This is what life versus death looks like. This is what medicine verses mortality looks like. This is what science verses humanity looks like. After a thoracotomy, a fellow ER doctor Dr. Mitch Li snapped this picture of the spilled blood and Propofol on the trauma bay floor. Blood courses through every one of our veins to sustain life. Propofol courses through our veins only when we’re on the brink ...

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A man in his fifties is wheeled into the emergency department on a gurney hoping he’ll still be around to cheer from the sidelines at his daughter’s next soccer game. A little girl on the pediatric floor upstairs simply hopes her tummy stops hurting. A woman in the clinic explains her puzzling symptoms and hopes that this is the specialist who will finally be able to ascertain why she hasn’t ...

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I started my medical career late. Really late. By that time, I’d lived a few lives. I’d earned a boatload of initials. I’d changed husbands, languages, and continents. I’d written a useless novel, and I’d been a Mary Kay lady. One day over lunch as I was looking for something to do with myself, my husband suggested medicine. I spent the next nine years immersed in my medical training, feeling guilty ...

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Though many are not thrilled about the April 15th deadline, death is an even more inevitable part of life than taxes. Sometimes we try to lessen the impact of death through our words:  bit the dust, bought the farm, kicked the bucket, flat-lined, passed on, checked out, gave up the ghost, met his maker, paid the piper, put out of his misery, laid to rest, six feet under, pushing up daisies, ...

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“Guys, are you alright in there?” I ask casually while taking the first bite of my dinner on a 24-hour PICU shift. No answer. “What is going on? Why is she beeping so much? Is her tube blocked?” My voice gets louder. Complete human silence. Except for the deafening hypoxia monitor going to 30s. Heart rate monitor dipping to below 60s. All this beeping was coming from a six-month-old girl with a history ...

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I’m an ER doc. I care for patients. All patients: Those who need to be in the ER; those who don’t; those who wouldn’t be there if they knew better. For them, for you and for fun, I’ve got some tips to keep you happy, safe and away from my ER. Enjoy. 1. Never, ever say “hold my beer and watch this!” Besides “I do!” they are the most dangerous words ...

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If you’re in the emergency department, it’s probably the worst day of your life. You’re scared, confused, anxious, sad, maybe emotionally numb. You were at home with your husband and witnessed him have a cardiac arrest. He was unresponsive, and he wasn’t breathing. You felt hopeless because you didn’t know how to help him, but you called 911. They rushed him to the hospital, and you followed the ambulance. By the ...

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“Grandma fell and we’re in the emergency room. She’s very distressed and does not look good. I’m going to put the doctor on the phone.” I could hear my mother’s voice strain on the other end of the phone line as I braced myself for my conversation with the emergency department physician. The emergency physician told me that though the work-up was still developing, my grandmother was in respiratory distress, and that ...

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The new Holy Grail of business, Customer Satisfaction — CSAT to her close friends — is a measure of how products and services supplied by a company meet customer expectations. In a marketplace where businesses compete for customers, CSAT is a key element of strategy. Why? Money. Satisfied customers buy. They come back and buy more. They tell their friends, who’ll buy too. If satisfied, they’ll return and buy more. That’s gold for ...

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When I was a third-year medical student in 2006, I was assigned to spend the day at a well-known women’s health clinic in Toronto. I walked into the procedure room and introduced myself to the attending. His first words to me were: “Are you married?” I replied that I wasn’t married, and he (while continuing the procedure) asked, “Well, do you at least have a serious boyfriend?” Then he asked ...

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