On a weekend night, I received a strange phone call from an emergency room resident. “This is an emergency,” he said, adding fragments of details, “… vaginal bleeding … her heart rate is in the 150s.” It was hard to figure out what was happening and his tone was oddly calm. “Is she in an exam room?” I asked. “No,” he replied, “we’re in the trauma bay.” I ran downstairs with ...

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She pushes her cleaning cart into the bright room. “Looks like the usual mess,” she mumbles to herself, pushing a loose piece of hair back into her blue cap. Methodically, she cleans the room beginning with the operating table, stripping off the bloody sheets. Then cleaning the floor of blood-stained shoe prints, amniotic fluid and bits of paper, needle caps and such, that managed to escape hands and land on ...

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The Los Angeles Times recently published a piece on the lack of men in OB/GYN. Only 17% of new trainees (residents) in OB/GYN are men and the male OB/GYN physicians who weighed in worried that this “lack of diversity could weaken the field.” Apparently, it sends a “horrible message to men,” and with the lack of men we might “lose the next person who is going to find a cure ...

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I’m an emergency physician. In common parlance, an ER doc. Which means, like a little kid who will eat dirt on a dare, there’s not much I won’t try in the practice of my profession. Many of my colleagues have had far more challenging careers than me, I assure you. But I have some stories to tell. Cyanide overdose while moonlighting as a resident. Patient nearly dying from bite by ...

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In the mid-1800s, Ignaz Semmelweis, then a professor at Johns Hopkins, proposed something outrageous: Doctors and medical students working in the maternity ward should wash their hands before delivering babies because doing so could reduce infant mortality. For proof, he performed a rigorous experiment that showed babies delivered by midwives, who traditionally did wash their hands prior to deliveries, had rate of death that was five-fold lower than those ...

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When my friend was in her fourth year of medical school, she and her boyfriend sat down with their dean to discuss their residency applications. Both have since gone on to have successful academic medicine careers, but on that day in the dean’s office, they were nervous. My friend asked the dean for reassurance. “I’m sure it will all work out,” she recalled the dean saying. “After all, in 20 years ...

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Physicians face a host of challenges in practice, but the one that looms largest is often this — they don't know everything. It would be tempting to think that they do. As patients, we want them to. We want our doctors to tell us that they know what's wrong and how to fix it. Medical mysteries are fun on television, but in our real lives, they're profoundly unsettling and can have ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 26-year-old woman with a mechanical mitral valve prosthesis visits to discuss anticoagulation management during pregnancy. Her last menstrual period was 6 weeks ago and her pregnancy was confirmed by laboratory testing in the office. Her mitral valve was replaced 5 years ago. Her medications are low-dose aspirin, metoprolol, ...

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“Where is Saipan?” I typed into Google to search for this little U.S. territory island in the Western Pacific when I was told about a need for an OB/GYN in 2016. Next, I inquired to the private physician looking to expand his practice, “Do you really have a significant volume to support another doctor?” My vision of island medicine was that there were a smaller number of births due to a ...

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Early this month, Joanna Gaines, co-host of HGTV’s popular Fixer Upper, shared her pregnancy news with the world via a baby bump photo and an ultrasound, both posted to Instagram. The congratulations began pouring in from excited fans. But the conversation took a dark turn when a physician commented that the ultrasound appeared to ...

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