Part of your job as a parent is to teach your children, and there's no way for a child to learn anything without making a few mistakes. Actually, a lot of mistakes. Sometimes these mistakes can be infuriating. They might be self-destructive mistakes. They might be mistakes that can cause harm to their siblings or classmates. They might be mistakes that happen over and over again. They might ...

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I opened the exam room door and hit something. Peeking around the door, I saw an elderly woman wearing a pink sequined hat who was perched in a motorized scooter parked awkwardly in front of the door.  I slinked around her to my stool and sat down as I introduced myself. I was running behind, but for some reason, I simply said, “tell me about yourself.” The woman looked directly at ...

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Last month, while the world was distracted by political turmoil and the pandemic’s roaring second wave, a very significant proclamation came and went with little fanfare. The United Nations General Assembly launched 2020-2030 as the Decade of Healthy Ageing, calling for a decade of concerted global action to extend the health and well-being horizons of the world’s one billion people over the age of ...

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The emergency department is fast-paced. Full of chaos. Incredible suffering. Frustration. Disappointment. Screams, tears, smiles. Reassurance. Good news. Bad news. Diagnoses. Failure to find a diagnosis. Getting a last-minute cardiac arrest coming in at 650 a.m., ten minutes before the end of your 12-hour, overnight shift – you have the energy and wherewithal to do the task, but to process the life that was lost? To truly realize the dead ...

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As a young medical doctor in academia in the early 1980s, most of my research was conducted in male rats. I was told that the estrus cycle in female rats would interfere with data interpretation. Investigators were reluctant to test medications in women of reproductive age, because of the concern about pregnancy.  Older women were enrolled in clinical trials, but men and women's imbalance favored men. Medical schools were teaching ...

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Recently, there have been several TV advertisements on cancer treatments that may extend life. They report survival data that can mislead cancer victims to the extent of possible longevity. Additionally, they present a false picture of how life can be spent. I have strong reservations regarding medication advertising to the public. Its purpose is to increase profits, not medical education. I know that businesses gamble significant amounts of money on drug ...

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Loss is incurable, but grief is metamorphic. The end of another human life is a fluid experience for those left behind. For most of us, grief legitimizes the range of human emotion and, at least temporarily, erases the idea of being too sensitive.

There are many ways in which this paradigm is unequal, particularly for individuals who frequently confront death. It seems that when a challenge moves into the ...

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“Please don’t go just yet. Promise you will come to see me again?” she asked, with a frail quiver in her voice. “But of course, see you on my rounds tomorrow!” I replied, trying to sound cheery, as I turned to leave her negative pressure ICU room. I was doubtful if she would even remember my masked-gowned presence by the next day or even the next moment. For COVID with its ...

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An excerpt from 50 Years in the OR: True Stories of Life, Loss, and Laughter While Giving Anesthesia. We were notified one cold winter’s afternoon in February that a farm accident victim with a bad leg injury was coming in from a small town twenty-five miles west ...

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As COVID-19 cases surge across the country, we appear to have another long winter ahead of us in 2021. In March of 2020, stay-at-home orders were put in place, schools closed, and many people were spending more time at home than ever before. While being home has offered benefits to some, others have been trapped in terrifying circumstances with no escape. In March of 2020, domestic-violence hotlines prepared for increased call ...

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