In medical school, I was taught to keep my distance. To remember that the patient is the one with the disease. I was told to protect my heart, to be a little cynical, a little deprecatory, to keep a separation between me and the patient. Because they can hurt you. For 18 years, I met people on what was arguably the worst day of their lives. You have cancer. You have ...

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Recently, the American College of Surgeons -- our profession's premier organization encompassing all surgical sub-specialties -- launched its updated website. Included in this website are online communities where surgeons from around the country and even further away, can connect. In my interpretation of these communities, surgeons can connect over shared subspecialty topics (e.g., colorectal surgery, general surgery, orthopedic surgery), shared clinical interests (e.g., ethics, geriatric surgery, surgical safety), or shared circumstances (e.g., surgeons practicing ...

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shutterstock_232948273 I’m late! I’m late! For a very important date! No time to say hello, goodbye! I’m late! I’m late! I’m late! - The White Rabbit, Disney’s Alice in Wonderland It is in the very words, "running late." It is not walking late, or strolling late, or even meandering late. It is always running late, the phrase itself active, implying urgency and speed, rush and anxiety. The distress, just like the White Rabbit. The ...

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shutterstock_127360631 I’ve been thinking about this post for awhile, and finally, am going to spill some “secrets” about me and my colleagues. We are in debt. I mean, real debt. We are in debt. I mean, real debt. It actually costs most of us almost 1 million dollars to become your doctor. It has taken us a long time to get here. Let’s do some ...

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Help, I need somebody! Help, not just anybody! Help, you know I need someone, help! - The Beatles We are all here on earth to help each other; what on earth the others are here for I don’t know.  - W. H. Auden “Help the doctor!” I’m sure most surgeons have heard this exasperated statement at some point in the operating room. It is said with that special mix of frustration, irritation, and sarcasm, usually when things aren’t going ...

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Last week, my best friend took the recertification exam in anesthesia, the so-called MOCA exam.  Like a good doobie, she paid her $2,100, paid her nanny extra so she could study, took a day off in which she missed the funeral of a friend’s husband, and took the test.  Wow, she must be the most awesome, most well-read, most skilled, most enthusiastic anesthesiologist ever now!  Well, she always was, but ...

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“Twilight! She has to have twilight,” insisted the adult daughter of my frail, 85-year-old patient. “She can’t have general anesthesia. She hasn’t been cleared for general anesthesia!” We were in the preoperative area of my hospital, where my patient -- brightly alert, with a colorful headband and bright red lipstick -- was about to undergo surgery. Her skin had broken down on both legs due to poor circulation in her veins, ...

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No one ever wants to meet me.  Well, at least inside of a hospital.  If you are meeting me in a hospital, it is likely because you have been stabbed, shot, assaulted, or in a car accident.  Although the only advice I have about avoiding the first three mechanisms of injury is to stay away from "two dudes" and not try to sell Bibles on the street at 2 a.m., I do ...

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I felt out of place. It wasn’t the dull yellow flickering fluorescence of the hospital lights greeting me well before dawn. It wasn’t the photos of world-renowned surgeons lining the hallways as if monitoring my every step, or that some of those same surgeons were close by rounding on patients. It wasn’t the sea of dark suits swarming around me vying for a prestigious residency position. It was something far ...

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american society of anesthesiologistsA guest column by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, exclusive to KevinMD.com. Before undergoing surgery, you should carefully discuss your medications with your surgeon and physician anesthesiologist. You may fare better during the operation and the early recovery phase if you continue required medications, but you might need to avoid some medications that could interfere with your anesthesia. Three ...

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