Who remembers Jack Kevorkian, Doctor Death? He was found guilty in 1998 of second-degree murder. Still, it was because of his advocacy that the terminally ill patient's right to die by physician-assisted suicide was propelled into the public arena. And who can forget Brittany Maynard? It was her advocacy for physician-assisted suicide that reignited the debate on its legality in 2014 — but this ...

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If you’ve ever been in the hospital for a surgery, you probably had a resident speak to you about the procedure; you were presented a laundry list of risks, the benefits mentioned, asked if everything was understood. And finally, you initial in several spots before signing your name on the dotted line. You looked at the wall clock and noted that the conversation took a mere six minutes. Is this proper ...

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Pain and suffering together is a universal language. It is unspoken, one that a person of any age feels when they see a loved one die, or when someone sees another human being suffer when nothing more medically can be done. I once saw a Vietnam War veteran who, within a few years of returning home, suffered from a hemorrhagic stroke. He was robbed of his ability to walk, to talk, ...

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I yelled for the nurse as I wrapped my arms around Mr. John. He was suffering from a violent acute dystonic reaction from a dose of Haldol the night before. Severe muscle spasms overtook his entire body. I saw the whites of his eyes as his gaze shot to the ceiling. He had lost all control over his body — legs, torso, arms, neck, face, eyes. "I can't breathe, I can't ...

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Toward the end of my clinical rotations, I met Salma, a 34-year-old woman who came from Egypt with her family to the U.S. two years ago. Wearing a latte-colored hijab, she was here at the hospital to care for her father, who had a case of congestive heart failure exacerbation with pleural effusions. When deoxygenated blood comes to the right side of the heart, it gets pumped to the lungs to ...

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The one thing doctors want to avoid like the plague is a lawsuit — a medical malpractice lawsuit. To be sued means the doctor loses precious time from work, endures emotional personal and family distress and is unable to fully invest oneself in providing the very best medical care possible. It is a dark cloud that hovers over the majority of physicians at least once in their lives. Some medical specialties, ...

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As a law student, I recently was a legal extern at a hospital this summer. It’s a crazy thought because when I started medical school back in Fall 2015, my bus would pass through the pick-up/drop off zone at the hospital every single day at 7:43 a.m. I always saw physicians with their long white coats and coffees in hand walking through the automatic sliding doors. I too saw patients ...

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“I feel like I am going to die … I was in a major car accident last week because of blurry vision that came out of nowhere.” Becky was one of thirty or so patients I saw at the family medicine practice on a hot day in Houston. She came in because of worsening headaches for the last six months. “Can you describe your headaches for me?” “Well, they cover my entire head. ...

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“You were a Secret Service agent, Mr. Smith?” “I was indeed. For Presidents Ford and Carter.” “That’s incredible. What were they like?” “Well, President Carter would get up at 2:00 am and ask us if we’d like to go on a walk. Since most of the staff worked nights, I walked with him. We would walk for hours and talk shop. Carter is the most interesting man I’ve ever met and had the ...

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3:30 a.m. - Wake up. 4:00 a.m. - Leave apartment. 4:15 a.m. - Arrive at hospital. 4:20 a.m. - Print out the patient list. 4:20 - 5:25 a.m. - Split the list of 50 patients with your partner, go to a computer and write down for every patient their 24-hr vital signs, any reported fevers and what was done, what post-op day it is, what day of antibiotics and indications, discharge criteria, etc. 5:29 a.m. ...

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