The kids were asleep, and I could hear a muted, distant moaning coming from our bedroom. It reminded me of labor pains, but there were three things making labor unlikely: my wife’s IUD, the absence of a gravid abdomen and the kind of unintentional celibacy that occurs between working parents raising two toddlers. I tried to ignore the moaning. In part, because it was a Sunday night, and the sound ...

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This discussion is something I’ve tossed around in my head for awhile.  As I have gone back and forth on the topic, I decided to debate myself while I answer the question: Is work-life balance a real thing?  If so, what is it and can it be achieved, specifically in a demanding field such as medicine that often expects your job to be your life? In this corner: Cynical Rogue Dad Of course, ...

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In the emergency room, the stress is palpable. The hairs on your neck rise up as you enter the resuscitation bay where the next unconscious patient has just arrived. You can almost feel death as it circulates through the air, like a vulture in the sky. The air tastes sterile, and you hear the crash cart and ultrasound being rolled over to the patient’s bed. The patient was fine 20 minutes ...

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When I read the Washington Post article about the CDC censoring seven words last Friday night, my mind immediately jumped to the youth I take care of every day in my Baltimore clinic.  It felt like a direct attack on the very patients I became a doctor to treat: the transgender young person initiating gender-affirming hormone treatment; the young woman seeking inpatient addiction treatment for the first ...

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“I don’t teach IMGs.” It was such a simple and concise statement. Four words. But it felt like a bullet that was heated in the depths of hell had pierced through my heart when I heard those words. My ears burned and I felt physically ill. I wondered to myself, “Am I really that bad at medicine? Am I even going to make it? Should I just quit?” I felt lesser ...

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As I walked into the room, I see my patient lying in bed, eyes closed. His wife of 50-plus years sat in the recliner next to him grasping his right hand. The holiday season was upon us. My patient has spent the better part of the last month in the hospital. His wife was staring at the pretty scenery outside with her weary, tired eyes. It had started snowing this morning. ...

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Every mama bear fiber in my being was screaming at me that I shouldn't be there. The patient's lips were moving, but the words were basically “wah wah wah” as if Charlie Brown's teacher were speaking. All I could hear over and over in my head was the phone call from my youngest about his brother's accident at camp. “Mom, Cole's hurt. He's in the ambulance.” My eyes were seeing my ...

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The complaint was constipation. In the exam room, a quiet girl stood in a too big johnny, her eyes staring down at the floor. The 13-year-old was here with her “aunt.” Like over 50,000 children before her, she’d made the fifteen hundred mile plus journey from El Salvador to escape the violence of government and gang fighting, perhaps not knowing Mara Salvatrucha and the other gangs hung out only a ...

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There's currently an image in heavy circulation making its way around the internet of a hospital patient's chest tattooed with the words "Do **not** resuscitate," accompanied by what is assumed to be the man's signature. This 70-year-old patient arrived at an emergency department unconscious with elevated blood alcohol levels. He did not have any form of identification on him, and his health care providers did not have an identifiable means ...

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My alarm went off at 4:15 a.m. I lay in bed dreading the day ahead of me. By 4:50 a.m., I arrive at the nursing home where I was doing a geriatric rotation. A stack of charts and a patient complaint list was awaiting me. On the list were the usual suspects: a follow up for lab results, a fall, abdominal pain. And at the bottom was a note on ...

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