One day, I was full of moderate despair, overworked, befuddled by the EHR with a tinge of burnout, staring at my computer, I treated myself to something I’ve not done before. It was my 62nd birthday that day, and I gave myself a birthday present. Before rising from that swivel chair, I had written down on a sticky pad the day that would be my retirement date, exactly one year ...

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An excerpt from the Docs Outside the Box podcast, episode 1:  When the going gets tough… MOVE!  Dr. Nii: All right, well thank you very much for joining us on the Doc’s Outside-the-Box podcast. You are our first guest — first victim, I guess. It's the inaugural episode, so I just wanted to thank you for joining us. I know you are in New Zealand, which is roughly 18 hours ...

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Literature coming from business and human resource management suggests that women are over-mentored and under-sponsored. However, if you have been reading reports about women in medicine, then you likely have heard that women are both over-mentored and under-mentored. Where does the truth lie? That depends on various factors including the definitions of these terms. What exactly do these words mean? In the business sector, mentorship is ...

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 63,632 individuals died in 2016 as a result of drug overdose. Among these, 66 percent died from opioid overdose. The statistics are derived from in-depth research that was carried out by the research institute in 2016. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that cases of drug abuse are swiftly spreading geographically and increasing demographically. The ...

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Just like so many teenagers out there, I found myself hooked on the Netflix show 13 Reasons Why from the first episode. The only difference is that I am not a teenager, but a physician practicing child and adolescent psychiatry and managing inpatient child and adolescent psychiatric units for the last nine years. I was surprised to see the number of emergency room evaluations of my admitted patients indicating that ...

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The keto diet has recently garnered much fame for its apparent ability to improve diabetes and obesity – results so impressive the Journal of the American Medical Association recently highlighted the diet and thereby christened it as something more than a low-carb craze. However, not all the evidence supports such a positive outlook, leading the diet to straddle the increasingly blurred lines between faddist snake ...

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What if it is your parent? Your spouse? Your child? Imagine supporting a loved one through a journey of serious illness. You go to all the appointments, know all the medications, almost feel the aches and pains as if they were our own. You repeat the same thing over and over again to one doctor after another making sure nothing slips through the cracks. Did somebody write this down? Isn’t this ...

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A few months ago, I was on call and admitted a 65-year-old man to the intensive care unit for a flare of his chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Although he had only gotten to the point of being unable to speak full sentences between gasps for breath for only a few days, his story started two months earlier when he had gradually started retaining water and getting more short of ...

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I was a second-year resident, doing a 24-hour shift on maternity care. I'd spent some arduous nights on call with my attending physician, Dr. Campbell. Now, we sat at the nursing station, joking about what this one might bring. "You must be a black cloud," she teased, accusing me of being one of those unfortunate residents who seem to attract medical emergencies. I laughingly protested, but in fact, these quiet nights ...

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In medicine, this is the time when one season ends, and another begins. New doctors graduate medical school. They are excited and, at the same time scared, as they enter into residency training. Interns become residents. Senior residents celebrate moving into attending positions or look forward to subspecialty training in fellowship programs. It’s the excitement of completion combined with the uncertainty of charting a new course in medicine. Each new ...

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The most high-powered rotation in my medical school was endocrinology. There, you got to see things most doctors never come close to diagnosing themselves. Uppsala University’s Akademiska Hospital served as a referral center for the Swedish population north of Uppsala, an area the size and shape of California. Back in the seventies, laboratory testing wasn’t as sophisticated as it is now. We didn’t have CT scanners even at the major hospitals, ...

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As Hannah's granddaughter clutched at her skeletal fingers, the blanket fell to the side revealing the faded serial numbers on her forearm. The family gathered, yet again, to say goodbye. This time her acrid breath had lost humidity, her respirations dry and raspy, the extremities mottled with a bluish tinge. Death had visited the neighborhood before. Lounged in the parlor. Nibbled on crackers and tea. But letting go was not so ...

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Before the invention of the stethoscope, doctors routinely laid their ears on chests of patients to check how they were doing. Homemade concoctions, essentially placebos, often made people feel better. Doctors visited homes of patients who would later pay them whatever they could afford. Local apothecaries sold morphine, a derivative of opium, to reduce pain. Medicine for its part was a nascent science - most of today’s diseases were yet ...

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Recently, a journalist with NPR asked her audience if sleeping with your baby is as dangerous as doctors say.  In short, yes, it is very dangerous. In the article, Michaeleen Doucleff repeatedly trivializes the danger of parents co-sleeping with their baby.  She uses anthropological evidence to reassure parents that sleeping with their infant is safe if parents don’t drink, smoke, or use illicit drugs.   She makes light of ...

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Over the last month, a dermatologist practicing in Georgia known as the “dancing doctor” was suspended by the Georgia Medical Board, which said she posed a “threat to public health, safety, and welfare.” At least ten patients have sued this physician with complications including disfigurement and brain damage, and reportedly there are another 100 former patients who ...

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I sometimes get messages from people who have lost physician colleagues and loved ones to suicide. It’s the specifics of these stories that wound me: a note left for an unexpected person; an insignificant fight at sign-out that in retrospect is full of meaning; the white coat that a woman wore when she jumped to her death. Each of these lives is complex, and each of these deaths ...

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“Sorry, I’m running late … sorry, to keep you waiting.” How many times a day do I say that? Sometimes it is every time I walk into a patient’s room as if it is a normal greeting. Sometimes patients respond with: “Oh, you aren’t late” or “I haven’t been waiting long.” I can be so obsessed with not being late that I don’t realize I’m actually running on time! But ...

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Medicaid — the program that provides funding for adults, seniors (along with Medicare), children and people who are blind or disabled who can't pay for their own health care — is expensive. It is painfully expensive. The program, along with CHIP (the Children's Health Insurance Program), marketplace subsidies and Medicare is responsible for 25 percent of the federal budget. Total Medicaid costs in 2016 were ...

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Young, aspiring doctors are the Iron Youth of this generation. In Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front, young German soldiers are called the Iron Youth as part of a campaign to generate enthusiasm for fighting in the war; these soldiers soon realize the true horrors of war and its lasting impact on the psyche. The analogy is not necessarily to compare residency to war but to highlight ...

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On May 15, President Trump attempted to kill not just two, but three birds with one tweet, simultaneously denouncing the Media and the Mueller investigation, and crowing about his approval ratings. “Can you believe that with all of the made up, unsourced stories I get from the Fake News Media, together with the $10,000,000 Russian Witch Hunt (there is no Collusion), I now have my best ...

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