It is well known that smoking cigarettes negatively impacts health and leads to an increased risk of stroke, heart disease, lung cancer and death. No one debates this anymore. But it wasn’t always this way, and it didn’t come easily. In the 1940s, almost half of the population in the United States smoked, and the tobacco industry was subsequently incredibly powerful and politically active. It spent millions of ...

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Otis was our first baby. He was covered in a caramel-colored fur, weighed 150 pounds and was the best bullmastiff dog anyone could ask for. He protected me from my husband’s incessant tickle attacks and thought that my lap was the best place for him to try and sit. Two years ago, I was walking Otis and he suddenly collapsed. After an extensive workup, including an EKG, blood work and an ...

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A 6-year-old boy with abnormal pupils and gasping for breath. A 26-year-old pregnant woman with a gunshot wound to her abdomen. A 54-year-old male with blood pouring from a wound in his thigh. Now add 43 more patients. Imagine you are the paramedic at this scene.  Who do you take to the hospital first?  Who do you have to choose to walk past and leave at the scene while you take your patient to ...

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Guilt was not a huge part of my vocabulary until I became a mom.  I never felt much guilt about how I spent my time.  Didn’t feel guilty about sleeping in, or working out, or having a girls’ night out.  And so on and so forth. And then I became a mom.  You know, that moment when you get shoved into the most beautiful world; a place more beautiful than you could ...

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He had loved her with all his being for more than six decades. In the last two years of their 61-year marriage, he had watched helplessly as dementia wrapped its noose around her, slowly tightening its grip on her mind and pulling her away from him. When I met him, I knew the injury was irrecoverable. Her brain was consumed by hemorrhage that had filled the space (cerebral atrophy) left behind by progressive dementia ...

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My heart tells me I lost them.  My brain tells me I never had them to lose. One of my mentors has said that all trauma surgeons have their own personal graveyard, filled with patients we couldn’t save, and families’ hearts left broken.  A truer statement has never been said, and this weekend, this trauma surgeon’s graveyard has increased yet again. The feelings that accompany this increase are always varying and deep. There ...

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Burnout, burnout, burnout.  It seems like that is all anyone wants to talk about these days.  And I admit, some days, I can get burnt out on burnout.  But, all the attention on the subject got me thinking.  Did burnout not exist 30 years ago? Why is this such a hot topic now? And that is what brings me to this post; I came to the realization that burnout very much existed ...

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You all have prostates. Seriously.  But let me explain further to those people who simply can not fathom as to how a woman could dare ask for maternity leave and expect her other team members to “pick up her slack, because she chose to get pregnant.”  (Yep, check the comments section on my last post. Pretty entertaining, in fact!) Life happens to everyone. If my profession as a trauma surgeon has ...

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shutterstock_194789030 Dear drunk driver, Tonight, I am tired. Tired from lack of sleep, tired from the long hours, and tired from bearing witness to your destruction. Tonight, you caused an accident while under the influence of alcohol. And you are badly injured, requiring emergency surgery. Your liver is hard, cirrhotic, and unforgiving. Although I can get you through this first surgery, I know you will ...

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shutterstock_237020656 A couple of years ago, I asked a friend of mine how she met her husband.  It was at a bar, and when she asked his occupation he replied, “I work for the city.”  She took that to mean he was a construction worker.  They began dating and quickly fell in love.  Much to her surprise about a month into their ...

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