It was 4:30 a.m. on a freezing cold winter morning when I dragged myself to my car and started down the street to the hospital. I was working in the ICU for the month, and sleep had become a commodity I no longer enjoyed. I tried to shake my brain out of the dense fog it seemed to always be in lately. I looked up in time to see my car ...

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This must be my eighth cancer scare. (No, I really don’t undergo excessive testing.) Decades ago, I’d noted a possibly normal finding but dropped it after getting no response at subspecialist visits. Recently, following pertinent CME, I asked again and the physician bit. You can guess the rest. One night while dodging traffic I accessed on my phone the ultrasound report from the designated cancer center’s (DCC) patient portal, revealing a ...

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I’m probably in the minority on this, but I’m not a fan of the NYU School of Medicine free tuition program. Now I’m all for debt relief for medical students who start their careers with a mortgage. I was one of them. After 13 years, I’m still one of them! I’m also for any initiative that drives more medical students to career paths like primary care, where massive debt makes ...

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It was 5:27 p.m. on a Friday evening when the pager went off. “Ahh,” said the intern, “Three minutes before shift change, and the ER is paging for another admission!” I could see the dismay on his face as he dreaded the thought of staying late on yet another Friday night. I decided to take care of this patient myself and relieved the intern of his duties. As I went downstairs ...

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Physicians all around us are dying from suicide. For me, some deceased colleagues I knew more closely, others were faces that you would pass on the wards. Even two physicians that I knew peripherally died just this past week. The issue of physician suicide is in the news now, and facts are available. At least a whole medical school class worth of physicians dies by suicide each year. The suicide rate ...

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Several years ago, a colleague of mine did a procedure on my daughter. What was supposed to be routine has become a nightmare for her.  When he saw her post-op, he told her she was fine.  Because of this obfuscation, years went by before she really understood how damaged she was. By then, the statute of limitations had lapsed and she had no recourse. Still seeking closure on this disaster, my daughter ...

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Kate Spade. Anthony Bourdain. Two celebrity icons splashed the headlines recently as both figures committed the unthinkable act of suicide. Both left behind young daughters and significant others reeling in the background wondering what had just happened. Kate Spade was the colorful fashionista of purses and dresses. Anthony Bourdain was the connoisseur of delectable eats traveling the world. How could such successful personas mask the pain hidden within? Even Robin ...

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There are 168 hours in a week and 8,736 hours in a year. There are 10,080 minutes in a week, and 524,160 minutes in a year. Residents and fellows working in an academic environment often work close to, if not in large part, more than 80 hours a week, or 4,160 hours a year. They work 4,800 minutes a week, and a staggering 249,600 minutes a year. In medicine, it’s ...

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Altruism is killing us. Take a second to let that sink in. Truly think about it. Resist your conditioning to refute this claim and try to apply it to your life. Still having trouble? Let me try to explain. In order to understand the truly destructive force of altruism on medicine, one must first define altruism. This can be difficult to do in the United States as any “good” or “charitable” ...

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Recently, I entered an essay contest on advice you would give to future medical students. I sincerely believe that the best person to write an article offering advice to younger medical students should come from a person who didn’t match. Also known as me. Why, you say? Well, for everyone else, Match Day is a culmination of four years of mentally, physically, and emotionally taxing work. They might even forget ...

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