“Someone call for a body bag.” These were words that I didn’t expect to hear on my final day of burn surgery at large metropolitan hospital. We had just planned on a routine burn excision and skin grafting. Our patient, Faith, was a seven-year-old girl with third-degree burns to 85 percent of her body from a house fire. We had been caring for her in the ICU for the past three ...

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"So, I'm getting routine labs on her." Wait, what? Statements like these often make the hair on the back of my neck stand up. One of our residents was seeing a healthy young woman for her "annual physical," seen just a few days after a routine postpartum visit with her OB/GYN after the uneventful birth of her third child two months ago. The resident was coming for his afternoon continuity clinic from an ...

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I'm in the ICU and was just back from an incredible tropical vacation. Nine days of vegging out on the beach. The glistening ocean was just steps away from the five-star hotel I was staying in, where doormen greeted me with fruity daiquiris and a staff that couldn't wait to serve my every whim. I was in paradise, and far, far away from the reality of my day-to-day existence as an ...

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More and more health care practitioners are turning to social media for their medical education. Fellows are learning ultrasound from Snapchat, nurses are learning how to insert NG tubes from watching YouTube, and learners are learning pathophysiology from blogs and podcasts. To reach this audience with credible and reliable content, it is important for medical educators to be present where the learners are, and that means social media. Users are also ...

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Being a physician is hard. Really hard. Four years of medical school, multiple years of residency and perhaps fellowship training add up to years of working endless days in a row and powering through exhausting nights. For many of us, this need to be able to power through continues even when we finally make it as an attending. But being a patient is harder. Being the daughter or son or husband ...

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Charlie Gard was a one-year-old boy who had a rare genetic disease leaving him blind, comatose, and unable to breathe on his own. This metabolic disorder can be fatal and has no known cure. Charlie’s parents wanted him treated with experimental drugs in the hope that a miracle would happen. As reported in the press, the British medical and legal community considered this care futile and blocked ...

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We sat in the office of the intensive care unit under fluorescent lights, both staring at computer screens covered in vital signs and labs. It was the summer of my second year of residency, and I spent it entirely in the intensive care unit. There were two of us on call at night. Half the nights we would spend shooting the shit about life, and the other half we spent ...

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It’s 7 a.m. We sit down around a table in the physician's lounge to discuss and our patients.  I am a general and critical care surgeon.  Every fourth week I’m “on service” for the ICU.  This is my week. I was off over the weekend.  I’m refreshed and ready to go.  I’m excited.  I enjoy the challenge of taking care of critically ill patients. I get sign out from my partner. ...

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An excerpt from The Other Side of the Bed: What Patients Go Through and What Doctors Can Learn. As soon as I’d opened my mouth, I regretted it. In the hospital, it’s bad luck to say “It looks quiet,” or anything to that effect. At the sound of those words, ...

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As the kids say, it’s complicated. Practicing physicians are seeing an ever increasing list of protocols and pathways coming their way. These arrive in several forms -- order sets for medications, guidelines in how to proceed for various conditions, when to do this, when to do that, and when not to do either one. They generally are the product of various committees trying to synthesize what these days we call ...

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