"Was the delay in deciding to open influenced by the presence of an audience of 100 surgeons expecting to see a laparoscopic liver resection?" “In addition to his tumor, the patient had hepatitis and cirrhosis. Was he a good candidate? A major complication was inevitably to occur during a live broadcast.” As I predicted last year, it had to happen sooner or later. In that post, I wrote, “A major complication ...

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Mrs. Liu, who was only 58 years old, had metastatic ovarian cancer. Despite radical surgery and chemotherapy, her disease persisted. Worse yet, her PET scan from a few months ago revealed that she had carcinomatosis -- numerous deposits of cancer showered throughout her abdomen. This particular night, she starting having more nausea and couldn’t eat or drink anything without vomiting. So, she came to the ED. I was called into ...

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My last column told the stories of two patients from whom I learned important lessons about gratitude and compassion.  In this column, I share stories about patients who taught me critically important lessons about truly listening and the power of acceptance. Samantha -- or Sam, as she preferred to be called -- was a young surfer recovering from a serious car accident, and Paul a young father with cancer. ...

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Sagrado Corazon de Jesus hospital hallway As a doctor ready to finish my residency in anesthesiology, most people would assume I am thrilled to be at the finish line of this long, challenging and grueling process. While I am happy to move on and begin practicing on my own, I am also somewhat terrified of what lies ahead. It’s not caring for patients ...

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As a physician who is planning an early retirement, and is writing about the topic often, I find that retirement is frequently on my mind. It’s not difficult to articulate my desire for an early retirement. I crave the freedom and time with my family. I look forward to restful nights free from the threat of the loathsome pager. Another round of MOC is not for me, and I’m ready ...

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Sometimes when I’m working at the hospital overnight, I go for walks. Every now and then, things calm down in the operating room, and you can get some time to relax. Life moves at such a break-neck pace, especially within the world of hospitals, that taking a moment to reflect, is beneficial. Walking around a hospital at night is very different than during the day. During the day, it feels like ...

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“Hey, Doc!” I heard the patient say as I blazed by bed A. Bed A is the "door" bed. My patient was in bed B, the "window" bed. I had just met him; it was a new inpatient consult. For all the rules and regulations surrounding patient confidentiality, the curtains between beds do little to protect privacy since inevitably there will be audible conversations about symptoms, diagnosis, and management between patients and ...

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When I first met Mary, already in her forties, she had suffered throughout her life from an arteriovenous malformation of the face. As a result, from early childhood, she had endured the discomfort and humiliation that accompanies the stares of strangers. She came to me hoping I could improve her appearance. The abnormal connection between the arterial and venous halves of her circulatory system caused her cheek, jaw, and neck to ...

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I very distinctly remember March 16, 2015. I was the chief surgical resident on call for trauma at my busy urban training program. Like any other springtime trauma call I was steadily busy, running back and forth from penetrating and blunt trauma victims in the trauma bay to inpatients, OR cases, and attending rounds. The characteristically hectic flow of the day was interrupted when I got a call from my ...

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My friend Dawn and I recently attended an evening meeting of the Houston Society of Plastic Surgeons.  Since we were invited guests, and not plastic surgeons, we didn’t stop on the way into the lovely formal dining room to pick up our name badges because the organizers had not made them for us.  On the way out, however, we both noticed clear plastic perfectly formed oval objects sitting on the ...

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