“Check it out,” my boyfriend said, angling his rash-covered arms in front of the camera. Despite his best precautions, after a day of yard work, he was covered in poison ivy. Over video chat, he showed off the pustules that had erupted on his feet; I cringed. “It’s fine,” he said, wincing while putting his socks back on. “I’m glad to know how awful it feels. I’ve seen a bunch of ...

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Not knowing what else to do after finishing my pediatric residency 15 years ago, I became a general pediatrician. Not knowing how to find a job halfway across the country and closer to home, I relied on a recruiter from a smallish town in South Dakota to woo me into private practice. Not knowing how to choose my future partners, I let them choose me. Despite my unbelievably naive approach to ...

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A few weeks ago, I saw a young patient who was suffering from an ear infection. It was his fourth visit in eight weeks, as the infection had proven resistant to an escalating series of antibiotics prescribed so far. It was time to bring out a heavier hitter. I prescribed ciprofloxacin, an antibiotic rarely used in pediatrics, yet effective for some drug-resistant pediatric infections. The patient was on the state Medicaid ...

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I had the fascinating experience of interviewing for residency at 20+ weeks’ pregnant. Although a number of people told me that I was doomed, I found the experience to be quite enlightening. Since I couldn’t hide the fact that life outside medicine was going to be important to me during residency, I felt empowered to ask the “don’t ask” questions during my interviews. What did I have to lose? The ...

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Computed tomography, or CT scanning, is one of the most powerful diagnostic tools to emerge during my medical career. Just look at the detail in the brain images above, taken at 90-degree angles through the brain. And I was there at the beginning. I remember well when I was a medical student taking neurology, and the first CT scanner arrived at the Mayo Clinic. By today’s standards, it was incredibly ...

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I was browsing the internet one day and came across a photo of a group of women who appeared educated and influential. They were wearing blue T-shirts with claims that vaccines cause autoimmune diseases, seizures, ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, learning disabilities, death, autism, sudden infant death syndrome and infertility. I couldn’t help but laugh at them! I shared this photo on my Facebook page. To my surprise, one of ...

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I do not feel that I truly survived my lawsuit. Sure, I am alive, but the emotional toll it took on me during the four years that we co-existed was tremendous. That being said, I do feel that it taught me several things that may be helpful to others. My lawsuit occurred very early in my career. The series of events that led up to it happened when I was a ...

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About two years ago, I made a big career move — I took a leap of faith. I left full-time clinical practice as a neonatologist to become a national medical director for a neonatal resource team. The job was appealing because it was a new challenge for me. I had the opportunity to use my skill set as a neonatologist while learning the business aspect of medicine. The job also provided ...

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As you sit here in the office, waiting for this visit to be over, I wonder if you would let me share just a few things with you. Despite your impeccable eyeshadow, your impressive GPA, and the smile you flash so readily, I sense that there are things left unsaid. I am curious if there is more to your story that you wish could be told. But I know that ...

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Despite meticulous time management and delegation as a doctor, there were times when I found cobwebs on the laundry left on the clothesline too long, or a moldy school lunch or squashed banana forgotten at the bottom of a school bag at home. I would ensure all the important school dates were in my diary, but I was often tripped up by the curriculum day when school was suddenly off ...

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