Just before I induced anesthesia, he said, “Doc, I want to apologize beforehand. I am incontinent due to a previous surgery so I might wet the sheets." I told him not to worry and that we understood and that "these things do happen." His response has stuck with me: "Doc, but there is still some shame." I nodded, told him not to worry since he was going to get a catheter anyway, ...

Read more...

I am a middle-aged, full-time emergency physician, and part-time law student. Usually, I practice medicine during the day and attend law classes in the evening. Sometimes I have law classes in the afternoon or early evening then work in the emergency department all night. So, what’s harder: medical school or law school? Absolutely the most common question I am asked by physicians, attorneys, and students at all levels of training. The other most ...

Read more...

At first, I thought the light was reflecting off the mirror. But no. There It was - my first gray hair. I did not expect to live to see the day. I was ecstatic! At six months old, I was diagnosed with a severe illness called thalassemia major and was incorrectly expecting to have passed by now. (Google told me so!) Yet, this year, I complete ten years beyond my ...

Read more...

Dear lawyers: You got it right. Your operations make sense. I know this is wrong for me to say -- doctors and lawyers are often at odds with one another -- but I have to tip my cap here. I have this unsettling feeling that -- from a professional standpoint -- your billing practices make sense. And the way you do your documentation also makes sense. Your delegation and hierarchy make ...

Read more...

As physicians, we are constantly faced with a daily barrage of meeting minimum RVUs, while keeping up with EMRs as part of the necessary components to successfully practice medicine. This has resulted in a decrease in personal interactions with patients, which has caused an increase in physician burnout and suicides. Attempts to reverse these negative impacts have resulted in instituting wellness and meditation clinics and debriefing after traumatic clinical events ...

Read more...

One of my favorite scenes in the recent Apollo 11 IMAX film was a dramatic panning shot of mission control moments before lift-off. Row after row of mission specialists, engineers, astronauts, communications technicians — all looking ahead in silent, unbreakable focus. All 100 percent dedicated to the three men about to lift-off into history. It was a truly mesmerizing portrait of teamwork. While astronaut safety is the focus of every individual ...

Read more...

Self-compassion. Perhaps this sounds like a contradiction in terms. Compassion is expressed for others, not oneself. Compassion, as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is the “sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress with a desire to alleviate it.” Compassion is about allowing oneself to be with the emotional discomfort of someone else’s suffering with the hope of lessening it. Health care personnel do this every day. It is part of being human to have ...

Read more...

Head and neck cancer surgeons know when “the questions” are coming. A casual conversation eventually turns to, “What do you do for a career?” The pleasant exchange is replaced with talk of disfigurement and life-threatening illness. The person’s brow furrows. “How can you deal with that day after day? Isn’t it depressing? Why didn’t you pick something happier for a career?” These are legitimate questions. As a medical student many years ...

Read more...

I always knew there were disparities regarding men and women in the field of medicine. However, at the beginning of my training, these inequalities seemed so fictional to me, I could only compare them to dragons and unicorns. The fact that this topic was only occasionally mentioned seemed to solidify my belief that inequalities between female and male physicians were rare. My mind was solely focused on the various aspects ...

Read more...

Residents and fellows around the country have bought into the "medical training myth." The myth states: "Life will get so much better when I finish residency/fellowship." Sadly, too many house staff buy into this false belief and experience tremendous letdown when they graduate. Residents often see their attending stroll into the team room with a cup of coffee at 8 a.m., ready to round. Meanwhile, they think, “I’ve been ...

Read more...

Most Popular

✓ Join 150,000+ subscribers 
✓ Get KevinMD's 5 most popular stories
Subscribe. It's free.