I don't remember all of the details. It was the summer of 1990, sometime in the first 3 months of internship. I spent those months on the 11th floor of the VA Lakeside Medical Center (now the vacant lot just east of the hospital). The VA was familiar territory for me. I spent 3 months there as a third year student, also on the 11th Floor. 11 East, to be ...

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I recently attended my 10-year medical school reunion class party, and I have to admit, I had a great time. From the beginning, my class was special. We had 104 amazing people who were truly inspired to make a difference. However, regardless of how talented and hard working you are, medical school is one of the most challenging things you will ever do in your life. During our class party, we ...

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Recently, I have been reflecting more about my musical journey as an organist over the past 15 years. It has been great to learn how to continue my medical training to the best of my ability while still trying to keep my musical interests alive. Despite the busyness of medical training, I have thankfully had opportunities to perform publicly, as well as meet other musicians. I began ...

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As the birth of our first child loomed on the horizon, I couldn’t help but worry.  As a first time mother and a pediatrician, I found the uncertainly coupled with too much knowledge of all manner of possible problems particularly unsettling. In addition to worrying about my baby’s health, I grew increasingly concerned about how I would handle the balancing act that all working mothers must perform.  Having put motherhood off in order to complete ...

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“I’ve been with my doctor for years and years,” an elderly man, voice hoarse but lilting with fondness for his caregiver, told a nurse in the primary care clinic where I was waiting to see a doctor. “He’s fantastic.” I was coming to the clinic for a follow-up appointment about an injury for which I’d been seen a few months prior, but neither the initial appointment nor this follow-up were with ...

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Where there is love there is life. - Mahatma Gandhi In this first month there is a lot I saw, learned and experienced.  Love tops the list. I became an expert in arterial punctures as I did 4 to 5 of them each day in the floors.  Each time I headed for an arterial puncture, many things automatically came to my mind: collect all of the required supplies, talk to and comfort ...

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Scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer once said, "There are children playing in the streets who could solve some of my top problems in physics, because they have modes of sensory perception that I lost long ago." Like physics, medicine has its share of problems, namely cost control. Like children, we must open our perception to the problem of cost control to consider other possibilities that better account for the issue than the theories ...

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There is much talk about cynicism in medicine, and I remember being confronted by it almost from the beginning. In fact, I still remember how shocked I was the first time I heard a provider describe a patient in a disparaging matter. We were responding to a 911 call regarding a woman in her 30s who was feeling short of breath. I remember being worried; she seemed too young to be ...

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There were many things I pictured myself doing as I endured four years of medical school: building relationships with my patients and their families, performing complicated procedures, sleeping with my shoes on so I could jump up at any moment when I was on call. One thing I didn’t imagine was that I would be learning about and becoming a part of the labor movement. My experience at UCSF ...

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As I begin another year teaching EKGs to our new residents, I find I am increasingly asking myself, "Where to teach?" I do not mean to imply a geographic sense to the word "where" (although this is difficult, too, as residents move from hospital to hospital in large health care systems like ours as they change rotations), but rather as more of a "level." What level do I teach our residents ...

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