I looked at my life through the lens of an outsider: It looked pretty good. Funding. Presentations. Publications. Great job, and a great family. Check, check, check. I looked at my life through my own lens, an insider: a mess. Exhaustion. Absent from my closest relationships. Chronically feeling like I was dropping the ball, because I was. Unhealthy. Not enough sleep, or exercise, or joy. Apathy. This was me, four years ago, ...

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In July, 2009, the family of Massachusetts teenager Yarushka Rivera went to their local Walgreens to pick up Topomax, an anti-seizure drug that had been keeping her epilepsy in check for years. Rivera had insurance coverage through MassHealth, the state’s Medicaid insurance program for low-income children, and never ran into obstacles obtaining this life-saving medication. But in July of 2009, she turned 19, and when, shortly after her birthday, her family ...

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A male physician -- one who sits on multiple committees at a large hospital in Dallas -- was recently quoted in the Dallas Medical Journal, that female physicians earn less, and they “choose to or they simply don’t want to be rushed.” Adding, “most of the time, their priority is something else … family, social, whatever.” I should be astounded that a colleague, in 2018, who appears to be about my ...

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It’s been said in the world of business that people only buy two things: good feelings and solutions to problems. In medicine, the single most important factor that brings patients through our doors isn’t a “toward” kind of desire, but an “away” one -- away from feeling bad. More specifically, it is pain and fear that most often cause patients to call and ask for an appointment. They hopefully leave with ...

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Physicians everywhere are having to deal with ever-shrinking time slots with their patients. Every doctor (or nurse) would love to have more time if possible, and it’s probably one the biggest frontline frustrations for any clinician who wants to do a good job. Time to go over the history in more detail, examine the patient thoroughly, and then spend adequate time discussing everything afterwards. Wouldn’t that be nice? The reality though ...

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The surgical team filed out of the patient’s room. I looked over my shoulder to see a shaken daughter holding the wrinkled hand of her quiet, elderly mother who lay in the bed. I shuddered as I thought of the surgery her body would endure the next day. I knew I needed to return to her room later in the day to find out more about her history. After rounds ...

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I've had a lot of ups and downs throughout my schooling and career — not just related to my profession but personally as well. In the past, it has crossed my mind that I should probably seek professional help, but then some way or another, I would get past my issues and life would normalize. Then I would move on and forget about it. However, after last summer, things were different. ...

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I'm sitting in the ICU team room, staring at the computer, trying to look like I'm writing a note. But my head is pounding. As an internal-medicine resident doing my first month of residency, I've found the ICU of the bustling county hospital a jarring place to start my training. Although I'd anticipated the clinical challenge of caring for very ill ICU patients, I was unprepared for the emotional burden of ...

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I learn all manner of interesting things from the information sheets posted on the walls of the employee bathrooms at my hospital. I learn, for example, about upcoming CME offerings for advance practice providers, how many seconds one has to scrub the hub of a central line, and what the new process is when nurses need to call in sick. They call a specific phone number and state that they ...

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“I want answers!” My mother was upset over the care for her ill husband. Previously able to converse normally, he was now incoherent and disoriented. The recent recipient of a bone marrow transplant to treat his advanced leukemia, he probably experienced a brain infection because of the immune suppression therapy needed to accept the marrow. The marrow transplant didn’t work. He was sent home from the hospital on hospice care ...

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