The recent passing of former first lady Barbara Bush, an American icon, also brought a commonly debated discussion to light, palliative, and end of life care. Many articles were published regarding her last days, mentioning she was “foregoing further medical care” or “no longer pursuing medical treatment.” These types of statements are not only inaccurate, they also minimize the incredible medical care provided by palliative care and hospice teams. To realize ...

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I recently received a call from a physician resident in the Northeast U.S. who had been notified that she would be terminated from her residency program for a “weak knowledge base.” There would be no contract offered to her for the coming academic year. She reports that her scores are no worse than several of her colleagues and that her accredited program has a history of arbitrarily dismissing residents. She ...

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The ability to lead is not something that comes naturally to everyone. There are some people out there who are wired to lead right from when they are very young -- but these are few and far between. Most of us have to train ourselves, and acquire the necessary leadership skills based on our own learning curve and experiences. The fact is that we are all leaders in one way ...

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Undoubtedly, my favorite part of my non-clinical work is hearing from fellow physicians about their lives in medicine.  Every once in a while, I receive an email that puts beautifully into words some of my own struggles. A few weeks ago, I received an email from a colleague outlining her personal journey through her career, which she was hoping other physicians would benefit from as well.  I know it spoke to ...

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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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The nurse grabs me. "You have to check my patient now! She is screaming and bearing down." Without letting go of my hand, she leads me into the labor room. I don’t even consider saying no, I know not to question this nurse. She has been a labor and delivery nurse nearly as long as I have been alive -- she knows much more than I about everything. The room is dark, but ...

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Blockchain technology has the potential to dramatically transform health care delivery by facilitating data exchange between providers and electronic health record (EHR) systems. A decentralized and transparent platform, blockchain technology provides an authenticated platform that applies a consensus-driven approach to facilitate the interaction of multiple entities through a shared ledger. For the health care sphere, blockchain is simply the sharing of medical information through EHRs across numerous hospital systems that ...

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The ICU nurse positioned the mirror in front of my face. “You look more like yourself now, Dr. Berk,” she said. She was right! The nurse, whose name was Meghan, had just shampooed, dried and brushed my hair. Clean and coiffed for the first time in over a week, I appeared normal — except, that is, for the tubes sticking out of my left nostril and my mouth. It was 2009, and my ...

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They say to be a good doctor, you have to leave everything behind when you enter the exam room. You walk in with a clean slate — shiny and sterile, crisp, clean and decontaminated. I wonder if that’s why we wear a white coat? To symbolize the unscathed, untouched and pristine figure who walks into the room and solves all the problems. The one who just woke up from a ...

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It has been a struggle to get out of my own way. I’m sure many of you have the same feeling. My health and well-being have suffered mightily from the stress of taking care of others in my work as a physician. I have not taken care of myself. Period. My career does not make me unique in this situation, as the patients I treat every day suffer from similar ...

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