I, along with some others, take Presidents Day as an opportunity to celebrate the lives and contributions of all U.S. presidents. Amid the praise, however, perhaps I alone feel compelled to describe their skeletal maladies. I have gleaned the following information from several websites and books that carefully detail the reported injuries, diseases, bad habits, and addictions experienced by U.S. chief executives throughout their lives, starting with George Washington’s ...

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As a fourth-year orthopaedic surgery resident, we had some surgical autonomy.  Always at arm’s length from the attending oversight, this was just enough to push us past our comfort zones. My problem was I loved my comfort zone. The single most influential day in my career happened late one evening as a PGY-4.  I was about to start a complex ankle fracture by myself.  The ankle fracture involved the fibula and the ...

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I went to a bar last night -- and I looked good: red coat, black dress, knee-high suede boots.  I was feeling pretty good. I met my best friend at this bar -- he lives elsewhere now -- but this is his favorite spot in the world.  Like Norm in Cheers, he is also their favorite customer. We ordered dinner, and my best friend stepped away to talk to the bartender.  I ...

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Running late for school in the morning.

Again.

You yell upstairs to your daughter, “Hurry up.”

While she’s slipping on her sneakers and hustling out the door, you grab her backpack from the chair in the dining room. “Wow,” you think. “That’s heavy.”

Even when she’s soaking wet, your daughter weighs all of seventy pounds. You wonder, “Is that backpack too heavy for her? Can it be damaging her ...

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"Words Kill" is a brilliant song about the perils of texting and driving. Spread the message. Courtesy of The Fever Breakers, a band made up of hospital employees. Their socially conscious songs are crafted in the basement of the hospital using a piano used for cancer patient music therapy and subsequently recorded in a studio.

An excerpt from Ending Back Pain: 5 Powerful Steps to Diagnose, Understand, and Treat Your Ailing Back. Copyright © by Jack Stern, MD, PhD. Published by Avery. All rights reserved. Most feelings of discomfort in life have clear solutions. For a stuffy nose, decongestants do the trick. For a pounding headache, ...

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The sun rises in the distance. The finish line beckons. A wave of adrenaline propels me forward. Finally, after almost 24 hours of running, 100 miles were in my rearview mirror. Years of training prepared me for this moment, and I was particularly proud I accomplished this despite being in medical school. While the preparation was time-consuming and the miles were physically draining, running 100 miles unequivocally made me a ...

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At the start of the year, our program director asked, “What if we challenge every resident in the program to do 5,000 push-ups?” We were immediately interested. After discussing logistics and socializing the idea, the #5KPushUpChallenge was started: Over the first ten weeks of the academic year, residents and faculty were challenged to complete 5,000 push-ups. While at first glance, this number of push-ups may seem like an absurdity. When you ...

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A recent article in Modern Healthcare describes how private equity firms are starting to snatch up specialist physician groups that promise rich revenues, such as orthopedists, dermatologists, and ophthalmologists. Naturally, this is about adding value, not adding to bank accounts. Because whether it's physicians or hospitals, health insurers or drug companies, no one in health care ever does anything except in the best interest of patients. The Modern Healthcare ...

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STAT_LogoI believe that health care providers aren’t paid anything close to what they are worth to society. I don’t mean this in the sappy emotional sense in which the “value of any human’s life is infinite,” or any other subjective standard. I am talking about real-world, measurable economic impacts. Using the entrepreneurs’ 10% reward as a guide, ...

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This year, I learned that to have success and fulfillment, you don’t just do, sometimes you have to undo. What do I mean by that? The process of undoing -- or editing -- it a key part of different areas of our lives. For example, we edit in medicine all the time. Think about the medical student’s SOAP note: the subjective story, the objective findings, the assessment, and the plan. Imagine ...

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It took me decades of studying, training, hard work, and sleepless nights to become a doctor. In approximately five years, I became a successful writer, editor, columnist, and a whole array of other titles assigned to that type of work. In under 3 seconds, I became a chronic pain patient for the rest of my life. Around this time last year, I was taking my two dogs outdoors when they spotted ...

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It is probable that primitive man's curiosity markedly increased soon after he stood up and started walking on just his feet. He could both peek into caves and drop back onto all fours to peer down badger holes. Looking into his family’s mouths and ears soon followed. Many generations later, his progeny developed metal tubes and glimpsed human interiors through all of our natural orifices. Lighting, however, was always an ...

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A patient groans in agony lying atop a rigid spine board, carried by paramedics into the ER, his neck in a protective collar. The paramedics shout a summary of the accident. Monitors are attached to the man, flashing and beeping the cadence of vital signs. Nurses and physicians swarm. Gloved hands comb through brown hair for bumps or lacerations. They remove his clothes, feeling for pulses in the neck and ...

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After a severe fracture or removal of a tumor, what happens if a segment of bone is missing? The bone ends will try to grow into one another just as they do after routine fractures, but the lack of immobilization and the gap may be insurmountable despite how hard the bone tries to repair itself. The void instead fills with gristle-like scar tissue, which cannot restore stability. A wobbly false ...

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As a female orthopaedic surgeon, I am often asked how I ended up in this field. Although seeing women in orthopaedic surgery is becoming more common, we are still makeup only 6 percent of the orthopaedic surgeons in the U.S. I actually had no idea what orthopedic surgery was before medical school. In fact, I started medical school thinking I would be an internist, but it really didn't take me very ...

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An excerpt from We: Ditch the Me Mindset and Change the World. We use them to greet friends, congratulate acquaintances, and embrace loved ones. To lay bricks, perform surgeries, and sculpt artwork. Everyone uses them thousands of times a day in a variety of different ways. It took me years to recognize ...

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I’m an orthopaedic surgeon, but if you told me I’d be here when I graduated from college, I’d be laughing at you. When I got started in college, I thought I was going to be pre-med and apply to medical school. It was not a well-thought-out decision. I thought that this was what good Chinese-American children do: Grow up to become doctors. It became clear that this goal was parent-driven ...

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In general, physical activity is important in maintaining your health. Many people falsely believe that running can cause arthritis but research show that this isn't necessarily true. In reality, walking, running or strenuous exercise can significantly decrease risk of any knee osteoarthritis. Doctors are still trying to understand how running can improve knee arthritis, with continual research studies. Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis caused by trauma or overuse ...

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As a surgeon who has been practicing for more than 20 years, I have had a front row seat to both positive and negative changes that have taken place in our evolving medical field. As a community hand surgeon who values many of the recent advances in hand surgery, there is one piece of tried-and-true advice that I still find helpful in my practice to this day: Remove your own ...

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