This piece is a retelling of the poem “Do not go gentle into that good night” by Dylan Thomas. As an emergency physician who has borne witness to suffering and death, I have felt the futility and bravery of fighting against the dying of the light among individuals from all walks of life. Bearing witness to suffering and death is one of the greatest privileges and burdens of physicians. May we all ...

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Walking through the sliding glass doors at 10:55 p.m. on a Monday, I found myself wondering if it would be a good shift or a bad shift. In emergency medicine, a “good shift” has to strike many delicate balances. It can’t be too busy, but it also can’t be too Q-Word-That-Must-Not-Be-Named. It should have some high acuity patients, but not so many that care becomes unmanageable. The staff and residents ...

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To the residents graduating in 2020 and joining us in the ranks as physicians, from a residency educator: Victor Frankl was an Austrian psychiatrist and holocaust survivor. He was paraphrasing Goethe when he said: “If you take a man as he is, you make him worse. If you take him as he should be, you make him capable of becoming what he can be.” When you started as interns, we, your educators, ...

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Recently, thousands of new residency and fellowship graduates have earned their wings and will be, mostly metaphorically, hanging out their shingles. Sadly, though, as the excitement of finally finishing training after decades of schooling wears off, even great work can become routine. There is a parable about three men laying bricks. When asked what they were doing, the first man said, “Laying bricks.” The second man said, “Building a church.” And ...

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A speech to graduating residents. It’s an easy thing to count the number of seeds in an apple. In our residency class of 2018 we have nine seeds, and on your graduation, we scatter you across the country. You each carry amazing potential that we have hopefully helped nurture over your years here. You will be caring doctors kneeling by bedsides. You will be national leaders changing policies. You will be ...

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