Growing up in Venezuela, I really wanted to be a writer. I loved writing short stories with fictional characters named Petunia who overcame challenges and provided a moral in the end. I remember writing one story in which one of the characters tragically dies. My mom (a psychotherapist) thought it reflected a hidden trauma and sent me to one of her colleagues for evaluation. Fortunately, the therapist concluded (correctly, if I may add) that I was just being creative.
At the time, it never crossed my mind to become a doctor. This sentiment persisted through adolescence; when discussing my future in my college application essay, I stated: “I do not want to become a doctor or a lawyer.” And yet they still accepted me! Continue reading This is how I write science papers
With our old dishwasher, we never knew whether the dishes in the washer had been cleaned. Before putting the dishes in the washer, we had to scrub them well, otherwise, they’d come out almost as dirty as they had been when we put them in. At the same time, the dishwasher would do such a poor job washing the dishes that, even after a cycle, they were never really clean (just ask a few of our guests who often left their glasses of water—or wine!—untouched). So, with the dishwasher full, we never knew whether we should turn it on to clean the dishes or place the dishes in our cupboard. Continue reading The Dishwasher Dilemma
Let me tell you about a recent morning working in my outpatient rheumatology clinic. I’ll tell you less about the medicine, but more about my process of practicing medicine. I hope to shed light on what it’s like to be a physician, behind-the-scenes. As you’ll see, practicing medicine is time-consuming; it takes much more than the time spent with the patient in the clinic or at the bedside. Or at least it does if you really want to take care of your patient. Continue reading This is what it’s like to be a physician
I am a physician. For most of my career, “agile” meant the ability to move quickly and easily: the treatment goal for my patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Recently, however, while collaborating with programmers to develop an educational app, I noticed they used the word “agile” in a new way. For them, Agile is a methodology for software development.
Continue reading Agile manifesto for physicians
Patient details have been changed to protect patient privacy.
A previously-healthy man sees his primary care physician and complains of fatigue. Laboratory studies show abnormalities which concern his physician for the presence of cancer. Imaging reveals enlarged lymph nodes, and he is admitted to the hospital to determine his type of cancer and begin treatment. Several biopsies later, no malignancy is found, although his medical team remains suspicious. Continue reading To misdiagnose is human