He was younger than I was — still in his twenties — but the patient had already had his chest opened twice. Deadly bloodstream infections contracted from sharing needles had destroyed his heart valves on two separate occasions. And now six months out from his most recent operation, he was back with fever and chills: ominous signs of another infection. That was years ago. The opioid epidemic hadn’t yet been declared ...

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“Hey, man, I’ve been getting destroyed all night running four ORs and haven’t eaten. I am going to eat dinner before I get out of here.  If anything emergent comes up, I can help out.  Just let me know.” As I wash my hands right after I hang up the phone, the overhead call comes out:  “Attention.  Your attention, please. A Level 1 trauma code has been activated in the adult ...

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Recently there was an article in the Washington Post titled, "Uber and Lyft think they can solve one of medicine’s biggest problems," in which these two companies are angling to provide better, safer more reliable transportation for patients. While I applaud this mission, given the depth and reach of both companies, I think they may be underselling their abilities to improve health care delivery and reduce cost. Recently, one of my ...

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The two-page letter of complaint was typed on crested letterhead. The words "utter disappointment" jumped off the page, bold-faced and caps-locked. "The doctors left me to bleed," she wrote, banging on the exclamation key as if she was firing lasers in a game of Space Invaders. "I was hemorrhaging, and they did nothing except pop in and tell me it would stop." The tirade was directed toward me and the ...

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Whether to circumcise a newborn male child is not the simple, binary “yes/no” question it appears to be. Rather, the choice is affected by an astonishing array of issues: religion, culture, health and hygiene, sexually transmitted infections, expense, pain and medical recommendations. Some cite ethical concerns regarding usurpation of a child’s free choice. Others claim an equivalency between neonatal male circumcision and the practice of female genital mutilation. As a practicing ...

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I’m an ED physician, so I’m used to patients screaming at me — sometimes with earsplitting demands for heavy-duty painkillers, morphine drips and similar remedies that will numb or “fix” them. I can deal with this. What I can’t deal with is a health system that incentivizes physicians like me to medicate adult patients, especially those at high risk for substance abuse, with little thought given to their long-term wellbeing. As ...

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I did not enjoy dating.  It was not fun to figure out who liked me, who didn’t, how did the date go, should I call them, should they call me, how long should I wait, the anxiety of rejection ... the list goes on.  My husband and I knew each other for years, and although we did not start dating right away, things worked out. I met the love of ...

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I hadn't thought about this call night in a while, as it happened three years ago. It came back into my consciousness this past week, when I re-experienced the events in a dream. (Of note, my stress dreams used to be about my car accident in 2014, which was a high-speed collision that left me in crutches. I guess I can now safely say that some call nights are actually ...

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I grabbed a few beach pillows, put on my old worn-out blue beach button down, poured myself a glass of whiskey and walked down to the beach from our villa to watch the sunset. My four friends and I were ten days deep into a two-week vacation. We had already toured Seoul, South Korea for three days, Tokyo, Japan for four days and Hong Kong for three days. So, I ...

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When you see your doctor, you want to know what’s wrong, follow the steps to recovery and get predictable results. Sadly, this is not always possible. Medicine is an art based on science that is constantly changing and full of things we don’t know. Here are four reasons why it seems like your doctors didn’t get it right — when we actually did:

  • Your symptoms or exam findings were not typical ...

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