Going to medical school was a dream come true. I was excited; I couldn't wait. I spent my childhood dreaming about it. It was this amazing fantasy in my head where nothing was impossible, and I would be able to help thousands of people, maybe millions? Biology, physiology, chemistry, physics -- they resonated with me. I could not imagine doing anything else. I loved meeting new people. I loved learning ...

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AI, artificial intelligence, is all the rage right now in medical news media. And this has many practicing physicians, even medical students, concerned. Will AI make diagnose heavy specialties such as dermatology and radiology obsolete? Can AI give rise to new medical specialties? How many tasks traditionally done by doctors will now be handled by AI? I believe that there is a right to be worried. We do not have any ...

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People are told by big media that doctors will probably hurt you and you will never see it coming.  They are told to stick up for themselves, be an advocate for your child/parent/dependent.  Ask for more tests.  They must be missing something.  Ask for more consults.  A second, third or fourth opinion must be better.  Don’t leave without an answer and don’t compromise.  Then they actually become patients.  Or in ...

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Doctors by our nature do not handle idleness well. We value our vacations, of course. I never sought out a study to see if doctors vacationed differently than others. Some probably hang out someplace warm, others seek out the best eats of the place they are visiting, some cannot wait for the cruise ship to dock so they can disembark for a tour of a new place. Vacations, though, are ...

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Rural hospitals are closing their obstetric wards and stopping all obstetric services — at least those hospitals that manage to remain open at all. The tertiary care centers don’t seem to mind.Always wary of those rural hospital disasters in the middle of the night. Accepting transfers from a place where they must not have the latest technology, clearly, your little hospital must be behind the times, only subspecialty care is ...

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In 2006, the Mayo Clinic asked 192 patients an important question: What makes an ideal physician? From their responses, several characteristics emerged. Among the top criteria, they wanted doctors to be “personal,” “empathetic” and “humane.” This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Of course, we want doctors who relate to their patients as people instead of just another “case.” We want doctors to have sympathy for ...

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Practicing medicine at the frontlines is hard. It’s damn hard. Every minute you need to be alert, ready to respond to a potential life or death situation, and be called to another important problem. The current medical practice environment -- with excessive bureaucracy, suboptimal information technology, and extreme time pressure with patients -- adds exponentially to the mix, and can make for a very stressful job. Make no mistake, even ...

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Back when I was a third-year medical student, I would sometimes bike to the hospital campus early enough to catch the groundskeepers cleaning the promenade in front of the medical school before the foot traffic arrived. Discovery Walk, as it’s called, is a beautiful promenade with stone murals commemorating the significant discoveries made at Stanford. It’s a beautiful scene, especially during sunrise or sunset, which many of my classmates have ...

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On January 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger disintegrated shortly after liftoff, resulting in the death of the entire seven-person crew. The subsequent investigation revealed that a joint in the right solid rocket booster failed during liftoff, which occurred due to the inadequacy of the O-ring seals. It was about 28-degrees on the morning of the space shuttle launch, and the O-ring seals were not designed to perform at such ...

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The pediatric emergency department’s fluorescent light cast its glow on our heads, drifting and drooping, at 3 a.m. Torn between taking a chance on rest and anticipating the next fever, headache, abdominal pain, wheezing or rash that came through the doors, we sat suspended. The nurses tried to stay awake with a parade of old cat videos and Kardashian memes, their Facebook feeds stale - no one really posts much at that ...

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