What do you think of when you hear the word medicine? Perhaps it includes doctors, nurses, pills, prescriptions, operations, surgery, wounds, illness and disease, curing and healing, science, study, university? But whatever your picture of medicine — does it include love? I’m not a betting person, but I reckon for most who work within the profession that love is not top of the list, or even near the top. In fact, it probably ...

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As doctors, we love to think we are intelligent, rational, thoughtful and caring human beings, and we take pride in our profession and the privilege and status it accords. We like to hold our heads high, puff out our chests, speak with authority and convey our hard-earned knowledge acquired over many years of undergraduate and post-graduate study. We like to think we know; we have answers; we can cope; we ...

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Have you ever stopped to consider who you are or what defines you? Is your self-worth or self-esteem wrapped up in those two little letters "Dr."? How would you feel if they were removed? Would you know who you are without them? As medical students we work hard, study long hours, sit tons of exams and tests, to ultimately prove we have what it takes -- that we are intelligent enough, to be a ...

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Evolution is part of life, something we accept as a fact and evidenced by the changes we see and know compared to hundreds of years ago. No one can dispute the great technological advances that have been made; transport has been revolutionized from the animal power of horse and cart to the mechanized systems of train, plane and automobile we have today. Communication systems once reliant upon the written word and ...

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It is a common experience to feel that our body has let us down when we get sick. We may feel it is broken or flawed in some way and if only it was better designed we wouldn’t have to suffer illness and disease. Likewise, we tend to consider illness and disease as something bad that has happened to us and which we associate with suffering of some kind, be ...

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Mental illness has long been associated with shame and stigma. Although progress has been made through the efforts of global celebrities like Stephen Fry and many others to de-stigmatize mental illness -- many are still ashamed to admit to it, and the stigma is far from being annihilated. Nowhere is this stigma more entrenched than within the medical profession itself. A fact that should shock us out of our judgmental slumbers ...

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The FIRST (Flexibility in Duty Hour Requirements for Surgical Trainees) trial randomized American surgical residency programs to one of two arms:

  • Standard group continued with their current standard restricted hours practice of 80 hours per week with time for breaks/rest and a limit to hours of work at any one time.
  • "Flexible" hours group removed current restrictions on hours worked at any one time and waived the need for breaks ...

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“Liver Transplant Surgeon Addicted to Alcohol” -- reads like a headline from a tabloid paper selling sensationalism. How could it be? How could a liver transplant surgeon, someone who sees up close and personal the devastating effects of alcohol on the body, be addicted to alcohol? Surely the diseased, fibrosed, hard, shrunken cirrhotic livers with dilated and engorged veins that can rupture and bleed catastrophically; the yellow eyes and skin of the ...

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As surgeons we are privileged to have our hands work inside someone’s body with the intention of alleviating suffering, removing sources of pain, excising diseased organs, fixing this or that, ultimately to improve someone’s quality of life, prolong it or at times even save it. Yet we also know that people can suffer complications from surgery, that in some cases are fatal, and where our good intentions seemingly backfire. Patient deaths ...

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