A commencement address delivered on August 5, 2017, to the 2017 class of anesthesiologist assistants (AAs), Emory University. Distinguished faculty, graduates, honored guests: It is a great pleasure and an honor to be here, and to congratulate all the graduates of the Emory University Class of 2017 on your tremendous accomplishment. Just think about all you have learned in the past two years. You’ve transformed yourselves into real anesthesia professionals, able to ...

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It’s 7 a.m. We sit down around a table in the physician's lounge to discuss and our patients.  I am a general and critical care surgeon.  Every fourth week I’m “on service” for the ICU.  This is my week. I was off over the weekend.  I’m refreshed and ready to go.  I’m excited.  I enjoy the challenge of taking care of critically ill patients. I get sign out from my partner. ...

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Today, I hugged a stranger. And I didn’t know his name. We had just operated on a young man, probably in his late teens.  He sustained multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and abdomen, and was in critical condition.  When he lost pulses in the trauma bay, we cut his chest open and spread his ribs.   His lifeless body laid there as we held his heart in the palm of our ...

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If you had told me I would be writing someday on women’s issues, I would have grabbed a pulse oximeter and placed it on your finger to check your oxygen levels. As a physician scientist, I have spent the majority of my career reading, studying and writing on clinical medicine. Then, something changed. For years, I have had the pleasure of working with and for some pretty phenomenal men in medicine. ...

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As a physician, I am often discouraged when I turn on the news and read about the state of health care in our country. I can see all 397 sides of the debate and some truth in all sides. The enormous cost of medicine is overwhelming to comprehend for patients and families and even to those of us in medicine. I think it is important to know all that goes into ...

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Cancer treatment delays are sometimes inevitable. Here is a story, though, that haunts me. Years ago, long before the Affordable Care Act, I was asked to evaluate a very pleasant man with hoarseness in a local free clinic. He struggled to make himself heard. "Things have been getting worse and worse," he said. "When did you start losing your voice?" I asked. "About six weeks ago," he responded. "When it started getting more ...

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There are two schools of thought about how to extubate patients at the conclusion of general anesthesia: Allow the patient to wake up with the endotracheal tube in place, gagging on the tube and flailing like a fish on a line, while someone behind the patient’s head bleats, “Open your eyes!  Take a deep breath!” Or: Remove the endotracheal tube while the patient is still sleeping peacefully, which results in the smooth emergence ...

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Recently, the Los Angeles Times broke a story that Dr. Puliafito, former Dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC, had been abusing drugs and keeping company with a group of younger individuals who engaged in drug use and illicit activity.  Much of this activity occurred while he was dean, and it is a shocking story: A 66 year-old titan of the field of ophthalmology, renowned for inventing ...

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"For what it's worth: it's never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There's no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. ...

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Travel is one of our passions. Spending time in unique places, trying new foods, and meeting different people is enjoyable and exciting. We are also passionate about our jobs as otolaryngologists. Humanitarian trips allow us to combine both of these loves. During these trips, I have repaired cleft lips/palates, removed cancers, reconstructed facial disfigurations and improved breathing and swallowing. Few things are more gratifying than being able to provide life-changing operations without ...

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