We have a problem in this country with how precious organs for transplant are allocated. The problem has been brewing for years, and is well recognized in the transplant community, the physicians and institutions that perform them. Two recent opinion pieces review the issue well: "Very Complicated Math — Reconfiguring Organ Allocation," and, "Transplantation Traffic -- Geography as Destiny for Transplant Candidates." Since PICUs such as mine are ...

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shutterstock_124837006 We recently had a session hosted by the medical education staff at our school where we were encouraged to share any difficult situations encountered in clerkship (submitted anonymously beforehand if that was preferred) and discussed them as a class. Issues regarding ageism, sexism and racism were brought up and addressed with the group. While I have not encountered any of the ...

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A front page entry in a recent issue of Anesthesiology News: "Physicians Versus CRNAs: Redefining Roles in the Changing Landscape of Health Care."  Sounds like a prize fight or a gang war: Crips vs. Bloods.  I immediately got my boxing gloves on, readying myself for another bout of vitriol and dislike thinly disguised as concerns for patient safety.  But the author, Michael DeCicca, a second-year anesthesia resident, surprised me. He writes: “Logically the ...

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Last year, I underwent a colectomy, a surgery that removed my entire colon. Afterwards, I had to wear a temporary waste-collecting pouch attached to my abdomen known as an ostomy. Until my next surgery, I was now an “ostomate.” One of the early side-effects of the surgery was that I was prone to bouts of severe dehydration that left me hospitalized for a few days. During one of my dehydration-related ...

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Atul Gawande is the preeminent physician-writer of this generation. His new book, Being Mortal, is a runaway bestseller, as have been his three prior books, Complications, Better, and The Checklist Manifesto. One of the joys of my recent sabbatical in Boston was the opportunity to spend some time with Atul, getting to see what an inspirational leader and superb mentor he is, along with being a warm and menschy human being. In my continued series of ...

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american society of anesthesiologists In a hushed surgical theater in Boston in 1846, anesthesia changed medicine forever. The first successful public demonstration of ether anesthesia allowed patients to undergo surgery they would otherwise not have been able to tolerate. Previously, patients who had been subjected to biting down on cloth or looking into a blue light could finally undergo surgery ...

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shutterstock_51888040 New York Post reporter Susan Edelman revealed the name of the unfortunate anesthesiologist allegedly present on August 28 at Yorkville Endoscopy, during the throat procedure that led to the death of comedian Joan Rivers. She is reported to be Renuka Reddy Bankulla, MD, 47, a board-certified anesthesiologist from New Rochelle, NY. Having her name made public will be a nightmare for Dr. Bankulla, as ...

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shutterstock_213079828 Question: We are currently in the last year of med school, and I’m wondering; what are some practical, everyday things we can do to keep our marriage strong? Especially with intern year coming up. Answer: Don’t confuse character with situation. When the demands of life become overwhelming, it is easy to attack your spouse’s personality when in reality it is the situation you are angry ...

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We are often our own worst critics. Whenever doctors feel down, or burned out in our roles as health care providers and healers, we look inward. We wonder what is wrong with us. What could we do differently? We wonder why other doctors don’t have this problem. The truth is, we do. We all do. And yes, sometimes the problem is within us. But other times, the problem is outside of us. Sometimes, it’s ...

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Old age is no place for sissies. -Bette Davis “I want the surgery today!” She started to cry. “I’m ninety-four years old. I’ll accept any risk. Just take this thing out!” She looked back and forth between the anesthesiologist and me. Her golf-ball sized tongue cancer had been growing over the past six months. It wasn’t changing from day-to-day, but it had increased over the course of the three weeks since we had ...

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