My Sister, Ella

Story: Chapter 4

Part 4 of my speech given at residency graduation. Formatting and phrasing reflect oral presentation. Why Pediatric Otolaryngology? Kids are amazing. They think outside the box and ask questions no one else would ask. They’re either practically invulnerable or entirely medically fascinating. Pediatric Otolaryngology allows me to do subspecialized surgery without giving up any major aspects of ENT. But there’s more to it than that….

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My First Patient

Story: Chapter 1

Part 1 of speech given at residency graduation. Organization and phrasing reflects oral presentation. In medical school, we often refer to our first year anatomy class cadaver as our first patient. I knew my first patient long before medical school, though, and she is very much alive. This story begins in Seattle, in 1987, in a sixth-floor apartment four blocks from Pike Place Market. In…

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When It Hurts

how giving bad news affects a physician

The phone weighed heavy in my hand as I punched the numbers in one by one. Two rings, then three — I started planning the discreet voicemail asking you to call me back so I could say words we’d both wish unspoken.

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Not a Routine Procedure

for your patient or their family

A week ago Thursday, my mom texted me between my cases. We chatted for a bit about the family and then she told me that she was at urgent care. My baby brother, 9-year-old M, had just started football practice on Monday and came home with a headache and nausea. On Wednesday, he spent most of the night vomiting. On Thursday, he felt worse, and said his stomach hurt,…

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A Tale of Two Surgeons

creating the patient-surgeon partnership

Like many doctors, I rarely spend time as a patient. I need frequent reminders about the vast difference between wearing the gown and donning the white coat. I recently spoke with a friend in her mid 40s who scheduled a breast reduction. She has wanted a reduction for the last 20 years, and finally reached a place in life when it was time. Her breast…

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