At a time in everyone’s life, we come to find ourselves in a situation where the music stops, and we must go on. The unfortunate truth about life is that the unexpected will happen. Some of us learn from it, some of us change because of it and some of us find our life’s calling because of it. The latter was the case for me. After our dad picked us up from middle school, we spent that afternoon like we had every afternoon that month. We went to the oncology unit at the hospital, where my brother was admitted.
I remember him. I remember the man in the dark blue sarong the same way I remember the lines on back of my own hand. He was hunched over next to a column on a dirty platform at a railway station in Calcutta, India in the middle of the harsh summer sun. His hands were withered, his fingers and toes looked like tiny nubs, and he was completely malnourished and alone. He had opaque blue eyes, as if fog had taken place of his irises and pupils.
I studied insects in college; my favorite insects were the bees (I found them diligent and so helpful to humankind). One of my favorite classes was about medical diseases caused by insects. My professors noticed my interest in the medical side of things and connected me with a professor who did clinical research. Our work focused on a clinical trial for children with intractable epilepsy and exposed me early on to patient care and patients.
Like many medical students, my interest in medicine arose during high school anatomy courses. Unlike many medical students, I did not begin my collegiate studies at a university. I went to high school in a suburban town Northwest of Detroit called Clarkston. It was my junior year between 2008-
It all began with bagels and orange juice. I was seven, and my dad had promised we would go to lunch as soon as he finished making rounds in the hospital. My stomach grumbled, though, so Dad plopped me in the doctors’ lounge, snacks in hand, and promised he would be back in an hour. As I waited, I overheard the other doctors in the next room, answering pages. They spoke in hushed voices laden with what I was sure were remarkable secrets. But then, I could only hear one side of the conversation.
The back of my head lies flat as a pin board. In the orphanages of South Vietnam, darker babies carried the stigma of the war, bearing a physical resemblance to the ruthless soldiers from the north. I was one of those children. Because of my skin tone, the caregivers’ prejudice prevented them from picking me up to play. Left to lie on the wooden mats, my head never rounded, and now serves as a constant reminder to me of the human body’s malleability.
From humble beginnings as a curtained-
Compassion does not know city limits or county lines. Neither state nor international borders can contain such acts of altruism. For the last four years two surgeons and one nephrologist have travelled to Honduras to perform living donor kidney transplantation thereby expanding the art and science of transplant surgery and medicine in Central America.
Early on a cool, crisp autumn morning, Dr. Paul Kearney addresses his fellow surgeons and other volunteer medical professionals just before they embark on a busy day at the Lexington Surgery Center (LSC). Many of them have already been preparing the facility since before sunrise as a part of the monthly ritual known as Surgery on Sunday (SoS). Dr. Kearney chairs the board of directors for this organization, which is the brainchild of Dr. Andy Moore, who has served Lexington as a plastic surgeon….
As Americans most have been secure in our needs for food, housing, safety and health. Health care has become more of a right than a privilege and has become more accessible thru expanded Medicaid, Medicare and the more recent Affordable Care Act. In spite of these, many continue to fall thru the cracks and that number may again increase with proposed changes in public health policy and program coverages. The underprivileged will continue to require care often not covered by government....
Dr. Privett has practiced medicine in Lexington since 1973. After finishing his residency, he spent two years in the United States Army from 1971 to 1973 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He returned to Lexington thereafter to begin his neurology practice. He practiced clinical neurology for 15 years, from 1973 until about 1988. In 1988, he developed the Lexington Diagnostic Center shortly after MRI equipment was introduced into the United States.
As physicians, we are required to master changes on a daily basis. Very shortly, we will have to deal with changes in the Accountable Care Act. At some point, we will be required to deal with changes in our electronic health record system. Medical organizations are struggling with the demands of physicians to make changes in the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) process. Everyone wants some kind of change from us, and adaptation is the watchword.
Mentoring is an art form developed in the United States in the 1970s within large private companies and corporations and is used to support junior staff. Since the 1990s, mentoring programs have emerged in various medical professions, most frequently in the field of nursing though, rather than physician practice. Formal mentoring programs for medical students and doctors did not develop until the late 1990s (Buddeberg-
Despite the availability of other satisfying or more lucrative career opportunities for the bright and altruistic, admissions to medical schools remain desirable and competitive, thanks largely to an influx of talented and qualified female and minority applicants. Premedical and medical education has always been stressfully competitive and a financial burden. "Stress in medical school" even merits its own individual entry on Wikipedia.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to become a doctor. However, I did not realize all the challenges I would have to face in order to make my dreams come true, and I also did not know who I was going to meet along the way to help me become a successful medical student. When I was reapplying to medical school, I was told gaining more clinical experience could strengthen my application. I reached out to as many physicians as I could in order to shadow them.
Who played a significant role in your journey to becoming a physician? My senior year of high school I applied to participate in a University program for rural students. During this process I had the opportunity to converse with an amazing woman, Carol, who is passionate about helping others and dedicated to her students. She has a wonderful heart and a genuine interest in my well being. She truly cared about me as a person.
Being a Physician, you can be asked to treat symptoms effecting your patient you would not expect. Your patients that are elderly believe they have a very special relationship with you, like a beloved and trusted niece or nephew. You are the wise counsel for all that matters, the Doctor knows best. Sometimes they want you to make their family stop fighting.
It was reported in a 2015, in the US, by the Pew Research Centre that 24 percent of teens go online “almost constantly,” facilitated by the widespread availability of smartphones. With all the social media platforms out there, it is estimated there will be 2.67 billion social network users by 2018 reported by article from Katina Michael (PC World). She also noted that “Social networking already accounts for 28 percent of all media time spent online, and users aged between 15 and 19 spend at least….
The American Medical Association published in JAMA (May 15, 2017) a recent article by Dr. Dabora and Dr. Turaga, two Harvard Business School professors (MD, MBA), who are joined by Dr. Shulman (MD) of the Duke University School of Medicine. The following is a summary of this article. The distribution of US pharmaceutical products is fairly simple. The physical drug product, such as a pill or vial of drug, leaves a manufacturer and is then purchased by a distributor.
Most of us have personally experienced the impact of electronic health record (EHR) and required clinical documentation, which have resulted in decreased productivity and decreased job satisfaction. Physicians and nurses have traditionally used clinical documentation to record and convey information as well as treatment plans to other members of the care team. However, clinical documentation has evolved to justify reimbursement and serves many purposes which may not contribute….
In August 2015 in Roanoke, VA, 2 television station employees were gunned down live on the air. The attention of employers and employees nationwide focused once again on violence, and more specifically, workplace related violence. Since the 1980s, violence has been recognized as a leading cause of occupational mortality and morbidity. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, an estimated 1.7 million workers are injured each year during workplace assaults….
When it comes to practice growth new faces of patients is a good thing, but not when those new faces are staff members. The constant revolving door of office and medical staff is killing more practices now than ever before. The success of today’s medical practice is not only measured in the accounts receivables and overhead, but the cost of office conflict. You cannot avoid conflict and disagreements within the office. That is human nature.
It is not often you get the chance to meet a celebrity in the emergency department, especially at 2 a.m., and when that opportunity arises you must seize it. When Iron Man strolls through the door notice is taken. As a child I was fascinated by superheroes. Superman, Batman, Iron Man, Wonder Woman; my appetite was insatiable. I felt a connection to these figures, wishing I was only a radioactive spider bite away from saving the world.
Monday mornings on the unit are always a little chaotic. Even though during pre-
“So if you don’t mind me asking, why did you make the switch?” I get that question quite often. I honestly never grow tired of answering it because that’s always when I launch into what rekindled my spark for being a physician. I still remember running down the hallway, balancing on one foot, ferociously pulling on knee high booties while trying desperately to tie on a shield mask simultaneously. I was both excited and anxious, ecstatic and scared, because I was about to deliver life.
When my dad went in for heart surgery, I never expected that he wouldn’t wake up. Not to say that I was worry-
I ran from my first fire. As a seasonal worker with the Forest Service, there were very few days between my fire boot fitting and the first time I trampled embers in them. I was trained to be part of a wildland fire hand crew. Hand crews serve a crude, but essential purpose. Forest fires often burn on difficult terrain. Machines cannot operate on the steep inclines or navigate the dense vegetation. Where machines are ineffective, hand crews hike in. With chainsaws and sharpened garden tools they…..
“That could never happen to me!” is a phrase most of us say about near death experiences, especially when you are in your twenties. However, the reality of the matter is that medical emergencies can happen to anyone, including you and me. I learned this lesson the hard way when I went into ventricular tachycardia for several hours on Thanksgiving Day last year. As a medical student, I am learning how to diagnose and treat all kinds of conditions and diseases, but studying medicine….
If you are the physician, recognizing the symptoms of Caregiver Burnout Syndrome is essential. According to A.A.R.P. it is estimated less than 50% of doctors ask caregivers if they are experiencing any burnout symptoms or high stress. Symptoms are characterized by physical and emotional exhaustion, depression, anxiety, bouts of anger, withdrawal, impaired thinking and performance, and most often a feeling of being overwhelmed and guilt.
In the immediate world of what most of us would consider "politics," there are only a select few that we actually see run for a public office. Behind the scenes in Kentucky, there are perhaps only a few thousand volunteers, office workers, and support staff who are also considered 'part of the political process' and often have very important roles in the realm of governance and development of policy. But, this is only a small percentage of our Commonwealth's overall population; and as physicians, we are....
What advice could a retired US General give a doctor, to improve healthcare? I recently read Growing Physician Leaders, by Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, US Army (Ret.). General Hertling, a recent retiree from the US Army, was at one time the commander for US Army Europe and the Seventh Army where he had over 40,000 soldiers under his command. As an Army general charged with the safekeeping of thousands of lives his post-
Tamika rushes into the clinic. She’s late. 32 minutes late, to be precise. As she arrives she meets the eyes of the Medical Receptionist, who glances at her disapprovingly. Darting into the back, she pulls off her gloves and hurriedly hangs her coat in her locker. Her manager, Kate, is suddenly there. “You’re late” she declares. “I know. The bus broke down,” she replies. “Sorry.” Her boss turns and walks out. Tamika quickly stashes her lunch in the lounge refrigerator and clips on the badge that identifies her name and title....
It is not uncommon for me to be asked “Why do you do this and do you enjoy it?” At the onset of my career in medicine, the idea of being President of the American Medical Association or Chair of Council of the World Medical Association was never a consideration. In fact in those early years, I had very little knowledge about these organizations or what they could accomplish. It was not until the AIDS epidemic and the impact it had on patients and my practice did I recognize that part of my responsibility as a....
There has been a flurry of activity in the last decade regarding neuroscience and leadership. From a brain standpoint, much of leadership is based upon the cerebral functions underlying social cognition. Social cognition has evolved to contextualize the matters and outcomes under consideration, the effects of any decisions made on others, and to guide considerations of what others might or might not think. These cognitive functions are expected to lead to sound reasoning and rational judgment.
Rising healthcare costs and demands from the public for increased coverage have led to an ever increasing presence of government in the traditional patient-
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Finally, almost two months after I kissed him goodbye on the way to the hospital, he started to regain consciousness. The relief was indescribable. He was awake. He was talking. Suddenly, the last few months of worry and hopelessness were like a bad dream. He would be home soon. He would laugh, and watch my soccer games, and cook his inventive dinners, and everything would return to normal. It seemed that, at last, we had reached that finish line.
How could I have known the extensive rehab that he would have to go through? How would any sixteen year-
The experience was eye opening, but rather than repelling me from a career in medicine, it made me more certain than ever that I would become a doctor. There is no magic bullet in modern medicine. Every case requires the close supervision of medical professionals, and sometimes things go wrong for no discernable reason. My father is proof enough of that. But the very fact that each case is an uphill battle with no guaranteed success underscores the need for committed, innovative caregivers to heal patients.
I started my third year of medical school this July, and I was placed on the transplant service for my first three weeks. Given my past experience with surgery outcomes, I had been dreading my surgery clerkship, and had even scheduled it first in the year in an attempt to get it over with quickly, so I could enjoy the rest of the year. No one was more surprised than I was when I finished my clerkship having truly enjoyed surgery. I had found the procedural aspect of it interesting and challenging, but more than that, I had enjoyed having the opportunity to spend time with the patients on the wards. Changing the dressing of a patient’s wound vac became my personal task every other day. And it was so satisfying to get to know her and her husband as I did my work. I would mop up the brown-
Sometimes, my father’s surgery and its aftermath seem like a bad dream. He was able to resume his former life almost seamlessly. It is tempting to forget the whole experience, and imagine that it never happened. However, now that I have started my clinical clerkships I think about it often, and use it as motivation to give my patients and their families the kind of attention and support that mine received almost ten years ago.
When my dad went in for heart surgery, I never expected that he wouldn’t wake up. Not to say that I was worry-
However, it never crossed my mind to worry about his reaction to the anesthesia.
When I kissed him goodbye that August morning as he left for the hospital, I felt relieved. The date of the surgery had felt like a finish line; the aneurysm just needed to stay intact up until the surgery, and then his surgeon would repair it, and the ticking time bomb in his chest would be neutralized.
As I remember it now, the morning of the surgery seems more like a starting line, the last moment of normalcy before a harrowing months-
By the time we found out about my father’s aneurysm, I had already decided, with certainty, that I would become a doctor. I liked science, and I wanted to help people, so it seemed like a logical choice. I had an unfailing conviction in the power of modern medicine to cure, most likely because I had watched a few too many episodes of House over summer vacation. To me, the hard part of medicine was figuring out what was wrong with a person, and surgery was a quick fix that saved the patient. Once the doctors got the diagnosis right, the patient was as good as cured.
My memories of the beginning of my junior year of high school are scattered. There was a growing familiarity with the ICU’s prayer room, which my extended family had converted into their own personal waiting area, smiling hollowly for my mother’s camera on the first day of school, and my vision blurring with tears as I watched my father’s chest rise and fall with perfect unison with the click and swoosh of the machine that was keeping him alive. These memories also included looking out onto the crowd at my soccer games, and then remembering that dad would not be there and my friend taking a detour as she drove me home, allowing me time to get my wracking sobs under control before she dropped me off at my house.
Elizabeth Harvey is a native of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and graduated from Harvard College with a BA in Human Evolutionary Biology with a minor in Classical Studies. She is currently a third year medical student at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, and is interested in pursuing a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology.