I understand why J35, the killer whale, carried her dead calf. A member of an Orca pod in the Pacific Northwest, Tahlequah (J35 as she is known to researchers) gave birth to a calf who died a few hours later. For an unprecedented 17 days this summer, J35 carried out an exhausting ritual of pushing it repeatedly to the ocean’s surface. For 17 days, and over 1,000 miles she kept ...

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My baby was crying non-stop as soon as we got her home. She tried to latch and did well, but I had no way of knowing how much nutrition she was getting. I counted the diapers, and the numbers were just barely on track, and she was making small quantities. I was trying to Google more tips with one hand and nurse her with the other. She was suffering, and ...

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Walking through the dark construction zone of my now demolished kitchen, I made my way to the garage and out into the still, hot, humid July night. The air felt so thick, it was hard to breathe. At 1 a.m. I was headed to the hospital for a patient that just arrived in active labor. On the drive in, I had the air conditioner blasting to cool off the car ...

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Match Day is the culmination of a medical student's education: the day all graduating seniors and non-traditional applicants find out where they will spend the next three to seven years to train in a desired specialty. I fell in love with obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN) as it was the perfect way to combine my passion for women's health with medicine and surgery. I also liked that the patients were relatively ...

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Dear science, Today my sons, Oliver and Victor, are 15 years old. It is not a miracle; it is thanks to you. Unable to get pregnant I needed infertility therapy. If you had not isolated the hormones, developed tests, and then designed medications for ovarian stimulation and to trigger ovulation I would never have become pregnant. If ultrasound had not been developed I would not have known I was pregnant with triplets and then ...

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Fear can show up at inappropriate times uninvited and unexpected, like a knock on the door in the middle of the night. We have all felt it. Sometimes, it can stop us from an adventure or getting into trouble. Sometimes, it can prevent us from living up to our potential or considering a new path. Sometimes, it can stop us from taking care of our health. A few years ago, in ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 24-year-old woman is evaluated for severe cramps associated with her menstrual periods. The cramps have worsened over the past year, and the discomfort is severe enough that she has periodically missed work. She reports no abnormal vaginal discharge. Menses are unchanged from her baseline pattern. She has tried ...

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A patient came to see me with lower abdominal pain.  Was she interested in my medical opinion?  Not really.  She was advised to see me by her gynecologist who had advised that the patient undergo a hysterectomy.  Was this physician seeking my medical advice?  Not really.   Was this patient coming to see me as her day was boring and she was bored and needed an activity?  Not really. After the ...

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Several years ago, a colleague of mine did a procedure on my daughter. What was supposed to be routine has become a nightmare for her.  When he saw her post-op, he told her she was fine.  Because of this obfuscation, years went by before she really understood how damaged she was. By then, the statute of limitations had lapsed and she had no recourse. Still seeking closure on this disaster, my daughter ...

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I was a second-year resident, doing a 24-hour shift on maternity care. I'd spent some arduous nights on call with my attending physician, Dr. Campbell. Now, we sat at the nursing station, joking about what this one might bring. "You must be a black cloud," she teased, accusing me of being one of those unfortunate residents who seem to attract medical emergencies. I laughingly protested, but in fact, these quiet nights ...

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