For a bunch of folks striving to stomp out malignant processes in our patients, we sure tolerate a fair amount of destructive behavior among training programs.

I’ll be the first to say I’m not the most delicate flower in the garden. Before pursuing medicine, I was a college athlete. I’m no stranger to long hours, harsh coaches, or repeated failures.

Medical students get their first bitter taste of malignant ...

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On October 12th, 2020, I underwent a LEEP procedure to remove the distal portion of my cervix. In the wake of COVID-19, with PPE and willing staff in short supply to complete Pap smears in clinic, a colleague and I were trialing self-swab HPV testing - a technique pioneered in countries like Australia that is likely to become the eventual standard of care for cervical cancer screening. Since my last ...

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“Is there anything more we could have done?” I am not the first person to ask this question, and I will not be the last. This past week I learned that an ex-boyfriend from my graduate school years, who had moved overseas in 2016 and disappeared off the grid, was recently diagnosed with lymphoma, developed severe complications, and passed away. He was in his late twenties and a month from moving back ...

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When the president of the United States contracts a dangerous disease, the story is big news. When the same disease has taken the lives of 200,000 people and the same president has been under fire for grossly mishandling the response, the tale takes on a much bigger, almost biblical significance. Americans have been on tenterhooks since the news broke that Donald Trump tested positive for COVID-19, and emotion and speculation ...

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A bird slams into the glass. A bird slams into the glass. A bird slams into the glass. Over and over again, head first, determined to defeat its own reflection. A headbutt of bravado. I watched it, time and time again. From the inside, I studied the dozens of oily streaks smeared across the window. After a few minutes, the bird would fly away – sore or distracted from its ...

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This new virus is changing everyday life-hospitals are doing their best to protect their staff and patients.  One thing I've learned is that they need to do a better job of communicating with families. My husband was 70 years old when he died of cancer and COVID-related issues.  He was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, lung mets to the brain on December 23, 2019. Because he had only one lesion in ...

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"It's not my fault that you chose to have children." Years after leaving my job, I still hear my boss's words in my head.  He did not want to get married and or have children. He made that clear during my interview. He was also clear that he did not want anyone to perceive that I got special treatment for having a family.  When I left, I did not sue. I ...

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Walking into the COVID ward in the children’s hospital, those words seemed etched on an invisible wall, a wall that I wanted to choose to stay behind.  It was a wall I could stay behind for the first couple months of the pandemic where multiple studies touted how children weren’t getting sick, and my hospital had seen very few mild cases of the virus in children manifesting from a fever ...

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I am exhausted. I’m a physician in the suburbs of Houston. The latest COVID-19 infection rates in the Houston area show a steep increase in rates since reopening in May. And it’s still rising. As an infectious diseases physician in the middle of this whole COVID-19 pandemic, and as a mom of 2, here’s why I’m tired: 1. Working almost every day (weekends included) since this March at multiple hospitals and in ...

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I have been drinking since I was 13 years old. I honestly didn’t realize that I had a problem until the last couple of years. The problem wasn’t so much that I drank in excess, or got in trouble at work, with the law, or with my family. The problem was that I couldn’t handle the full breadth of my emotions. Too much sadness, or even too much elation, was ...

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To the people who say that wearing a mask perpetuates the conspiracy: Tell that to the health care workers who have put their lives at risk to face firsthand an unknown disease. Tell that to the families of frontline workers who have contracted and succumbed to COVID-19 while their loved ones save everyone else. To the people who say that COVID-19 does not exist; that COVID-19 is just another cold or flu: Tell ...

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Black bodies are dying, and medical schools are partially to blame.  Never did I imagine that I would come to the realization that as a medical student; I was being trained and conditioned to identify and treat conditions predominately in white people.  It is time for medical institutions to address how medical school curriculums, which use whiteness as a scale to define normal, contributes to increased rates of mortality and ...

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As a newly minted neonatal-cardiac intensivist, I was all ready to take on the world. I mean, caring for the babies with congenital heart disease (CHD), congenital diaphragmatic hernias (CDH) and all other congenital anomalies and premature birth. I was excited and ready for service. It was my 27th year of "being a student." I had gone through the grind of medical school, residency training, fellowship training, and an additional ...

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Doctors across America are getting strikingly similar messages from their hospital administrators—that we are highly valued, but that they will reduce our salaries due to the pandemic. Whether you are working on the frontline and risking your life (and your family’s health) with limited PPE available (and indeed locked up and rationed), or whether you are soldiering on in the outpatient clinics. Your salary is going down, whether you signed ...

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I am a newly minted surgical specialist, less than one year into practice. Residency was no walk in the park, but the clinical experience, along with hours of studying, reading papers, and reviewing practice guidelines, undoubtedly gave me the tools to practice modern, evidence-based medicine. As residency came to a close and the light at the end of the tunnel grew bigger and brighter, my excitement to move on to ...

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I’d like to focus on a group that isn’t discussed much: the divorced health care parent.  With physician marriages ending at a rate of 24 percent and over 1 million physicians and 18 million health care workers in the U.S., this topic will undoubtedly resonate with many despite a paucity of literature. Co-parenting is hard enough—adding a pandemic can put even previously stable co-parenting in extremis. Here’s my COVID-19 co-parenting ...

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This week I will be taking the physician's oath. I am a person who only makes promises I can keep. Thus, I am struggling with committing myself to certain parts of the oath. Reflecting over the last four years of medical school, I can say with certainty that I hated my medical school experience. I left my family/friends and the diverse, immigrant-cultured society that I've known my whole life for the homogeneous, ...

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I was waiting for my boyfriend to return back from cleaning his car. Suddenly and unexpectedly, the tears started rolling down my face. I was startled at the sudden deluge. I don’t cry often. We had a small argument earlier in the day, the details of which I won’t divulge here. It made me question where I get my happiness from. It led me to the conclusion that, at least ...

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I never expected to find myself in this position. Ironically, I, a family medicine physician, in a world grappling with a pandemic, became underemployed for the first time since high school.  A unique set of circumstances led me to this situation, but it turned out to be far more challenging for me emotionally than I expected. At the end of 2019, I made a decision to leave my regular job as ...

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Before becoming a certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA), I was a surgical intensive care unit (SICU) nurse for decades. During that time, I often saw patients during their greatest time of need – trauma victims, transplant recipients, patients with brain tumors, ruptured aortas, and septic shock. I thought I had seen it all, but working in an improvised COVID-19 ICU has taught me to expect the unexpected, and has required ...

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