"Remember that patient you saw?" What a horrible question that always was. You came to work, and a friend would come up to you quietly and take you aside. "Remember that guy yesterday with the chest pain?" "Mr. Hayes?" "Yeah him." "What happened?" "He came back with a heart attack." "Oh wow, I feel terrible." It wasn’t always bad news. Occasionally it went like this: "That child with leukemia you diagnosed last month? His mother stopped by to ...

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Hospitals are busy, hectic, and unpredictable places. Professionals who work in health care are highly trained and competent individuals, and if you are receiving acute care in America -- the standard of your treatment and access to high-quality tests and an array of specialists, is unparalleled (take it from someone who has worked in different countries). Nevertheless, the hospital experience itself, despite our best efforts, often falls short. Here are ...

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Separating fact from fiction had once been her favorite activity. Going over research with a fine-toothed comb, she caught the inaccuracies that riddled popular culture like unruly strands of hair. It came down to this simple algorithm: there were things that could be proven and things that could not. In other words, there were things that would happen consistently given the same set of conditions, while other things were random. ...

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A physician, like anyone, can be a poor explainer of things for several reasons, but foremost among these is the tendency to use medical jargon. This is not a problem unique to doctors. When I take my car in for repairs, I often must ask the mechanic to explain what is wrong in a way I can understand. I have a rudimentary understanding of what the various parts of the ...

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I am an obstetrician-gynecologist, and my favorite show is Grey’s Anatomy. I dare say I have not missed an episode since I started watching in 2006 (as a busy obstetrician, multiple shows are watched on DVR). I fell in love with the show when, at random, I ended up watching the final episode of the second season when Izzie (a physician character from the earlier seasons) fell in love with Denny, ...

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When my colleagues and I reported for new intern orientation 19 years ago, we were given navy scrubs emblazoned with the residency program’s logo, a couple of creased and blindingly clean white coats, and, of course, a standard issue pager. I will admit that there was something thrilling about having my own tools of the trade; these accessories would identify me to the outside world as a doctor. I had ...

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As an elder millennial physician, I’ve been straddling two worlds, that of the “old-school” mentality of training and this newer one of “wellness.” I’ve become disheartened with new physicians being increasingly unable to tolerate any criticism by teaching faculty, even when patient harm is at risk. However, it wasn’t until I was accused of bullying and bullying exclusionary by a group of colleagues — not trainees — that I grew ...

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I have a story to tell. And it’s going to be hard to read. Would you believe me if I told you that the health care industry is not immune to the same gender disparities and discrimination we see all over the news these days? I realize it’s difficult to marry the medical field — with its up-to-the-minute technology and zealous quest to stay ahead of the curve, with something ...

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Physicians have quietly shared stories about sexual harassment and microaggressions from patients for years. This year, Medscape published their first "Patients Sexually Harassing Physicians Report," where they found that one in four physicians had been sexually harassed by a patient in the past 3 years. In the wake of #MeToo, some physicians have shared their personal stories of harassment by patients in the medical literature, ...

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I dedicate this to each of you who have cared for or are currently caring for an ill parent or family member.  Recently, due to the stress that several of my dearest friends have been experiencing in caring for their elderly parents, I am even more appreciative and respectful of my privilege in caring for elderly patients who have attentive and loving adult children who accompany them to our ER. Although this ...

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