Many government officials have begun to lift some restrictions on elective surgeries and procedures for hospitals. This means that some of those of us in medical professions not on the COVID-19 front lines will be returning to a workload closer to the pre-pandemic phase soon. For weeks, my radiology department has been relatively empty. Some have felt that having fewer personnel in the department has left us unnecessarily short-staffed for patients ...

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Before the age of modern understanding and drug development, HIV sparked fear, anxiety, and panic throughout the country. My eighth-grade science teacher was the first to teach me about HIV, a virus that makes so many mistakes in replicating itself that it confuses the host's immune system with its mutations. So fascinated by this bizarre product of biology, I knew then that I wanted to study viruses. I read all ...

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I recall clearly the effect that the first step of the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE) had on my medical education. The test is generally taken at the end of the second year of medical school, about halfway through the 4-year curriculum. What made the test so important is that its result could effectively rule a student out of certain highly competitive specialties (e.g., dermatology, orthopedic surgery, ...

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The impact of science on the well-being on our planet has never been more important than it is now. We are all looking to science and technology in a search for answers and resources. We keep watching television in search of these answers, but we are left unsatisfied because we don’t understand medical science.

A great deal of what we know as doctors comes from other doctors. ...

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As a radiologist, it should come as no surprise that I am not a “touchy” person. Not only do I remember the first MeToo movement that coincided with the 1991 Clarence Thomas hearings, but I just assume that people don’t want to be touched unless they initiate it. A resident told me that my face turned pale two months ago when a medical student I was quizzing in ...

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I recently received a postcard in the mail titled “President Trump’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America.” The first of these recommendations is to follow the directions of my state and local authorities. In my community, notable restrictions on commerce have been handed down by my governor, my mayor, and a county judge. This has had a crippling effect on our local economy as we brace for the storm to get worse. For ...

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The goal of “flattening the curve” regarding the novel coronavirus pandemic is to slow transmission such that we avoid seeing a large unmanageable peak of infections at once. It doesn’t necessarily mean that fewer people will be infected from start to finish, but it probably does mean that the outbreak will be extended to spread our resources out over a longer period to allow for replenishment. Simply put, we are ...

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In the midst of this coronavirus pandemic, a friend of mine relayed a troubling story to me recently. My friend is a dermatologist who is 9-months pregnant, living and working in a county with no known community spread of the novel coronavirus. After spending time examining a 19-year-old with acne, the patient told her that she was under self-quarantine due to exposure to the coronavirus in New York. Her college in New ...

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Graduation from my residency program was a bittersweet experience. At the time, my specialty was suffering from a crippling job shortage, so our futures were uncertain, and a dark mood had come to permeate my radiology residency. We were disgruntled with the specialty, with the system, and with medicine in general. I attended my graduation without any guests and only stayed long enough to receive my certificate. I was, however, honored ...

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I overheard a disappointing phone call while supervising a radiology resident recently. I could tell that the resident was struggling in a conversation with an emergency department physician, so I asked him to switch over to speakerphone. Eventually, I heard the emergency physician say, "Listen. This is how it works. A patient points to what hurts. Then I have that part scanned, and you tell me what is wrong." Disheartening as ...

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I can still recall my first day of medical school orientation. A humbling silence fell across a sea of 162 enthusiastic and largely arrogant aspiring trainees as the dean proclaimed, “As doctors, you will all kill someone at some point in your career.” I did not give this declaration much thought at the time. I already had a career as a diagnostic radiologist in my sites and believed that radiologists were ...

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The sky was overcast as my girlfriend dropped me off at the airport on a June day several years back. I was headed to Chicago to take the last meaningful high stakes exam of my medical training, a mandatory board exam available only at two sites, a test that 1 in 6 residents now fail. One might think of such an event as something to look forward to, ...

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Peg began internal medicine residency with altruistic goals. She didn’t want to become a specialist or seek personal financial wealth. She just wanted to help people. With a prior career related to her degrees in art history and sculpture, she had a unique way of truly embracing medicine as an art. Rarely spotted without a smile on her face despite long training hours in the hospital, she eagerly embraced taking ...

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It was a beautiful day in southern California as I made my way along Interstate 5 en route to San Diego from Los Angeles. Seeking a venue near the ocean to get some work done on my computer and maybe a snack with my iced tea, I turned off the interstate in search of a restaurant I had heard about with a good local reputation and well-reviewed food.


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As a radiologist, I interpret thousands of imaging studies every year. Of the millions of medical images that have crossed my screen, they all have one thing in common. They were all acquired by a technologist in the radiology department. Imaging technologists perform a vital role in medicine. All have specialized training that is unique and critical to patient care. Truth be told, many of them have a greater knowledge base ...

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As I sat in a frozen yogurt store a couple of years back, I watched as two young men pulled up in an expensive vehicle. They were wearing athletic attire from a private faith-affiliated university in the neighborhood. Both grabbed sample cups and cup-by-cup consumed about ten dollars-worth of yogurt each before jestfully yelling “Gracias” to the Latin store employee and walking out the door without paying for anything. Then ...

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“I want answers!” My mother was upset over the care for her ill husband. Previously able to converse normally, he was now incoherent and disoriented. The recent recipient of a bone marrow transplant to treat his advanced leukemia, he probably experienced a brain infection because of the immune suppression therapy needed to accept the marrow. The marrow transplant didn’t work. He was sent home from the hospital on hospice care ...

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A good friend of mine, B., once told me a few years ago that before her divorce, her husband was verbally and occasionally even physically abusive toward her. Somewhat shocked by this news, I expressed how glad I was that she had gotten out of that situation. I did not think that B. would be a typical victim of domestic abuse. Coming from an affluent background, we met as co-workers in ...

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Medical school was a difficult adjustment for me. Coming from a blue-collar background and lacking a medical pedigree, I did not relate to most of my classmates, and I made very few friends. That changed when I met J., a second-generation physician-to-be without the competitive guile or sense of entitlement implicit in most of the medical students I had met. With a generous personality undoubtedly sculpted by the experience of motherhood, ...

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Having worked at both community hospitals and major medical centers, the issue of ultrasound in pregnancy has revealed itself to be more complex over the years. As a resident, I worked with an obstetrics office that only scanned their own patients who had private insurance and would send uninsured or Medicaid patients (often with a high risk of inadequate prenatal care) to the hospital late in the day to be ...

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