ridiculed, discriminated against, bullied, threatened, abused, assaulted, or killed. I have been ...

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At 6 a.m. one morning, I was playing tennis at our local athletic club a few months ago.  Sam, working at the front desk came running down onto the courts.  “There is an emergency and a woman on the phone says she needs your help.” I will be honest; I panicked a little.  My husband was home asleep as were my four children.  My thoughts as I raced up two flights of stairs ...

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It's the beginning of October, it's Sunday, and it's been an uneventful shift thus far. However, in exactly seventy minutes, a patient that I've just seen -- one that I think has nothing more than an upset stomach -- will collapse and begin a fight for her life. I'm at the nursing station scribbling on a chart when a lanky man leans over me, a toddler in his arms. He's looking at the ...

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A reader writes: “Grunting baby syndrome. Is this really a thing? My 6-week-old son grunts, strains, and writhes from approximately 3 to 6 a.m. every night. Most of the time he sleeps through it. My GP suspects reflux but ranitidine has not helped. Also, he’s very happy/calm all day rarely fusses or cries. My Google searching came across grunting baby syndrome. Is that a real thing? When do babies grow out of ...

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There are over 400 pediatric intensive care units (PICUs) in the USA, as most recently estimated by the Society of Critical Care Medicine. These units vary widely in size, from 4 or 5 beds to fifty or more. The smaller units are generally found in community hospitals; the larger ones are usually in academic medical centers, often in designated children’s hospitals, of which there are 220. Given this size range, it ...

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I am a doctor daughter. I am exhausted. My emotions are bubbling close to the surface, and I fear that at any moment, someone will do or say something to me that will cause me to lose control, which I’m not allowed to do because I’m also a female physician in a leadership role, and our emotions must be held in check. I watched one of my mentors be memorialized last ...

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Medicine can wear down our hearts and souls.  My journey in pediatrics has been filled with many rewarding experiences but haunting ones as well, like this one from my third year of residency.  By that final year of training, I was no longer certain medicine was really the right choice for me.  I was struggling with the notion that after almost 11 years of education, the destination was not quite ...

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This is the first letter I’ve ever written to a political figure, and I pray that someone on your staff will bring this letter to your attention. I have been a physician for close to 30 years. I am a second-generation pediatrician struggling to keep an independent solo practice alive. Not one politician has addressed what I feel is the major threat to health care: the physician-patient relationship. Without this, ...

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I am going to confess that I am my children’s pediatrician.  I have given them every vaccination they have ever had and probably would not trust another provider to do it.   I endorse the vaccination schedule recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics; I believe it is safe and prevents disease.  I completed medical school and three years of pediatric training that helped shape this belief.  I have seen death ...

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