How Job Stress Can Age Us

I noticed my first gray hair during my medical residency. It sneaked up on me at the end of a long, frenzied shift — one of those nights when Murphy’s Law seems stronger than the law of gravity. [...]

Being a Doctor Is Hard. It’s Harder for Women.

Happy medical residents are all alike. Every unhappy resident would take a long time to count. It’s no secret that medical training is grueling: long hours, little sleep, rigid hierarchies, steep [...]

Doctors with Disabilities: Why They’re Important

Growing up, my sister never let our family get a blue “handicapped” placard for the car. Born three months prematurely with cerebral palsy, she uses forearm crutches to get around. But she’d [...]

Most Dangerous Time at the Hospital? It May Be When You Leave

For a medical resident, the first day on a new service is never smooth. You’re on a new floor with new nurses, other new residents, new supervisors and, of course, new patients — sometimes two [...]

Who Will Care for the Caregivers

I should have put his socks back on. The thought kept nagging me as I finished my clinic notes, replaying the afternoon in my head. My final patient of the day — a man with dementia — was a late [...]

As a doctor, I see how a lack of health insurance worsens illness and suffering

When I first met my patient, I didn’t know why he’d been vomiting. It turned out to be for the worst reason. He’d been losing weight and energy for months. He’d occasionally seen blood in the [...]

How Social Isolation is Killing Us

My patient and I both knew he was dying. Not the long kind of dying that stretches on for months or years. He would die today. Maybe tomorrow. And if not tomorrow, the next day. Was there someone [...]

Should Doctors-in-Training Work Fewer Hours?

How many hours should medical residents work? Hospital care is a 24-hour-a-day enterprise, but the question of which doctor should be there — and how long he or she should already have been there [...]