Certainty is a fading flame in a failing body

“You should prepare for the future. Your son will never be independent.” I do not recall hearing those words at their source, but I was only eight when they were relayed to me by my parents. At the time my diagnosis, now characterized as ju…

Monkeypox and the prolonged COVID pandemic could seal the fate of the health care system

I understand it’s been over two years since the World Health Organization announced the coronavirus pandemic, and we are tired. I speak for the thousands of health care workers and frontline workers: We are exhausted, we feel taken for granted, a…

We’re reacting to medical errors the wrong way

Medical mistakes are as old as the practice of medicine itself, but it wasn’t until 1999 that the United States started paying more attention to them. Over twenty years later, we may be reducing medical errors — a recent study published in the Jo…

As we live in fear, there is still hope

Fear. It means something different to each person, but collectively we can all agree that fear can be something that drives us to succeed (fearing failure), causes us to take care of ourselves (fear of poor health), and can even promote experiences tha…

My “dig deep button” is officially out of service

I started my hospitalist shift like any other day. I arrived at 5:30 a.m. for shift hand-off at 7 a.m. A full hospitalist load and endless administrative tasks to complete, the duality of both roles punctured me like a venomous snake bite. I had two fu…

Physician success is a team sport, so why are you on the field alone?

Get off the field. Go back to the dugout and rally your team. Create your rules of engagement. The structure and hierarchy of medicine teach doctors to compete with one another. From the beginning, we’re told there are a finite number of acceptance let…

Why doctors should write poetry

It’s been two and a half years post-pandemic, and I still don’t feel normal. There’s a dark veil hanging over my life. I feel oppressed, unable to practice the way I want, unable to live and think in ways other than this abnormal new …

People behaving badly: 4 steps to de-escalate hostile people

Imagine that you are a brand-new attending in a hospital. You have your new starched white coat and stethoscope around your neck. Before you enter your patient’s room, the nurse says, “Whew! Good luck! The patient’s dad is really angr…

We are all responsible for women physicians’ pay discrepancy

A recent JAMA article showed that starting salaries for female physicians were lower than that of their male counterparts in most subspecialties. New physicians are not expected to have many differentiating factors besides gender, yet the starting sala…

The New Zealand health system in crisis: We need to look after our clinicians

I lay on an examination table while a plastic surgeon surveyed my skin to determine if a suspicious mole should be excised. I joked with him that I had once considered plastic surgery as a career. I knew he still worked at the hospital and fired a rhet…

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