shutterstock_194789030 Dear drunk driver, Tonight, I am tired. Tired from lack of sleep, tired from the long hours, and tired from bearing witness to your destruction. Tonight, you caused an accident while under the influence of alcohol. And you are badly injured, requiring emergency surgery. Your liver is hard, cirrhotic, and unforgiving. Although I can get you through this first surgery, I know you will ...

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If you are a doctor, nurse, patient, or just someone interested in patient safety, you should read a five-part story called "The Overdose: Harm in a Wired Hospital" excerpted from a book The Digital Doctor by Dr. Robert Wachter. Dr. Wachter and the hospital are to be commended for publicizing this incident so others may learn from it. The hospital staff, the patient, and his mother, also deserve credit for allowing their ...

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shutterstock_122181037 JAMA published an opinion piece about the controversial issue of patients secretly recording their physicians during encounters.  We live  in the era of the smartphone.  Everyone has one -- soccer moms, teenagers, young kids who can't even read yet, elderly nursing home patients who can't safely feed themselves.  Everyone.  And these devices have amazing powers of audiovisual capability.  We all know this.  ...

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Anyone considering attending a Caribbean or any foreign medical school should do due diligence. An Internet search is step one. If the school does not list residency match statistics, that could be a red flag. It would not be easy to accomplish, but try to speak with some current students or recent graduates of any schools you are thinking about. If the school won't give you any names, use caution, and ...

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shutterstock_216555211 I am lucky enough, from time to time, to be invited to speak to young women who want to be surgeons when they "grow up." I always have a hard time striking a balance between what I should share that is positive and inspirational and what I should share that is a little harsh and uncomfortable. Once, I turned to my ...

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shutterstock_210504655 If the analogy between medical training and a fraternity is true, then medical students are the pledges. For many, the most grueling part of this pledge process is the third year surgery rotation where the modified Murphy’s Law is applicable almost daily: Anything a medical student can do wrong, a medical student will do wrong. In a fraternity, pledges can do no right. ...

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shutterstock_147929984 A few months ago, I was seeing an elderly man in the hospital with a sigmoid mass seen on his colonoscopy that day. He had presented to the hospital with fatigue and anemia, and the long meandering workup eventually zeroed in on this malignant appearing mass as the source. His daughter was in the room while I discussed the results, the ...

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I often get referrals from the town's free clinic.  As you would imagine, the patients often have a unique set of problems, coming as they do from the underserved segment of society. One such patient, Julia, was a fiftyish-year-old woman who had recently moved to town from California. She went to the free clinic (not really sure what the original complaint was) and ended up getting a physical exam that revealed ...

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shutterstock_121457908 Let's face it, residency is no picnic. A combination of on the job training and trial by fire, no physician who has gone through it and survived will ever forget the experience.  The emotions run from jubilation to sheer terror. It is inevitable that some of the people you interact with will leave a lasting impression. In the case of the ...

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How many times do we start out our day with the best of intentions? It’s probably most days, if you’re at all like me. Even when we’re going through a spell of negativity, we all try to pull it together for the sake of our patients, our staff, our families. A couple weeks ago, I was tempted to throw in the towel. It was one of those days when the last straw was ...

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