As I saw the fellow purposely manipulate her fractured ankle, I knew I was wrong in not stopping him. Three hours earlier, Mr. Sanchez*, a past boxer, and soccer player, came in with a broken pinky. He was moving from Atlanta to Houston, and in the process of moving boxes, a rock smashed his finger against something. Odd story, but he was the nicest patient I ever talked to up to ...

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“Are you serious! What are you doing to my son! How can you have him tied to the bed like this!” Michael’s* mother was irate and yelling at my resident as I stood at the back of the room. Michael had HIV/AIDS with a CD4 count of 20. Hours before, he had bit his mom on the hand, leaving visible bite marks. As his mom continued to scold my resident, my ...

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As a rising fourth-year med student, these are my words of wisdom for all students who are on their clinical rotations. Your mental health is paramount; do not neglect how you are feeling! There is not one med student that I know of who hasn’t felt anxiety, paranoia, or depression. Some of your peers may even be diagnosed with psychiatric disorders and take medications. And that is OK! As a mentor of ...

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I am frequently asked: "Why are you pursuing a dual MD/JD?" Neither profession is a family business; no one in my family is a doctor or a lawyer — but I’ve always dreamt big. I always wanted to get the most possible out of my education. Beginning in elementary school, I knew I wanted to be a doctor, but it was not until college that I ...

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Every day, 100 Americans are killed with guns. Forty-four percent of American adults report knowing someone who has been shot. As a society, we have come to accept gun violence as commonplace and not something to take immediate action on. We hear about a new mass shooting on the television, on social media, on the radio or from a friend. We shake our heads in disbelief, ponder on how this is ...

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On January 22, 1973, Roe v. Wade established a woman’s fundamental right to abortion nationwide. Roe v. Wade should not be overruled because women having universal access to abortion services means women have the right to choose what is best for their health care. This is how health care should be in that if there is a viable medical option for the patient to pursue, the patient should have the ...

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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 — ...

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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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Samuel was an English gentleman hailing from London. Close to 10 percent of the U.S. population, over 30 million people, lives with diabetes. Five years ago, Samuel was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Taking lisinopril and glipizide, he also goes on hour-long walks every morning at 6:30 a.m. to keep his A1c at his comfort number of 5.5. It has not always been this way for Samuel as he was ...

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In medical school, you’re not taught how to give stellar patient presentations. Yes, you’re shown the traditional order of things: “Give an effective one-liner first, then tell the HPI [history of present illness] but only give pertinent info, etc.” Just exactly how to deliver the punch that impresses your attending is an art. And it’s an art that takes some time to perfect. My very first time presenting a patient was ...

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If you're reading this, you may have a son, a daughter, a family friend, or know of someone who is in college and considering medical school. As a medical student mentor, I share words of advice to my alma mater's American Medical Student Association chapter and thought I would share them here. 1. When preparing for the MCAT, take a diagnostic test at the beginning of your study period, one in ...

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Back in the 70s, Dr. Denton A. Cooley would do eight or so heart operations a day often on babies and children with heart defects. One day, he operated on four babies. Three of them died. It was around eight o'clock at night, and as Dr. Cooley walked down the hall with his team, he said, "Today was a bad day, but ...

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