The initial doubts first surfaced mid-way through our flight bound for Montego Bay, Jamaica. In fact, we were not entirely sure that this trip was such a good idea after all. Our eldest son, 13 and in eighth grade, was already complaining about how much school he was missing and how much homework he had been assigned. Our daughter, a sixth-grader prone to procrastination, had her nose buried deep within ...

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It is a little after 9 a.m. I am about to start the second of a long list of endoscopy cases when my phone rings. I glance briefly at the caller ID to confirm it isn’t my office or the hospital calling about another patient, and am quickly overcome with dread as I see the screen reads, “daycare.” Intuitively, I know why they are calling. My four-month-old must have a fever. ...

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Summer is upon us, and with it comes the end of the academic year, graduations and the arrival of the newest crop of interns. Soon these fresh-faced physicians will enter into one of the most remarkable educational experiences of their medical careers: residency. Many of these soon-to-be-interns are looking to attendings now for advice on how to excel during (or survive through) the arduous first year of training. Suggestions like ...

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In the context of human evolution, a vestigial organ is defined as one that has lost all or most of its original function through evolution. Charles Darwin provided a list of vestigial human organs in "The Descent of Man," including the muscles of the ear, wisdom teeth, the appendix, the coccyx, body hair and the semilunar fold in the corner of the eye. If you had told me 19 years ...

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Signing the divorce papers was probably Charlie’s lowest point.  His wife sitting by his side, occasionally she would swat at the air at some invisible fly buzzing around the room.  There was no fly.  Just the acrid smell of the nursing home, a horrifying mix of sweat, shit, and desperation.  He tried to focus his aged eyes on the legal papers as the tears swirled past his nose and losing traction, fell ...

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Those who follow my blog know I write about science and medicine and their complexities and challenges. Sometimes, I write about anesthesiology and what it’s like to be in the operating room. I write about gender issues and things I’ve noticed as a woman leader in medicine. I write about my children, being a mother, and all that it takes to have the best job in the world and feel ...

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It was 5:45 in the morning on a Monday after a full weekend of call. Thoroughly exhausted, I shuffled into the elevator and was met by the stench of stale clothing mixed with cigarette smoke. A painfully thin teenager exited, looking lost. I allowed him to wander out, grateful to be spared his odor. I was apathetic, overtaken by a weariness I vowed as a medical student never to have. Morning ...

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I have met, in the emergency department, some fierce individuals. Sometimes they can be terrifying.  Their clothes, their manner, their demeanor, the way they pace, all suggest potential danger.  They seem clearly capable of violence.  They look at me with distrust, expecting to be disrespected, dismissed, treated harshly. Sometimes, they are covered in piercings; a thing alien to me.  Other times, the symbology on their clothes speaks volumes.  My colleagues in ...

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A new study found several senior academic surgeons had published papers in what used to be termed “predatory journals.” The newer, gentler term is “solicited publishing,” but it defines the same pay-to-play, low-quality publications. Surgeons from the University of California, San Diego examined 110 emails sent to the senior author from 29 publishers during a six-week period and early 2017. Nearly all were requesting manuscript submissions. The 29 publishers represented 113 ...

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When we go to the deli, we expect to take a number and wait in line. Accomplishing any task at the department of motor vehicles can be an ordeal of waiting and then being herded out the door. This is part of life in American society. However, it should not be part of your health care. Patients need personalized attention and they need a health care team that listens to them, ...

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