"I can't take this, doc. It's gonna kill me. I can't. I just can't," exclaims my patient with persistent refusal of his medication. My frustration is met with my patient care team's hesitation to give him the medication with fear of further conflict and possible escalation to violence.  But who's at fault? Any of us? All of us? My second patient, lying on the MRI table, shaking his head swiftly in ...

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It was a Thursday. It was supposed to be one of those “regular” evening shifts. Then, at 6:15 p.m., my first page went off: Bed 11, Mrs. R., Dr. H. needs to talk to you. The page came from the COVID section of the emergency department. I immediately called back. It saddened me when I learned that our patient was a young woman health care worker in her early 50s. She ...

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It’s that wonderful time of year when new interns take their first steps into hospitals as practicing physicians One of us has just completed her intern year and the other quite a while back (but recently enough to still remember some of it), so we wanted to share some tips for the pediatric interns about to start this wonderful adventure. 1. Don’t be overly anxious (as a little anxiety is expected). ...

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Yeah. I said it. As an anesthesiologist, especially as a cardiothoracic anesthesiologist, there are few things I am more interested in than how well or how poorly your heart functions and why.  And a cardiologist can help me obtain a lot of vital information in that regard.  But there several things a cardiologist cannot, and I argue, should not do, when it comes to the perioperative care of patients. First, a cardiologist's assessment ...

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With a flip of a calendar page, the new academic year is upon us. For much of the workforce, July 1st signifies the halfway point of the fiscal year, and most Americans would say that each new year starts on January 1st. However, those of us in academia, particularly those of us in medical and graduate medical education, understand how significant this day is. It is the day when newly-minted ...

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I feet truly honored to have been asked to speak at your graduation and to have a chance to share on this day with all of you. We are experiencing a truly singular moment, and I imagine you are hoping that I might say something that would be comforting or inspiring, and I really can’t think what that could possibly be. For the last half of your third year of residency, ...

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Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic gripped New York City, I have come to dread calling home to my parents. Every conversation ultimately leads to the question: “Is everyone okay?” This is always followed by a pause as my parents consider how much to tell me. Over the past few months, I learned on an almost weekly basis of a new family member, family friend, or neighbor who was hospitalized, transferred ...

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The fight. The battle. The conquest. The opponent. The enemy. The nemesis. Our collective descriptions of our response to COVID-19 are analogous to our descriptions of wartime.  We have cast the novel coronavirus as the opposition and ourselves as the mighty conquerors. Reflecting on this portrayal over the past three months – during the final stretch of my medical training before becoming an independent practitioner - I find myself wondering if this ...

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There is a certain amount of privilege associated with being white, educated, and upper-middle-class while protesting as a frontline worker. There is also a large amount of protection and a lack of “ fear of consequences” mentality.  Case in point - my clinic held a kneel in as part of #whitecoatsforblack lives on June 5, 2020. I decided to informally lead the kneel in as it took place on Breonna ...

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The annual meeting of my profession’s national society last fall may have been the last old-school, convention-size, professional meeting I will ever attend. I could be wrong, but it may mark the end of an era. Disruptive change to the convention business model was inevitable, though hastened by COVID-19. This year, the leadership of many medical associations announced that their upcoming annual meetings would be virtual – if ...

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