I've known that I've had tumors in my pancreas since 2009. Until now I've done nothing about them. This might sound like a counter-intuitive, even foolhardy strategy, especially for an oncologist, who should surely know better than to let his disease gain an advantage through his own inaction. But I don't have the "usual" type of pancreatic cancer, the kind that claimed the life of Patrick Swayze and has sentenced many ...

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Approximately 18 months ago, I was asked to serve as the surgical director for operating room (OR) services at our children’s hospital. The opportunity has been an eye-opening experience in understanding how a hospital functions. ORs are like the economic engine room in a large ocean-going vessel. Without them functioning optimally, the boat stops moving, and is batted about by of waves economic disruption. If surgical admissions drop below a certain ...

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My first year after completing surgical residency was an exhilarating and exhausting experience that most physicians will recall as part of their training.  The American medical culture has imagined that the nation’s doctors -- no matter their workload -- simply don’t reach physical or emotional exhaustion in their work. But they do, and as we debate the future of healthcare in our country, we need to address this problem and quickly get to solutions, ...

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I work in a male-dominated field. As a cardiac anesthesiologist, I work with mostly male cardiac surgeons in a department where the majority of my fellow anesthesiologists are male. I work with some fantastic male colleagues. They are caring, skilled doctors, and I consider many of them to be friends. While most of them know how to handle emergencies, trauma and difficult work situations, many times they clam up when we ...

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I bought a pocket ultrasound in 2011, determined to learn how to perform and interpret ultrasound at the bedside and thus transform my internal medicine practice. I bought it new, and it cost over $8,000. That was a staggering amount of money to spend on something I knew very little about. In 2015 after having performed many thousand ultrasound exams with my little GE Vscan with the phased array transducer, ...

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When I finished my medical training almost sixty years ago, I was like many new graduates: I thought I knew it all. I opened a private office in Los Angeles and paid courtesy calls on the local physicians to let them know my qualifications and my availability for consultation, as both an internist and a nephrologist. (The treatment of kidney disease was then in its infancy, and I was the area's ...

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“F*ck!” I pried my eyes open and had the realization of exactly what time it was. I was going to be late — again. I jumped out of bed as fast as my stiff and weary body would allow, threw scrubs on I was mostly sure were clean, ran a brush through my hair so I didn’t look totally disheveled when I had to look like professional in a few minutes ...

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Approximately 12 years ago, I hired my first physician in recovery. He had temporarily lost his license following a bout with alcohol. After a stint in a rehabilitation clinic, he was ultimately reinstated. My journey to hire this physician was arduous at best. During the interviewing process, I narrowed the field down to two candidates: one with a past and one without. I wrestled with the “in recovery” situation and ...

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Medical and surgical research is breaking boundaries at an astounding pace. From genetic modification and stem cell therapy to robotic and 3-D printing technology, scientific advancement is finding novel, unique and unprecedented solutions to complex, challenging diseases. Indeed, such is the rate of change that I am certain the last eight years of my surgical training in the UK will likely be rendered obsolete within the next twenty years of ...

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When I was a medical student, trying to forge my path on the clinical wards as a third year, there was a lot to turn me off the idea of a career in medicine entirely -- sleep deprivation, early mornings, late nights, standing for hours on rounds, subsisting on diets of hospital graham crackers and off-brand peanut butter. However, what frosted me the most was constantly playing 6 degrees of ...

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