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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