Chapter 1: Physiology “I am a brain, Watson. The rest of me is a mere appendix.” - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Bound by flesh and bone, therein lies a mystery of undefined potential which the cosmos cannot even parallel in mystery and in complexity beautiful and terrifying. It is that which allows movement to leave the study hall beneath the starry sky, professors to lull us to sonorous sweet slumber, to remember minute ...

Read more...

I was incredibly nervous going into my first day in the inpatient child/adolescent psychiatry unit. “Was this where the truly psychotic kids are? Am I going to be safe here?” I wondered as I casually introduced myself to the staff on the floor. After a morning of sitting in on group therapy led by psychologists and occupational therapists, I calmed down. Against the backdrop of the soothing soft pastel colors, ...

Read more...

The Affordable Care Act is perhaps the biggest overhaul of the U.S. health care system in many decades. Enacted by President Barack Obama in 2010, it made health care attainable and affordable to millions of Americans. Individuals with pre-existing medical conditions cannot be denied health care coverage; insurance companies have to cover essential health care needs including mental health and preventive services, children can be covered under their parents’ plans ...

Read more...

Dear patient, I may never get to meet you, which is a real shame. I think I would have enjoyed getting to know you and working together with you to overcome whatever particular medical issue with which you had come to meet me. We might have learned about each other. We might have learned about our community. We might even have made some kind of change together. I myself am a patient, ...

Read more...

It’s 4:17 a.m. as I begin this entry. I’m scheduled to be at the hospital in 43 minutes for one of my last days on surgical rotation, and I’ve been working on the following text message since 3 a.m.: “Hi, team. Im afraid that im burned out and anxious. I will be taking today off. Sorry to be blunt but i felt it better than to make up an excuse. Thanks ...

Read more...

As a medical student, I have encountered more emotional and psychological pain as a direct result of my training than I could have previously anticipated. My pain may not be physical (though sometimes it is secondary to sleep deprivation), but it is real. I look around me and am reminded of who I do not want to be, and the kind of person I would dread becoming. At first, I ...

Read more...

I am forced to write anonymously because of gross neglect by my residency program regarding standard ACGME duty-hour rules. If my name were published, it would identify my program. As a PGY-2, I worked 100+ hours per week on average last year while taking primary call for my urology department. (Admittedly, the PGY-2 is the historic “worst year” for any urology resident.) On a quarterly basis (depending on manpower), we take ...

Read more...

When you hear people say, “I don’t want to vaccinate my kid. Why would I give them autism?” It’s hard not to get upset and meet your patients with some judgment. John and Carly were middle-class Americans that had a lot of misconceptions about vaccines — mostly from the media. They loved their two-year-old daughter Leslie and wanted the best for her. They didn’t understand that we wanted the same thing. ...

Read more...

There is a strange feeling that every kid has experienced: the flip-flop sensation of your stomach dropping while you careen down the descent of an enormous roller coaster; the sinking swoop of a high-speed elevator dropping to the ground floor. My children find it hiding along a rolling country road, driving to the lake in our jeep. With the top down and the sun shining, they shriek and beg for ...

Read more...

When I was heading to a retreat held by the physician who started the ideal medical care movement, Dr. Pamela Wible, I expected an orderly and structured program on how to improve the current culture of medicine. I knew, with about 40 physicians and 10 other medical students, there would be a lot of Type A personalities since that’s typically the sort of people that go into medicine. While I ...

Read more...

It is 6:08 p.m. on a Monday night, and I am sitting in an unlocked patient exam room, my uneaten lunch opened in front of me, clicking through a patient’s chart, all to the constant whir of my breast pump. I last breastfed my infant at 6 a.m. this morning, and the discomfort in my chest has only amplified as the 12th hour has gone by without time to express ...

Read more...

I am writing why I as a physician voted for Donald Trump for president. This election has caused such outcry that I hesitate to put my name. I want to also say that I am a female physician. I feel that I need to express why I voted the way that I did. I am still in an independent practice with one other physician. We are hanging on by a thread, ...

Read more...

I have a memory of feeling overwhelming anger and animosity as a 10 year old. I was holding my father’s spot in the checkout line at Walmart in rural Illinois as he ran to grab the paper towels he had forgotten. He quickly darted back in line into the spot that I had saved him as he knew leaving me surrounded by candy for longer than a couple of minutes ...

Read more...

I arrive 7:15, 15 minutes before I was supposed to come in. I make sure to bring a shelf review book, knowing that I will be getting significant use of it that day. After surreptitiously observing my surroundings, I attempt to seek out a physician of sorts, a guide, a mentor, a guru that could aid in my quest for knowledge and experience. I am seated in a chair against a ...

Read more...

A letter from a physician to her former employer. This may seem to come out of the blue for you, but for me, it is something I have thought about often. You will likely not remember the details like I do, so let me spark your memory. It was a Thursday, and my husband, who I have known since I was 19 -- not unlike you and your wife -- was diagnosed ...

Read more...

Over the past month, I’ve slowly rediscovered my love for writing. Though I have never considered myself a strong writer, I have fond memories of it providing an outlet for my thoughts. The history essays that everyone dreaded writing in high school were some of my favorite assignments. I spent days wording and rewording my sentences while my classmates wrote them quickly the night before they were due. It felt ...

Read more...

We brought his family into a separate room with plenty of chairs. Sitting to the right of his father and mother, our attending uttered the first words in the room. “I think you know what I am about to say.” His mother took in a deep sigh, her eyes already swollen from inconsolable tears. “I think he is dead.” The whole room sank. We were all punched in the gut by those words. “Oh my ...

Read more...

For the first couple of years of medical school, the constant stream of exams and the anxiety that came along with each one seemed never-ending. I told myself that it was worth sacrificing my personal health to better the lives of others. I put off addressing my own mental health needs to keep advancing to the next level of education. I let stress manifest itself in new ways that my body ...

Read more...

This has not been an uncommon occurrence over the past 2 1/2 years.  In my bed with my laptop when I should be asleep, looking at blogs, taking quizzes, checking out stats on different specialties to find my place in this crazy world we call medicine. This wouldn’t occur all the time but enough that it was noticeable and something I clearly wanted resolved. On these nights my thinking started out ...

Read more...

Medical school attracts very similar kind of people. Most of us are high-achieving, intelligent people with the common goal of helping others. It is beautiful to think of all of the potential patients we could serve working together. Applying to medical school and medical education often suppresses that potential. Somewhere in between all of the courses one must take to enter medical school and the dreadful MCAT, it becomes a number ...

Read more...

Most Popular

Join 150,000+ subscribers

Get the best of KevinMD in your inbox

Sign me up! It's free. 
close-link
✓ Join 150,000+ subscribers 
✓ Get KevinMD's 5 most popular stories
Subscribe. It's free.