It’s not hard to do surgery, its hard to get to do surgery We were instructed not to knock, that the examiners would invite us in when they were ready. Even under the bright lights and unforgiving atmosphere of an operating room emergency, I couldn't recall being this nervous. Yet today, in the dimly lit hallway of a three-star hotel, my hands trembled without a bleeding patient or sharp instrument anywhere nearby. I glanced left ...

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The real problem is not whether machines think, but whether men do. - B. F. Skinner When I was a relatively junior member of the surgical faculty, an even more junior member came to my office and announced that a general surgeon and gynecologist in Georgia had performed gallbladder surgery with a laparoscope. “Stupid stunt,” I snorted, or something equally derisive and all-knowing. Some weeks or months later he returned to the topic, telling ...

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Brought to you by MedPage Today. 1. Robotics No Help in Cystectomy. A randomized trial comparing robotic with open cystectomy ended early after an interim analysis showed the minimally invasive approach did not reduce complications. 2. Medicare Reveals Hospital Charge Information. The Obama administration made public on Wednesday previously unpublished hospital charges for the 100 most common inpatient treatments in 2011, saying a ...

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Is a board certified surgeon a safer one? Am I safe surgeon, or merely a board certified one? I usually spend Tuesdays fixing elective hernias. But the other day I was asked to clear a c-spine, handle an unexpected gynecologic finding, manage a pediatric trauma, resuscitate a septic ICU patient, and opine on a neck dissection. No, I wasn’t in Africa or 1985; I was sitting in front of a computer ...

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As an employee of the ABIM Foundation, I’ve batted around the phrase “medical professionalism” for several years but it didn’t really hit home for me until I encountered it – and the lack thereof – as a patient. Over the past six months, I’ve logged a few miles in the frequent patient program. I underwent a 13-hour craniotomy to resect a meningioma and woke up from surgery with nerve ...

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New York City’s Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), which runs 11 hospitals in four of the five boroughs of New York, is negotiating a new deal with the union representing some 3,300 salaried physicians. The corporation wants to base MD pay raises on 13 quality indicators. The New York Times article that broke the story does not list all of the indicators but mentioned the following: how well patients ...

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Next in a continuing series. Inside the belly, everything is slippery. The peritoneum is a glistening layer of self-moistening plastic wrap, enveloping the surfaces of all the organs, and the inner aspect of the abdominal wall. Undisturbed, the intestines coil and slither, reptilian. Watching waves of peristalsis makes me smile: there's something always entertaining about those moving contractions, following one upon another, gurgling, surprisingly tight bands of tension moving ...

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As an intellectual female surgeon, I have always resented being pinned down by my gender. Throughout medical school, I refused to join “Women’s Societies”. I felt that these were excuses for disillusioned women to get together and complain that the reason they were not succeeding was their gender. I, on the other hand, did not feel limited by my gender nor did I hide it. Instead, I relished it. I ...

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My son has been accepted into medical school, we learned last week, and I must say I’m about as happy a mother and a physician as you could find anywhere.  For everything that’s wrong with the American healthcare system today, medicine is a wonderful profession and it’s still the greatest honor in the world for a patient to have faith in your skills and care. It will be interesting to see ...

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In 2010, a surgical scrub technician named Kristen Parker was sentenced to thirty years in federal prison after allegedly diverting fentanyl from operating rooms, injecting herself with the powerful intravenous narcotic, refilling the contaminated syringes with saline, and replacing them to be used on patients.  She was infected with hepatitis C, and her drug diversions infected over two dozen patients in the Denver area. In 2012, David Kwiatkowski, also positive for ...

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