Doctors know high-pressure exams. The day before one is the worst. There is cramming followed by anxiety and insomnia. When sleep finally beats anxiety, the dreaded nightmare falls upon anxious test takers. Every doctor knows. Walking into the testing center, opening the exam, realizing you studied for the wrong exam. The questions might as well be a foreign language. This nightmare was a reality according to this year’s group of ...

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In the era of #MeToo, Missy Elliot, Whitney Houston, Tyler Perry, Oprah, Ashley Judd, Gabrielle Union, Teri Hatcher and, now, Padma Lakshmi — keeping kids safe and helping adults heal is our job as physicians. I am a pediatrician — and I am an incest survivor. My perpetrator was also a physician. I bore a dirty secret before I knew what a secret was. The person who hurt me was ...

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I do not feel that I truly survived my lawsuit. Sure, I am alive, but the emotional toll it took on me during the four years that we co-existed was tremendous. That being said, I do feel that it taught me several things that may be helpful to others. My lawsuit occurred very early in my career. The series of events that led up to it happened when I was a ...

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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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