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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shutterstock_192888809 The phone rang one evening and a pleasant voice was on the other end.  "Hi, my name is nurse so-and-so and I'm the educational coordinator for your upcoming knee surgery. Do you want to go to the patient orientation session?" she asked.  "It's very helpful to go over things before and after  your surgery and to answer any questions you might ...

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shutterstock_69679648 I was a fourth-year surgery resident, on the transplant team. It was a difficult rotation, because the doctor who ran it was sexist and got along better with you if you flirted with him. He made innumerable sexual wisecracks in the OR while we were working, and preferred to round with his arm around me as he made further innuendoes. I wasn’t ...

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On September 4th, 2014, iconic comedian and TV personality Joan Rivers passed away due to complications following what seemed to be a routine visit to her gastroenterologist. Up until now, a wave of speculation and mystery has surrounded her case with a trove of unanswered questions. What happened on that tragic day? What kind of procedure did she have? Was it a dangerous surgery? Who was in the room? On October 16th ...

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