Her voice cracked with strain. I could imagine the woman at the other end of the line shaking, overcome with remorse about the hospital where her husband had had esophageal surgery. Might he still be alive, she asked me, if they had chosen a different hospital? The couple had initially planned to have the procedure done at a well-known medical center, but when she went online to do her homework, she ...

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american society of anesthesiologistsA guest column by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, exclusive to KevinMD.com. The possibility of anesthetic neurotoxicity in infants and children -- the supposition that anesthesia may alter normal activity in the nervous system - was first suggested more than 15 years ago with findings of increased neuronal cell death in the developing brains of rodents ...

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I had a familiar conversation the other day with yet another female medical student. “I really loved surgery!” she said, “but I was concerned about the lifestyle, so I decided on ______.” Lifestyle — it turns out — almost always seems to be code for having a family. Maybe it’s just the kind of students who seek me out. I have yet to encounter someone concerned that a surgical career will hamper their ...

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I am forced to write anonymously because of gross neglect by my residency program regarding standard ACGME duty-hour rules. If my name were published, it would identify my program. As a PGY-2, I worked 100+ hours per week on average last year while taking primary call for my urology department. (Admittedly, the PGY-2 is the historic “worst year” for any urology resident.) On a quarterly basis (depending on manpower), we take ...

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It was Thanksgiving morning. My wife was standing in the living room when she received a text message from her father. Her face went pale, and her expression turned to one of anger and disbelief. She cursed. She cried. Her mother had complained of chest pain and stroke-like symptoms and was being rushed to the hospital by ambulance. Many hours went by with few answers and endless speculation. We had moved ...

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A popular meme is that the U.S. spends more on health care than other developed nations but has nothing to show for that spending. This is different from saying that the U.S. spends more, but achieves something, but the something it achieves is so little that it isn’t worth the public purse. The latter is difficult to assert because the asserter must then say how little is too little in ...

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The wrong body was cremated by the county coroner’s office in Los Angeles. Jorge Hernandez died of an overdose, and the body of another Jorge Hernandez, an indigent patient, scheduled for cremation, was also present in the morgue. The distraught family of overdose victim Jorge Hernandez had planned a funeral with a viewing and were shocked when they were told his body had been cremated by mistake because a morgue attendant ...

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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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