Physicians are no strangers to death. We are baptized into medicine with cadavers as first-year medical students. We learn to break bad news. We lose patients, some that are expected and some we never see coming. Through it all, we maintain a distance, an emotional reserve that enables us to shoulder these losses but still see the next patient with the full attention they deserve. But every now and then ...

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Anyone with even the slightest passing interest in health care, has heard the mind-blowing statistics. As a nation, we spend almost 3.5 trillion dollars on health care. To put that into perspective, that is more than the total GDP of every country in the world apart from China and Japan! Germany, next on the list, has an entire GDP of 3.4 trillion dollars. At 18 percent of the economy, we ...

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Harry understood at last that he was not supposed to survive. His job was to walk calmly into Death’s welcoming arms … All those times he had thought that it was about to happen and escaped, he had never really thought of the thing itself: His will to live had always been so much stronger than his fear of death … It was over, he knew it, and all that ...

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Yesterday I looked in the eyes of a mother and told her that her son was likely to die in the next six months, and I had no more ways to try to make his heart stronger. Her son is 36 years old, and a father of two boys. He was on the bed beside her chair, covering his eyes, as if what lies before him was just too much ...

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Why do we want to become doctors? What was our main motivation that we have written in our motivation letters and repeated in our interviews? Regardless of the specific incident or the general motivation, it can be all summarized in one sentence: We are here to save lives. After all, this is what the physicians do, isn’t it? Preventing deaths is actually hinted to by the original Hippocratic Oath, written between ...

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In loving memory of my grandfather, my first physician mentor. Earlier this year, my 90-year-old grandfather passed away unexpectedly after undergoing transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). Similar to many elderly patients who die each year in the United States, his death was preceded by a litany of costly and time-consuming tests and treatments. Despite this extensive workup, the end of his life was shadowed by suffering left unaddressed. But, unlike the ...

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Looking at how incredibly expensive the last few months of life are for anyone in this country, I think most would be quite shocked. In 2014, there were approximately 2.6 million deaths in the U.S. According to a Keiser Permanente study, 2.1 million of those deaths were Medicare related. Medicare’s annual budget is right around $600 billion, and it has been revealed that one-third of that total is spent in ...

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An excerpt from Cancer What You Need to Know. Treating cancer means taking care of the whole patient -- the physical, the emotional, and the spiritual. This starts at diagnosis and carries through treatment and beyond. Unfortunately, for some patients, cancer does find ways to spread that can cause physical pain, ...

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"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Will Durrant, historian For better or worse, all of my high school English teachers were memorable. Each held a precise but non-overlapping image of the perfectly crafted essay; therefore, every September I found myself adopting a brand new writing style. A paper that would have garnered an “A” at the end of one school year routinely received ...

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America’s opioid crisis is getting worse. The role of prescription opioids has both the medical establishment and the government justifiably worried. In response, the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine released an official report on the crisis earlier this year. And, on September 21, the National Academy of Medicine released a special publication calling clinicians to help combat the crisis. As a ...

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