I began pursuing a career in medicine with the fervent desire to become a neurosurgeon one day. When someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I answered neurosurgeon without missing a beat. I chose neurosurgery in high school after falling in love with the nervous system and watching Gifted Hands. I wanted to be like Dr. Ben Carson before his political debut. At that point, ...

Read more...

As a young and optimistic business school graduate, I recall when the consulting firm I worked for was retained to evaluate “USA Hospital and Medical Clinics” (pseudonym). “USA” had grown quickly and was struggling to manage the recent expansion. We interviewed doctors, nurses, and medical assistants, and they told us about the problems they faced every day: They were pressured to get patients in and out quickly to keep average visit ...

Read more...

I go to medical school with a girl who is universally disliked, perhaps more than anyone I’ve met before. It began innocuously enough: She was too active in the group chat, too pushy about ordering class jackets, this and that. In lecture, she barked out obscure answers like “Saturday Night Palsy” with physical force; her petite body careening forward in her chair, her class-jacketed hand spearing into the sky. But did ...

Read more...

I’m of Irish heritage and we love to tell stories. This story feels like it needs to be shouted from the rooftops. I grew up in Texas, where football is king. Here’s my story so parents can make a more fully “informed consent” when deciding if their children should play football. My dad played offensive line in college. We were proud of our “gentle giant“ dad. The first and only college graduate in ...

Read more...

I was a fellow physician in neonatology, and my contract was recently not renewed for my three-year fellowship at the end of the first year. My experience highlights the examples that, at times, physicians are treated in a disposable manner. COVID-19 is certainly taking a toll on health care workers. So, too, are oppressive practices and unfair treatment of trainees. The reasons provided to me for why my contract was not ...

Read more...

To say that I grieved in the months following the unexpected death of my husband is an understatement. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. Thirty pounds evaporated from my 5’ 4”, 130-pound frame. Incessant crying left me dehydrated with cracked, bloody lips. Too soon, financial and professional pressure forced a return to my anesthesia practice. To the outside observer, I appeared functional; I was, in reality, suicidal. Between cases, I’d cry in ...

Read more...

I am a nurse who has worked at a rural hospital. My husband is a board-certified family medicine doctor. In the fall of 2020, I was raped by my massage therapist. I know that everyone has an opinion of what they would do in that situation, and I was probably one of those people. However, to my complete shock (quite literally), I didn't behave in any manner that ...

Read more...

I saw a tweet recently from a medical resident training at another hospital that really hit home for me: “In response to a rumor that health care workers who treat COVID patients will be prioritized for vaccination in our health system, one of my co-residents asked unironically, ‘Does that include us?’” “Resident” is a word coined in the twentieth century when physicians in training often physically lived (“resided”) at the hospital. ...

Read more...

It was Black Friday, and as I held her hand, I knew that she would be dead within the hour. My breath was stale inside my N95.  The yellow isolation gown was moist and clingy, and the fogged-up goggles gave me that feeling that I was on an extended deep-sea expedition.  Mrs. Carson was still occupying her bed, but really she was already gone.  I had watched the respiratory rate creep ...

Read more...

I have worked part-time as an applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapist for the last few years. The job isn't complicated, and where I am, one doesn't need a specifically tailored education or license to practice under supervision. An ABA's clients are diagnosed with autism, and the therapist works to reduce the client's maladaptive behaviors and increase their comfort with everyday routines, social interactions, and independent living, all while taking data ...

Read more...

Though many say freedom of speech has never been more prevalent with the creation of social media, moral relativism and shaming have taken a toll. Evident today, cyberbullying in the name of justice polarizes attitudes while placing some opinions as martial law and others as bigotry. This polarization of America marginalizes majorities and attempts to silence them into submission. Concurrently, it diminishes the “moral” side’s own goal to gain support ...

Read more...

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 ...

Read more...

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 ...

Read more...

“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 ...

Read more...

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 ...

Read more...

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 ...

Read more...

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 ...

Read more...

"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 ...

Read more...

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 ...

Read more...

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 ...

Read more...

14 Pages

Most Popular

✓ Join 150,000+ subscribers
✓ Get KevinMD's most popular stories