Medical oncologist, Dr. Ranjana Srivastava wrote on the subject on how doctors treat doctors may be medicine's secret shame in the Guardian back in February 2015. About a month later, vascular surgeon Dr. Gabrielle McMullin used a book launch speech to expose the problems of sexual harassment in the surgical profession.  She highlighted a story of where a neurosurgical trainee had refused sexual advances and subsequent to launching a formal complaint, ...

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In medical training, one of the main things that is emphasized is the importance of acting professionally. We encounter patients who have a particular idea of how doctors are supposed to act during the patient-physician encounter, and for the most part, I expected that they would want a doctor who is caring, but serious, at the same time. In those encounters, we are focusing on the health of patients, a very ...

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I walk into a tiny ER room and shut the glass door behind me. The smell is dizzying. I look down and see a frail man lying on a stretcher. A soiled bandage on his left leg is halfway unfurled. He is diaphoretic. He sleepily opens his eyes when I say his name. For me, I have barely begun my assessment, but the writing is on the wall. This man ...

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“Why aren’t you treating this patient?” Over the phone, the pediatrician’s voice crackled with disdain.  I had just spent the last 5 minutes explaining why I didn’t think surgery was necessary for a patient whom the pediatrician had referred to me (unwillingly, as she pointed out during our conversation -- the patient’s insurance wouldn’t cover visits to the much bigger competitor hospital that she normally referred to).  I remembered the little ...

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A Finnish group randomized patients with acute appendicitis to surgery and antibiotics and found that antibiotics were successful in 73 percent of patients. Depending on how this is framed, you can celebrate a 70  percent success or lament a 30 percent failure. Much of the debate in health care is a battle of framing.  The study has limitations. Finland is not just a land of the
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“A good surgeon has the eye of an eagle, the heart of a lion, and the hand of a woman …” – 15th century English proverb #ILookLikeASurgeon, a hashtag on Twitter and the movement it has inspired, has resonated deeply with me. I look like a surgeon. There is so much more behind this seemingly simple statement of fact. I am not just stating that I have excelled and I have achieved and ...

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The vast majority of physicians enter medicine with an inborn sense of compassion. Junior residents, however, are the logistical workhorses of teaching hospitals — their north star is efficiency and they are measured largely on their capacity to “get things done.” The consequence is often a slide towards unwitting apathy. I, like all residents, have witnessed this reality first-hand. By reflecting on my experiences, I hope to discover insights we ...

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A few months ago, I was wrapping up a lengthy consultation, when my patient pulled out three pages of an "ask your plastic surgeon" questions she’d found on Google. I had other patients waiting, so I was about to direct her to my staff, when she posed this question: “Would you do surgery on a member of your family?” What a strange must-ask question, I thought. “No,” I said aloud. “Not major ...

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shutterstock_175398194 american society of anesthesiologistsA guest column by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, exclusive to KevinMD.com. I often hear patients say, “I am not afraid of the surgery, just the anesthesia.” But should patients worry?   Physician anesthesiologists suffered a crisis in confidence in 1982 when the ABC television program 20/20 aired, “The Deep Sleep:  6,000 ...

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"To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved." - George MacDonald As we adjust her position on the surgical table, I spot some short, vertical scars on the front of her neck. The parallel slashes sit directly over her enlarged thyroid -- a goiter -- and appear to have been deliberately placed. There are two sets of scratches, one set on either side of the neck, nearly identical in length and evenly ...

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