The high-pitched wail of the pneumatic saw cutting through the tibia, and the little bits of tissue the blade flung onto the surgeon’s gown were not enough to get to me the first time I saw a surgery, during my senior year in high school. It was the smell. Sliding down the wall in the corner of the operating room, wondering if lunch would stay put, I began to question ...

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I am frequently asked the following question: “Should I pay off my student loans before I put money aside to invest in the stock market?” The person asking this quick and simple question is looking for a yes or no answer. The problem I am faced with is there is not enough information in the question to give a proper answer. Therefore, I say, it depends. It depends on how the ...

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I recently had an experience that opened my eyes to a big problem in medicine: availability. My son came to me one morning and said he was kept awake by the dripping over his bed. My roof was leaking. Once I found the source of the leak and discovered that it was more than I wanted to tackle, I needed to find a roofer. Every call to a roofing company resulted in ...

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Recently, I had the privilege of presenting the Clinical Specialty Award for General Surgery at the 2017 Graduate Awards Celebration at Western University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific (COMP-NW). It was amazing to hear all the accomplishments and meet so many wonderful new doctors in this year’s class. I also got the opportunity to meet a few proud parents and professors. The list of accomplishments of ...

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There has been much talk over the years about resident work hours. How long is a safe shift? With safety being considered for both the patient and the resident. But no one ever discusses attending work hours. If putting in a 24-hour shift is bad for a resident, isn’t it bad for an attending as well? When I was working in critical access hospitals, I usually was on call for ...

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Debt is destroying the lives of doctors everywhere. The cost of getting an education has moved into the ridiculous range. Many doctors are now starting their practice so far in the hole, that they do not see the way out. I would not have been able to start on my debt-free journey (I peaked at more than $600,000) if I had not developed a new attitude toward debt. Putting debt into ...

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I read it again this week, and I wonder why the editors of our medical journals continue to perpetuating this falsehood. An article in a prominent journal stated again that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States. We all know this is not the case, and yet editors continue to let this be stated in their journals as if it were fact. Ever since the ...

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Most physicians, including me, would fall into the category of type A personalities, always on the go with a constant need to be productive. We cram every minute of the day with productivity and leave little time in our schedule for fun and recreation. Even type A personalities need a break from working to recharge their personal batteries. How often have you been packing for a vacation and included work ...

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What is your dream job? It’s the one you would do every day even if no one paid you. When you find it, you never really go to work each day, you go and play. If that is the kind of joy received from working, then burnout will likely be a long way out of reach. Are there any jobs like that out there for doctors? Yes, there are. But ...

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If it’s time to establish your first practice or change to a new one, don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s no big deal where you go. The decision you’re about to make will positively or negatively impact the rest of your life. If you don’t choose right, the correction can be very expensive and take a high emotional toll. The cost attributed to one of my friend’s moves to ...

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