If you’re thinking about a career in medicine, there’s a piece of technology you’ll come to know intimately. It’s small and sleek, with excellent battery life and remarkable durability. It’s not an iPhone; it’s not a Pixel. It’s a beeper. You will come to know, and to respect, this tiny black rectangular prism. It will govern your life. You will be at its mercy, yes, but it also offers you a chance at salvation. ...

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Prologue It’s 1:30 p.m. on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. You’re on call, and hungry, and having not had the forethought to make food ahead of time, you decide you’ll take your chances and see what the hospital cafeteria has to offer. You bustle your way past screaming children, harried caregivers, and distracted hospital staff with their heads buried in smartphones, following signs for the fork and knife. Finally, you arrive. After considering the stack of soaking wet trays ...

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A lone figure stood at the entrance to bed 14, intensive care unit 2, floor 15-North. Though it was 2:30 a.m., he stood with rapt attention. He looked out over the hallway, eyes scanning. He looked like a gargoyle brooding over his castle, protecting it. He looked unlike anyone I’d ever seen in an ICU. He was a slightly pudgy yet wholly muscular 5′ 10” or so, with a few days ...

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I think it’s fair to say a small part of all of us died along with Grace McDermott. Grace was a beautiful, talented PhD student studying in Ireland who tragically passed away in a house fire this past week. She was many things -- musician, blogger, extrovert, women’s rights activist -- but she was also my first girlfriend. I’m still in shock. It’s hard to comprehend something like this. The mind shudders and reels, seeking ...

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The ER doc sounded genuinely concerned, which is never a good sign. “Sixty-year-old guy, no real medical history, dude is seriously hallucinating. Head imaging is negative. Can you come take a look at him?” I flitted through the chart. A car accident a few years ago that left him with chronic, poorly controlled migraines. Depression, on Prozac and well controlled. That was pretty much it. I grabbed my stethoscope and ...

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Hospitals have lots of codes. The most famous one is Code Blue (medical emergency), but it turns out there are lots of color-based codes. This can be confusing, as the connection between the code colors and the situations they represent are usually tenuous at best. Today we explore all of the types of codes, and shed some light these arcane medical euphemisms. Code Blue What it sounds like it means: Aggressively-scented cologne from Armani. What it actually means: ...

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“CODE BLUE, 7 SOUTH. CODE BLUE, 7 SOUTH.” I’m up and out of my call room bed before fully regaining consciousness from my light sleep. It’s 4 AM. I should feel ready: I’ve trained with simulations labs, mock codes, and test questions. I passed my CPR and ACLS courses. I’ve done chest compressions as an intern. But this is different. I’m the resident on call, and if I get there first, I’ll be running the ...

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