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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Five months in the NICU made the daily 20-mile drive to see our son at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle quite tiresome. He was born prematurely at 22 weeks and 6 days of gestation, and we felt uprooted, wondering if we would ever get him home.  Then we met some Alaskans in the waiting room, who told us stories about being hustled on to air ambulances when pre-term labor was ...

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Physicians have one of the highest rates of suicide of any profession: nearly twice the rate of the general population. 400 physicians commit suicide each year in the United States. The stress of being a doctor is constant and unrelenting. The majority of us are perfectionists with a strong work ethic: your classic Type A personality. Maybe we set ourselves up for failure and then cannot accept when it inevitably ...

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When I had my first baby, one of my friends coordinated a meal train where coworkers could sign up to bring our new family a dinner every other night. Those first few weeks of motherhood were such a chaotic blur that I do not even remember how many weeks this meal delivery went on for except to say that it was both long enough and over too quickly. There was ...

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We are born with arms wide open, and we die in much the same way.  It is that which we carry, in the time between, that defines us. The newborn, caught in the primordial stew of beginnings, is unable to recognize the difference between self and other.  She grasps and roots at inanimate objects with the same voracity she reaches for her mother.  It is a time of differentiation, a time ...

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Recently, former reality television star Kristin Cavallari released a potentially lethal recipe for homemade baby formula in her new lifestyle book, Balancing in Heels.  Cavallari, who rose to fame as high-schooler on MTV’s Laguna Beach, is attempting to rebrand herself as an all-organic Suzy homemaker and offering dangerous medical advice along the way. In her book, Cavallari goes against all conventional medical wisdom, advocating for feeding young babies a homemade concoction instead ...

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