As part of my medical school’s inter-professional learning, I shadowed a hospital chaplain this afternoon. While physicians principally attend to the physical healing of patients, chaplains also fulfill an important role in health care: meeting the spiritual needs of patients. When faced with disease, patients often grapple with deeper questions about their illness beyond just what the diagnosis and treatment plans are. Immediately upon arriving at the hospital, there was a ...

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As a boy growing up in a small town in Pennsylvania, I never gave much thought to the concept of a kiss. My family gave and received kisses without hesitation. I continue to give and receive kisses from my wife and kids in the same nonchalant manner. Until one night — on shift. I work in the ER of a medium-sized town in southern Oregon. It was late into my shift. The ...

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The final year of any residency is a time of accelerated independence, moonlighting, and an intense search for that first job as an attending. This decision is critical as one embarks on a life-long career in medicine, and it will undoubtedly blend a mix of analytics, emotion, and finance into the final analysis. With a bit of candor, I want to share the mistakes I made when accepting my first contract ...

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A guest column by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, exclusive to KevinMD.com. The grayish white zippered sheet being laid on the patient stretcher was the first clue. It was the middle of a busy day at the hospital. I had been taking care of several patients for their elective surgeries in the operating room (OR) when ...

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A young woman stands in the freezing cold outside an urban Baltimore hospital. The woman, covered only by a thin hospital gown, moans incoherently at the man capturing her suffering on cellphone video. As seen on the now-viral video, she’d been left there by security personnel employed by the supposed place of healing just a few yards away. It hurts to watch. Mass ...

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I am an emergency medicine physician. I save lives. As an ER physician, my job is frequently misunderstood. A common question that patients ask is, “What specialty are you hoping to go into?” The misconception is that emergency rooms are staffed by cardiologists, internists, etc., who are trying to make extra income. That’s likely not the case anymore. Some also believe that we can take the place of their family doctor. Or ...

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On September 1, 2017, four children and their grandparents drowned while their uncle was trying to drive them to safety. Their van was swept off the road by rushing floodwaters. The uncle was able to escape through a half-open window as the van sank headfirst into the bayou. As the van sank, he could hear the four children screaming and crying. Two days later, the van was found, with all ...

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I had just taken my final anatomy exam and finished a long two-month ordeal dissecting through and memorizing every component of the human body. At the beginning of the course, I had been excited, energized, honored to commence such a foundational experience in medical training. By the end, I was exhausted, wanting nothing more than just to sleep. The very next day, we began physiology with two weeks of cardiology separating ...

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My pediatric practice is one which harkens back to days long ago when physicians knew their patients and pertinent medical histories by heart. My 81-year-old father and I were in practice together for the past 16 years; he still used the very sophisticated “hunt and peck” to compose emails. The task of transitioning to an electronic record system seemed insurmountable, so we remain on paper. Our medical record system has ...

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Sometimes life just walks right up and slaps you in the face. It happened to me while attending the dynamic FIX17 conference in NYC, and it led to an epiphany: At the ripe old age of 59, I am officially a dinosaur. I was giving a talk on the history of women in medicine. Passionate about the topic, I spent months planning and organizing the lecture, weaving what I hoped was an intriguing tale ...

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