We love our morbidity and mortality rounds in medicine. A time when we can look over some medical mistakes and take some time to analyze what went wrong. We debate, criticize, and some of us like to imagine that we’d never make such an egregious error.
But why are we always paying attention to the negative outcomes?
One perspective is that it’s a function of how ...
I'm here today to let you in on a little secret. It's not something that I'm particularly proud of, and it's work that I'm always trying to improve upon. But it's true. And today you're about to find out something I'm desperately trying to hide.
So here it is. Yes, I'm a doctor. And yes, I'd like to think that I'm pretty good at my job. But you know what? There ...
Being a physician is an important role. It's easy to forget the impact that you have on a patient just by being at their bedside.
Have you ever been a patient? It's an incredibly vulnerable experience.
You're not really sure what's happening and what is going to happen next.
People are really putting their faith in you to understand their needs and to ease their suffering. It's a powerful thing to ease ...
It's 2 a.m. And I'm in the emergency room. There are beads of sweat dripping from my forehead. One of my nurses comments that I just don't look quite right. I can feel the urge to vomit and know where the nearest trash can is at all times.
I'm clearly sick. Febrile. Shouldn't be working. But it's the middle of a night shift, and I've got patients to see. I place ...
"Slowly comes the hour, it's passing speed how great."
- Samuel Cowper
Our careers will end someday.
Of course, we know this deep down, but I think we lose sight of it amid our training and the day-to-day grind of our jobs.
But just this past week, I was given a little reminder.
At our Christmas party, we took some time to honor one of our colleagues on his journey to retirement. He had spent ...
What really makes a person complete?
What do we want in our lives, and what is it like to become our best, most fulfilled selves?
In the 1960s, psychologist Abraham Maslow tried to answer this question. This eventually led to his well-known hierarchy of needs. You might be familiar with the pyramid.
The premise of the theory is that once we fulfill our basic needs ...
As a young medical student, in my early 20s, I was still too inexperienced to know how a physician was "supposed to" act.
But I took the model of stoicism that I learned from my East Indian father and applied it to the medical model. Lectures on "professional detachment" reinforced this. I remember being told that it was the doctor's job to keep a professional distance from a patient. By getting ...
We can learn a lot about ourselves by looking at, and thinking about, perceptual illusions and our biases.
Look at the image above. The classic, Muller-Lyer illusion.
We know that the two lines are the same size. But no matter how much we intuitively "know" this to be true, we see the top line as bigger. We can't unsee it — even if we ...
"The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between them."
- Achilles Charles Debussy
Silence is an important part of our everyday lives. Yet, we often don’t consider its critical importance in helping us to reflect on what we’re doing. This is especially important in medicine where we’re so busy sometimes that we forget that what we say and do actually has huge implications on people’s lives.
This is even ...
Recently, I had dinner with an old colleague that I trained in residency with. It’s been a while since we’ve graduated, but the topic turned to how our lives have changed since those early days. Over drinks, my friend said something that stuck with me and inspired this post.
“You know, things aren’t perfect. But we’ve got really good problems.”
He’s right. I think we sometimes lose sight of the fact that ...
The emergency room is an interesting place to work. It’s controlled chaos. Walk through the hallways, and you’ll hear people screaming, see others crying, and others wincing in pain.
Over time, you get a unique perspective on the human condition. In my years of training and practice, I’ve seen so much. People experiencing their worst days. Others receiving news that will change everything. Some lives ending. Others returning from the brink.