In my third year of medical school, I started a rotation at the nearby VA hospital. Walking toward the polished glass doors that morning, I saw my reflection — clean white coat, assured expression to cover up how lost I felt. It was my second clinical rotation ever, and my first time at the VA. I found my team and soon met a patient I'd be seeing for the next month. ...

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In October of 2016, I returned to Bernard Mevs Hospital in Port Au Prince, Haiti. Hurricane Matthew, a category 4 hurricane, had touched down near Jeremie only four days prior. Hurricane Matthew caused significant devastation with over 2 million people directly affected, and over 500 reported deaths.  As local health care facilities in southwest Haiti had limited capabilities to care for pediatric trauma patients, Bernard Mevs had arranged transport ...

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Earlier in June, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) won a major legal victory by getting an injunction to prevent Florida-based US Stem Cell Clinic from offering its treatments. The company claimed to create stem cells from patients’ body fat and use these to treat a variety of serious illnesses, including Parkinson’s disease, ALS, and chronic lung disease. This company is just one of many that have sprung up ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 63-year-old woman is evaluated at a follow-up appointment after undergoing right hemicolectomy for colon cancer 1 year earlier. Her paternal grandfather had colon cancer diagnosed at age 75 years. She reports that she has been feeling well and takes no medication. All physical examination findings, including vital signs, are ...

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Did you feel that? That little jolt in your stomach as you clicked on the headline? Perhaps, your muscles tensed for just a moment? Maybe your heart skipped a beat. What was that? An insignificant flutter? A meaningless moment to shrug off in your busy day? Perhaps that fleeting feeling is explained by the stigma known all too well to sufferers of chronic mental illnesses. Stigma is fuelled by our fears ...

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Recently, Desperate Housewives star Marcia Cross made headlines by discussing her diagnosis of anal cancer and her husband’s diagnosis of throat cancer, revealing that both had been related to the human papillomavirus, or HPV. The move was brave, as the actress broke free from the stigma related to anal cancer and sexually transmitted diseases. More importantly, it was – I hope – inspirational. HPV is something that doesn’t get nearly the publicity ...

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“I’ll put my cell phone away when you put your computer away,” said the patient. These were the very words I heard upon opening the door and stepping into the exam room. As I stood waiting for him to look up, I was already looking at my computer for his name. Needless to say, I was aghast that a patient would say this to me.  My first instinct was to defend ...

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After nearly 40 years as an internist, Dr. Ron Naito knew what the sky-high results of his blood test meant. And it wasn’t good. But when he turned to his doctors last summer to confirm the dire diagnosis — stage 4 pancreatic cancer — he learned the news in a way no patient should. The first physician, a specialist Naito had known for 10 years, refused to acknowledge the results of the ...

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After a severe fracture or removal of a tumor, what happens if a segment of bone is missing? The bone ends will try to grow into one another just as they do after routine fractures, but the lack of immobilization and the gap may be insurmountable despite how hard the bone tries to repair itself. The void instead fills with gristle-like scar tissue, which cannot restore stability. A wobbly false ...

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Recently, a friend’s mother asked me how to best support her daughter’s decision to breastfeed her first grandchild.  The new grandmother questioned her ability to encourage her daughter’s decision because she had not breastfed her own child, and this lack of experience made her feel unqualified to provide support.  With mixed emotions and a lingering sense of guilt, this new grandmother wanted to learn, from a pediatrician friend, how best ...

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