She Trusted You

She trusted you. In her hospital bed, listening attentively to your words, she couldn’t help but think of how badly she just wanted to go home. She missed her cat, though embarrassed to admit it. She longed for her own bed. After a few days, you came to her bedside, you said she could go home. You gave her pills and said, “Take these, they’ll make you well.” She didn’t question you; she was thrilled to be going home. Her cat greeted her. Her bed was soft, warm, welcoming. She dutifully took the pills you gave her. But she did not feel better. And she came back. You had assumed that she would know that the pills you gave her were blood thinners. You also assumed that since she was already taking one, she would know that she would need to stop taking her old pills before she started taking the new ones. You assumed that she knew that even though they had different names, they were the same medication. You assumed that she must know taking both of them would be dangerous; irresponsible. But she didn’t know that. And she didn’t think to ask. She knew about her cat, and how much she missed him. She knew the thread count of the sheets on her bed, and how much she missed their softness. She knew all about her...

Are ‘Super-Enhancers’ the Future of Cancer Therapy?

Nancy Simonian, MD, CEO, Syros Pharmaceuticals details the research of Richard A. Young of the Whitehead Institute and his discovery of super-enhancers, large groups of transcriptional enhancers that drive expression of genes that define cell identity. The research, which has revealed many previously unknown oncogenic drivers, may be important for future cancer therapies....

What Does the Spleen Do? ft. Harvard Medical School

Lungs go whoosh and hearts go lub dub dub. We’ve all learned this. But what exactly does the spleen do? These Harvard trained medical students give it their best guess in a hilarious new parody of “What Does the Fox...

What Nelson Mandela’s Words of Wisdom Mean to Almost Docs

I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death. Optimism is one of the greatest qualities a person can possess in life, and often, especially in medical school and as a doctor, it is tested. Life is full of challenges, and part of what makes life exciting is overcoming these obstacles. Remember that no matter what you face, the only way you can conquer difficulties is to be positive and have faith. When a difficult exam is approaching, remind yourself of your achievements and accept the challenge with enthusiasm. When you’re treating a patient and you think they might not make it, do your best and have confidence in your ability, no matter what the outcome. I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. The responsibility of taking care of someone’s health and having their life in your hands is frightening. For medical students, it is especially frightening to take part in...

10 Useful Alternatives for Your Medical Education

Last week I’m sure I scared many of you with a gloomy prediction of a world without residency spots for every graduating medical student but that was irresponsible journalism, and for that I apologize.  The threat is real enough, especially if our Graduate Medical Education budget gets any additional trimming, but there is good news.  After much research and soul-searching, I’ve come up with the top ten things to do with your education (and matching mortgage-load of debt). 10. Cliff Notes Writer Part of the “beauty” of being a medical student is the sheer amount of information we need to read, absorb, and synthesize into knowledge that we are expected to use to better the lives of our patients.  But in the absence of a residency, there’s no need to let these skills fall into disuse.  Haven’t you ever looked at Ulysses or Atlas Shrugged and thought “Isn’t there a better way?”  Why not leverage your ability to read and summarize to help millions of students avoid having to actually sit down and work their way through unnecessarily dense literature?  Think of it as saving their social lives. 9. Celebrity Fat-Flap Holder If reading doesn’t seem like your cup of tea, then why not use those muscles you developed from long hours in the OR?  (If you’re an M1, M2, or clerk who hasn’t been on Surgery yet, sorry...

The Latest Frontier in Medicine May Redefine Cancer Treatments

Jamey Marth, PhD, Director of the collaborative Center for Nanomedicine gives a talk on the pioneer research being done with nanomedicine. Dr. Marth is leading ground-breaking biomedical research that includes nano-sized “smart devices” which diagnose, target, treat and cure disease before it can cause symptoms and spread. The work being done at the Center for Nanomedicine will revolutionize medicine and how we treat the human...

Hep C Outbreak at Exeter Hospital; It Could Have Been Your Hospital

At Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire, a patient and hospital’s worst nightmare is drawing to a close. The lab technician accused of reusing needles on patients, and transmitting Hep C to at least 45 of them, has been sentenced to 39 years in prison. David Kwiatkowski is a drug addict. He admitted to stealing drug-filled syringes from the hospital, using syringes to inject himself, and then replacing the drug with saline tainted with his blood. Kwiatkowski, thus, transmitted his blood to the intended recipients of the drug. Kwiatkowski has Hepatitis C. A quick refresher: Hep C attacks the liver, sometimes causing few to no symptoms until cirrhosis and jaundice have set in. It’s a virus, and it is treatable, but many people who are infected don’t know that they are. And some, like Kwiatkowski, know that they are infected but still engage in risky behaviors that allow the virus to spread. Hep C does a number on the liver, and most people who have it have the chronic form which causes damage, and even cancer, over time. So, for the patients at Exeter Hospital who were exposed, Hep C could literally be a death sentence. Kwiatkowski’s motivations were purely fueled by his drug addiction – and misguided attempts to cover up the problem. According to his statement in court, he used the syringes to infect himself with Fentanyl, a...

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