I’m an ER doc, and proud of it. But I never mention it when I meet new people. Unless someone’s fixing to die, I avoid it like the plague. “I work in a hospital,” I say. “Where in the hospital?” “The ER. How about you?” That’s a topic changer, since most people would rather talk about themselves. Why not own it, you ask? There’s no shame in being a doctor. It’s not like ...

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There are limited studies regarding pediatric malpractice claims, especially for the emergency department (ED). A recent study of malpractice claims involving children highlights the role of communication and systems issues. This 10-year study is important because it focuses exclusively on children and provides data on the top specialties named as defendants, including emergency medicine. The study found communication breakdowns between patients/families, and providers contributed to 15 to ...

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In journalism, the lede is the first part of a news story. A good lede will entice the reader to read more. It contains the key points and gives the general idea of the article. Ledes are also crucial in the field of medicine. As a graduate student in journalism and a general practitioner, I can appreciate the value of ledes in both fields. When health care professionals communicate with each ...

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"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 ...

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On Saturday morning at the breakfast table surrounded by my husband and kids, I suddenly felt chest pain, palpitations, and was about to collapse. Being an internist, I knew it: arrhythmia. Paramedics at arrival confirmed it. I was running ventricular tachycardia. Out of the chaos surrounding me at that moment, my physician's brain assessed the situation: "VT. Serious arrhythmia." After that, I lost it. I became a scared-to-death patient who has a ...

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I hate confrontation.  It’s just the way I was raised.  I’m not saying it’s right, or healthy, it just happened.  My parents and I almost never confronted one another; even when it would have been healthier.  That, of course, is water under the bridge and not in any way a condemnation of my folks who were kind and loving and indulgent parents. But this tendency caused me to suppress emotions.  Whether ...

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Anyone who has spent any time on the internet knows better than to spend much time on the comments from an opinion piece. The comments section, even one on a site as reputable and respected as the New York Times, is often a minefield of trolls, contrarians, and conspiracy theorists. But after reading “The American Medical System Is One Giant Workaround” by Theresa Brown, I couldn’t resist. Among ...

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The clinic intake form we used had a space for an asylum number. The number assigned when people first presented to the border requesting asylum. It's not a tattoo, yet. Refugee Health Alliance (where I worked for much of July 2019) provides care for asylees, refugees, and deportees just across the border from San Diego in Tijuana. On Saturdays, RHA volunteers roll bulging suitcases filled with supplies to migrant's shelters to ...

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I walked into the room and said: "Hi, Jason." "Do you think it's deep enough to need stitches? I am really scared of needles," was his reply to me. I said, "Why don't you let me take a look, and we can both come up with a plan of how to make it look better?" "So do you think it needs stitches or not? I'm really scared." After taking a good look at his ...

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What is life? It's the cumulation of the daily processes all wrapped up into one, filling the void of each day. These processes coalesce hour by hour, filled with demands, expectations, current crisis, and bills to pay. Life is a full-contact sport, each hour brimming with all-encompassing activities, expectations, and trivial pursuits. We live every second to its fullest, squeezing every ounce of information and productivity only to repeat it ...

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