In my second year of residency, I was on the hematology/oncology service where we were taking care of a pleasant lady in her 80s who was admitted with pancreatic cancer. It was apparent that the disease had spread rapidly, and when we discussed her at rounds, we knew that she likely had a few months to live, at best. We also knew, however, that there were life-extending treatment options we ...

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When I walked into the hospital room with my team to meet him for the first time, what struck me was how young he looked. He was listed as 26 years old, but he looked younger than that. He looked so young that it was hard to believe he had served a tour in Iraq a few years prior, or that he likely saw things there that no one would ...

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As we enter into the hospital each day, our goal is giving patients the best care we can provide. We get a list of patients that we will take care of each day, and as we get that list, we start thinking about what we should monitor in terms of their physical exam, lab results, and vital signs to ensure that their hospital course runs smoothly for the day. However, ...

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To my beloved patients and your families, Over the years, it has been an incredible experience and honor to be allowed to enter into your world. It is a world that I know few people are privy to, and it is an intimate world where the deepest questions about life tend to arise. I know that when you are confronted with sickness that leads you into this world, it can be ...

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For any health care professional, a typical day in the hospital brings about its unique challenges. Depending on the patients that we see, one second the situation can be routine, and the next second, it can become complex. In the midst of this flux, there is an expectation for us to make important decisions, with the speed of these decisions dependent on how a patient is doing at a given ...

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I remembered staring at the computer screen with the radiologist hoping that by staring at the images, they would change in some way. It did not seem fair that a nice lady that I was evaluating in the emergency room would be consigned to such tragic images. I was rotating through the emergency room during my second year of residency, and one of the patients had come in just for ...

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To my younger self, I remember how excited you were when you finally settled on medicine as the thing that you wanted to do as a career in your junior year of college. I remember all the questions you had about what the process entailed since no one in your family had undertaken this journey before. I even remember some of the doubts you had when you thought about how long ...

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I was standing outside of the patient room with two family members, a faithful wife, and a devoted mother. In the sea of faces that surrounded his bed on a daily basis, these were the two that stood out to me. For this young man in his 30s who was battling metastatic colon cancer, his wife, and his mother were his strongest advocates, constantly seeking answers about his prognosis and ...

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For many people in medical training, one period of time that they look forward to is the elective period. Most of the time, these periods are available for people to explore potential career opportunities, whether it is a certain subspecialty or a research opportunity. Usually, people are not on call and weekends are free, luxuries that are often sparse during the rigors of medical training. Most of the time, one ...

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On a typical day in a major hospital, patients pass through the emergency room with different ailments. Some of them are coming in to check out minor aches and pains, and others are coming in barely responsive with a life-threatening condition. Outside of the pediatric ward, all of the patients coming in are adults, and the majority of them are advanced in years, showing signs of chronic conditions taking effect ...

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A few months ago, I came across a young man who had come in with increasing fatigue and shortness of breath that was limiting his quality of life. As a barber, he looked forward to cutting hair and talking with his clients about the events that were happening in their lives. On the surface, it appeared that things were going well for him overall, but people were not aware that ...

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As we enter into the Thanksgiving season, the question of what we are thankful for is frequently asked . Perhaps it is a good reminder for us to take a step back and express gratitude for events that or people who have made a true impact on our lives. I think that for us as medical professionals, it is all the more important, since conditions in the hospital may make ...

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Another workday comes to an end. 11 a.m. rolls around and freedom from the hospital beckons after another 24-hour call is finished. In the span of the preceding day, it is likely that numerous important decisions had to be made with the expectation that all of your mental faculties would be used, irrespective of what time of day it was or how much sleep was obtained. It is a day ...

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Recently, Pope Francis visited Philadelphia to finish out his five-day visit to the United States. Prior to his visit, many hospitals in the city were preparing for possible emergencies involving visitors from many countries around the globe, particularly elderly visitors. On-call teams were present in these hospitals, and contingency plans were in place in case people needed to be transported emergently to different hospitals despite the high level of security ...

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In medical training, one of the main things that is emphasized is the importance of acting professionally. We encounter patients who have a particular idea of how doctors are supposed to act during the patient-physician encounter, and for the most part, I expected that they would want a doctor who is caring, but serious, at the same time. In those encounters, we are focusing on the health of patients, a very ...

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Throughout the course of a physician’s career, many patients come across the path with numerous complaints and medical conditions requiring interpretations and actions, respectively. In a field with little time to see everybody at length, pattern recognition becomes important to make efficient decisions with regards to patient care. Usually, it involves focusing on the patient’s condition exclusively, but at times, the social aspects of a patient come into play with ...

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shutterstock_204483163 One of my favorite books of late has been Confessions by St. Augustine. It is a very honest book that talks about the development of the faith of a young man who struggled to accept the faith that he was raised in. Throughout the book, one can sense the inner turmoil he felt at times trying to reconcile his faith with the ...

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shutterstock_233166463 "Knowledge is power." The words of Sir Francis Bacon still ring true almost 400 years later. For the most part, knowledge can provide the power to change lives, change communities and change the world. People born in adverse conditions can potentially improve their circumstances with a degree from higher education, and it is why the first college degree in a family ...

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“A thousand times we die in one life. We crumble, break and tear apart until the layers of illusion are burned away, and all that is left, is the truth of who and what we really are.” The coronary care unit (CCU) rotation is a unique place. Postoperative cardiothoracic surgery patients among many other pathologies from heart failure to heart transplant fill the unit, and it is the job of the ...

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shutterstock_127169975 A few months ago, I was on call as a cardiology fellow, and I had to go up to one of the inpatient floors to do a stat echocardiogram on a patient. Given how hemodynamically unstable he was, I was rushing to the room as fast as I could with this hefty machine that could give important information about cardiac function ...

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