In loving memory of my grandfather, my first physician mentor. Earlier this year, my 90-year-old grandfather passed away unexpectedly after undergoing transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). Similar to many elderly patients who die each year in the United States, his death was preceded by a litany of costly and time-consuming tests and treatments. Despite this extensive workup, the end of his life was shadowed by suffering left unaddressed. But, unlike the ...

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I have a mentor who is quite gifted at getting me to break a sweat in the OR. No matter how well an operation is going, she’ll have me set my instruments down. “If this doesn’t work, what’s your plan B?” We discuss how variations in anatomy, damage to critical structures, or unanticipated pathology could change our operative plan. She challenges me to not only consider plan B, but plans ...

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I walk into a tiny ER room and shut the glass door behind me. The smell is dizzying. I look down and see a frail man lying on a stretcher. A soiled bandage on his left leg is halfway unfurled. He is diaphoretic. He sleepily opens his eyes when I say his name. For me, I have barely begun my assessment, but the writing is on the wall. This man ...

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