Women surgeons all over the globe have been recreating the “Operating Theatre” cover of the New Yorker through the #NYerORCoverChallenge. The public recognition of women in what has been a male-dominated field has rallied female surgeons’ spirits everywhere. Except, perhaps, mine. While I am fiercely proud of my surgical sisters, I also feel a twinge of sadness, because I know so many of the untold ...

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One of the things I most enjoy about being an anesthesiologist is the wide variety of patients that I see. You never know who you're going to have the privilege to care for on a given day. Although my group is large, I will occasionally be assigned to a patient that I personally know. And occasionally, someone I know will request me as their anesthesiologist. Last month I took care of ...

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We are neurosurgeons, albeit not rocket scientists, but with our insider knowledge, it should be easy for us to understand “narrow networks.” Unfortunately, this is not the case so we can imagine how difficult it is for our patients. Consider the following scenario:

A 52-year-old woman is receiving long-term care for multiple myeloma primarily involving the spine. Well-coordinated neurosurgical and oncological care is provided through a large multispecialty group; however, if ...

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And if they can, should they? In recently post, I wrote about some unresolved issues with driverless cars and ended by saying “So are you ready to have an autonomous robot perform your gallbladder surgery? I’m not.” But the robots are coming. A recent paper in Science Robotics proposed six different levels of autonomy for surgical robots. The authors say some devices ...

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And I don’t love it. When I gained acceptance into medical school, I thought I would one day have one amazing job, or at least one job title where I might get to wear several meaningful hats. I’m a physician anesthesiologist. It’s my duty to play a role in improving the health and the lives of my patients. I studied and trained for many years to have the privilege of understanding the ...

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My mind usually starts to wander around the third or fourth hour of retracting a fat flap or holding up a leg during a long operation. I start by guessing how many times the attending has done this particular procedure. Is it his hundredth time doing it? If he was one of the older attendings, perhaps it was his thousandth one. As a neophyte in the operating room, I still relish ...

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A few years ago, my colleagues and I started a non-profit called Women in Anesthesiology.  I started medical school late and had two children in residency (earning the delightful label of elderly primigravida or, if you prefer, geriatric pregnancy). My co-resident and I noticed few women in our department, and even fewer in leadership.  We charged forward, starting a local, then national group.  At the same time, a separate Facebook ...

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“Am I going to die?” There was a mixture of fear and pain in my patient’s eyes. He was a second grader but had already survived three major heart surgeries. Now he had pneumonia and was struggling to breathe. We were about to intubate him. “You’re a strong guy,” I whispered to him as his mother held his hand and sobbed. “We’ll get you through this.” He died two days later. I drove home ...

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A guest column by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, exclusive to KevinMD.com. Sometimes our best decisions as physician anesthesiologists are when we decide to call off a surgery or procedure. The “best anesthetic I never gave” was for 18-year-old Hunter Jones and her case really demonstrates the importance of talking with patients before surgery. Hunter was an active, ...

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Imagine while driving into work, you drive through a green light. When you look to the right, you see a car barreling through the intersection, and then everything goes black. You vaguely remember being taken into the emergency room of a prestigious hospital nearby. In the ED, you hear a doctor’s voice yelling at nurses to give you medications, and then everything goes black. You wake up in a hospital ...

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