"There is a frenzy of trying to use technology to re-establish the healing human connection in the doctor-patient interaction. These efforts range from advanced transcription of voice-to-record, scribes who do the data recording during a patient encounter, and so on. The IT department at NYU Grossman Medical School, where I teach, ...

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"For me, the team room became a safe space filled with light, stories, laughter, and food. There, my residents helped me read CT scans, interpret CBCs, come up with the differential for bradycardia, and organize my oral presentations. My residents gifted me confidence, advice on the third year and specialty selection, ...

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Although it was midwinter, the air coming in through the front windows of the Nissan Versa was balmy.  The radio was tuned to a local station.  It was playing Air Supply’s “Out of Nothing at All.”  This is one of those songs you turn the volume up and allow yourself the one brief moment of karaoke stardom as you belt out your lungs.  As the high notes hit, I’m feeling ...

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Years ago, I watched an interview on TV with nurses who cared for a man dying of Ebola. Their words and actions continue to ring as true today during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as they did then. Their compassion deeply moved me for this man dying a horrible death. They did all they could for him, not only medically but also emotionally. They spoke of the fear that gripped them, knowing ...

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Over 100,000 medical and surgical resident physicians and fellows (combined, "house staff”) are the first-line physicians for most patients in the nation’s 1,100+ teaching hospitals. Maximum weekly work hours regulated by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) are colloquially cited to be 80 per week. Notably, however, they are 80 hours averaged over 4 weeks (88 with “sound educational rationale”), ...

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Of all the unsung heroes of this plague-time, perhaps those who have endured the most are resident physicians. After graduation from medical school, resident doctors spend three to seven years in intensive specialty training before they can practice independently. Residency is a vestige of apprenticeships from a bleaker past. It is chapter in life when one’s time and energy are mostly spent in hospitals or clinics, when 80-hour ...

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I am tired. I am tired of you telling me how to respond to racism. I’ve experienced racism and microaggressions as a brown woman my entire life. You have been trying to control my response for just as long. Stop. In high school, when another student told me to “go back to Africa” and I responded that those comments were not acceptable, you - my classmate - told me to sit ...

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Here’s a controversial phrase for a doctor to say that needs to be normalized: “I am tired.”

As a physician, working oneself to exhaustion for our patients is often seen as a sign of strength and even heroic.  As a rare Black male in medicine in the midst of a pandemic that is ravaging patients who look like me, I am especially battle fatigued.  In fact, I ...

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The roads are dark and empty at 6:15. Passing through downtown, animated reindeer “fly” through the air in lights on the side of a skyscraper. At the end of the truncated commute, I snag a spot on the second floor of the parking garage—typically rare but plentiful today. In the hospital's lobby, I pass the 20-foot tree—topped with a massive star more like a spiky sea creature—that has been up ...

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With this third surge and our ICUs at zero capacity in Los Angeles, I spent  New Year’s Eve alone at my apartment, recovering from a wards rotation I had completed the night before. No revelry or celebration for me this year.  For months, this virus has been wreaking havoc on our lives and slowly,   then rapidly chipping away at our health care systems. I’ve seen the ...

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Vince Hamilton has no legs. For that matter, he has lost the tips to most of his fingers as well.  It made opening soda cans almost impossible.  So when I saw him for the first time, my immediate reaction was one of sympathy. He had been admitted from a nursing home with a swollen red finger nubbin.  It wasn’t hard to figure out it wasn’t his first time around this rodeo from ...

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As a young and optimistic business school graduate, I recall when the consulting firm I worked for was retained to evaluate “USA Hospital and Medical Clinics” (pseudonym). “USA” had grown quickly and was struggling to manage the recent expansion. We interviewed doctors, nurses, and medical assistants, and they told us about the problems they faced every day: They were pressured to get patients in and out quickly to keep average visit ...

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"These encounters made my evening shift much more emotional than usual. I am still not sure what it was exactly that evoked such strong feelings of sadness. Was it having a patient who was a health care worker? Was it the rapidity in which all three patients’ conditions deteriorated? Was it ...

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I have never felt so alone. I was lying in bed with severe abdominal pain. Pain I never had before. Well, at least not for a reason. As I lay there, I kept thinking, what if I die while I wait until morning. It was the middle of the night. I had not felt well since earlier the week before with a severe diarrheal illness. One that only babies have with ...

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“Grief never ends ... but it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith ... It is the price of love.” – Anonymous The “price of love”: We are now paying that price with the passing of Debbie this weekend. I grieve as I write this. The entire hospital and everyone who knew Debbie grieve. We have a right ...

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"In the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic, getting a flu shot has never been more important. Many people are staying indoors, wearing a mask, and washing their hands frequently. In this environment, patients ask me, “With all this social distancing, do I really need a flu shot this year?” The answer is unequivocally, ...

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Forty-two years ago, when I had finally finished the seven revisions of my first novel, The House of God, my editor said, “Why don’t you add a glossary and a list of The Laws of the House of God.”  Writing the Laws, I hardly needed to refer to the text; they just flowed out. The Laws became common parlance, not only tacked up in on-call rooms but even, recently, listed ...

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"If I had $100 for every time I walked into a patient’s room, introduced myself as the doctor, and was immediately asked, 'Hey, how old are you?' I might be able to retire right now — at the age of 28. Of course, I am exaggerating, and yet this question echoes for ...

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"Studies have repeatedly demonstrated a vast majority of pain physicians don’t feel like they have adequate training in meeting the unique needs of this patient population, though most agree that such efforts are very necessary. This disconnect between demand and supply is a problem, a big one. With the current pandemic stretching ...

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I saw a tweet recently from a medical resident training at another hospital that really hit home for me: “In response to a rumor that health care workers who treat COVID patients will be prioritized for vaccination in our health system, one of my co-residents asked unironically, ‘Does that include us?’” “Resident” is a word coined in the twentieth century when physicians in training often physically lived (“resided”) at the hospital. ...

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