Just a minute before, I had been in surgery checking on the status of a patient who was undergoing an exploratory laparotomy.  She had been doing OK, but deteriorated relatively quickly that afternoon while still in the hospital recuperating from an unrelated operation.  The anesthesiologist popped out of the room to tell me what the initial findings looked like.  It was not good.  That’s when I went to speak to ...

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I’m a first-year medical student who recently discovered the magnetic pull of surgery. As one might assume, on my first day scrubbing into the OR under a pediatric surgeon, I was beyond excited. The surgeon’s precision and expertise fascinated me, and the constant activity in the surgical suite was something I could definitely get used to. Adrenaline was as pervasive as anesthesia in the OR, and I knew I’d thrive there. However, ...

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Thanksgiving is this week, and I have a lot to be thankful for, both inside and out of medicine. Life isn't always easy as a resident, and to quote the lyrics of Journey, "And lovin' a [medicine] man, ain't always what it's supposed to be." What's a life in medicine mean to me? It's certainly not the glamorous. I'm on the back half of 30 years old. I've been a doctor for little over ...

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It was an interesting fortnight for the debate about the treatment of appendicitis. On November 1, David Agus, a medical oncologist, and director of the University Of Southern California's Center for Applied Molecular Medicine, had some thoughts about how appendicitis should be treated. He cited the Finnish randomized trial of antibiotics vs. surgery and said a 70 percent cure rate was good enough. In a brief article on the Fortune magazine website, ...

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You won’t find me at any haunted houses this weekend. I don’t need any costumed creeps jumping out at me when I least (or most) expect it. I’ve never been a huge fan of strobe lights, fog machines, bad makeup, or canned Vincent Price laughter. My day job is scary enough. Some like to say that anesthesia is 99 percent boredom and 1 percent terror. They’re half right. The 99 percent is rarely boring. ...

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I have a mentor who is quite gifted at getting me to break a sweat in the OR. No matter how well an operation is going, she’ll have me set my instruments down. “If this doesn’t work, what’s your plan B?” We discuss how variations in anatomy, damage to critical structures, or unanticipated pathology could change our operative plan. She challenges me to not only consider plan B, but plans ...

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Nearly a month before our national presidential election, a video surfaced online capturing a conversation between Presidential candidate Donald Trump and reporter Billy Bush. During this 2005 “private” conversation between the two, Trump lewdly brags to Bush about kissing and groping women without their consent. He is even heard boasting he can “get away” with this behavior because of his celebrity status. Trump has been heavily criticized for his words ...

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I am constantly in awe of the patients I want to treat. I cannot fathom their strength to embrace their identity while overcoming prejudice and discrimination. I do not know what it must be like to fear being your true self everyday. But I do know what it’s like to be told to keep my career interests quiet. When I was interviewing for residency, my goals of serving transgender ...

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Around 10 a.m., I had just finished seeing a patient in office when my pager went off: “Yellow Trauma -- 3 y.o. male: Alleged fall down 7 cement steps, suspected abuse.” Our team dropped everything and descended upon the emergency department in our hospital. By the time we had reached the patient, a dozen ER nurses and doctors had already surrounded his bed in the trauma bay. The patient had been intubated ...

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Liver transplantation for alcoholic liver disease has been controversial since the advent of the procedure. The perception that alcohol-related liver disease is self-inflicted combined with concerns of a high risk of recidivism to alcohol use, recurrent alcoholic liver disease, and non-compliance post-transplant has led a lack of support for transplantation for alcoholic patients in the public and among physicians. After initially avoiding transplants in this group of patients, the majority ...

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