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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As a medical student, every eight weeks I rotate through a new specialty in a new hospital or health service. This means every eight weeks, I flick over to a new chapter in my textbook, learn a new set of medical lingo, meet a new team of doctors and a new cohort of patients. As a person of color, however, this translates to something far more challenging yet predictable. It ...

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I’m writing this piece because I’m finally at the point that I am truly angry. I am angry at how physicians have become devalued in modern health care. I’m angry at how systems of care have participated in this by replacing physicians with lesser trained mid-level practitioners. I’m angry at how our title “doctor” has been hijacked to allow patients to be misled or, in many cases, deceived. It wasn’t that ...

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I log onto KevinMD every day to get my much-needed dose of physician commiseration. At least once a day, one of us writes an article about burnout. It typically leaves me feeling quite validated. I particularly enjoy reading the comments section, as many of you make me laugh with your physician reality-based humor. I am more burned out than I ever hoped to be. I work in primary care, have a ...

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The hardest thing about medical school isn’t learning medicine. It isn’t the hours. It isn’t the tests. It’s that you sign away control over years of your adult life. When I started my clerkship year in January, I felt like I was stepping onto a conveyor belt and would not be allowed off for twelve long months. For the entirety of 2018, my days are planned for me, my hours are ...

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