Three years ago I received some of the best news of my life -- that I have dopa-responsive dystonia. (Yes, a neuromuscular disorder was welcome news.) Painful, life-interrupting muscle contractions had made the dystonia diagnosis likely several years before, despite poor response to standard treatments, and I was fighting through graduate school: trying to compensate for medication-induced memory problems, increasing need to work from bed, and a disappearing social life. ...

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shutterstock_22233682 This place sucks had become my mantra as I powered through every bloody, chaotic, understaffed shift. Fresh out of residency, I had accepted a job in the ER of a community hospital which -- though it had appeared calm, functional, and replete with helpful consultants during the 15-minute tour I took during my interview -- had turned into exactly the opposite when I ...

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shutterstock_60295858 I will always remember my awkward medical school interviews. Filled with bioethical scenarios and questions to measure my ability to prevent an impaired physician from practicing, the interviewers seemed hardly interested in my prior career achievements or humble beginnings. Such discussions carried on through the first two years of medical school. They never taught us how health care reimbursement works or why ...

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shutterstock_124837006 We recently had a session hosted by the medical education staff at our school where we were encouraged to share any difficult situations encountered in clerkship (submitted anonymously beforehand if that was preferred) and discussed them as a class. Issues regarding ageism, sexism and racism were brought up and addressed with the group. While I have not encountered any of the ...

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My department had a problem that harmed patients on at least a weekly basis. It was well-known, but it seemed there was no viable solution.

My supervising attending was in his seventies and highly regarded at my hospital, having held powerful administrative positions for decades. About ten or so years ago, he stepped down from running the hospital, and ...

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shutterstock_190924184 I’ve wanted to be a physician for as long as I can remember.  As a teen, the choice to become a doctor seemed to perfectly meld my affinity for science, academics and helping others.  Better yet, pediatrics offered the ability to work with families and children of all ages and developmental abilities. For fifteen years, I lived, breathed, and worked toward my ...

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shutterstock_142825543 I thought more highly of business folks until I started working for them.  I thought CEOs and boards of directors of companies had a vision, whether to maximize shareholder profit, or to produce a stellar product or provide a singular service, etc.  Once the vision was elucidated, everyone worked together like a team to make it happen. Then I became employed by ...

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shutterstock_112271348 As an employed physician specialist working in an underserved community, I am thrilled with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). I was initially a skeptic of the program because of the cost to taxpayers, but I have since witnessed first hand the tremendous benefits. People with limited resources and real problems can now get help without suffering financial harm. Those with chronic ...

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There is a saying in the world of education, “You have to care to teach.” Why is it then in health care, a profession of and about caring, we do such a poor job of teaching our patients?  Is it because we are too busy or too rushed when we are sending our patient’s out the door of our hospitals, clinics or offices? After all, we have treated the patient ...

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shutterstock_73874836 It was 4:30 a.m., and I was on the side of the road, drenched in sweat and tears. I had finally slowed my breathing to normal. I was going to be late for rounds. No time to obsess over possible questions. No time to memorize lab values, or practice regurgitating them. I thought of home. My family and friend, who I hadn’t ...

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