Tales of Survival

More Than A Medical Note

July 15, 2016
More Than A Medical Note

By Alicia Cowley, MD

Ms. R had been admitted late the previous night so I expected that I would have to gently nudge her from her sleep. So as I peeked around the curtain separating her bed from her roommate’s, I was surprised to find a woman alert and freshly bathed. She had assembled a makeshift vanity with a mirror and a small cosmetics pouch that she had propped conspicuously atop her overbed table.

She was about to apply some lipstick when she noticed me. …

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The Pool

June 24, 2016
The Pool

By Jafar Al-Mondhiry, MD

I’m surprised I even noticed it. The patient gowns, IV poles, slipper-socks—all normal fare in the hallways of a busy hospital.  But down in the elevator bank, just between the Emergency Department and the main hospital floors above us where invariably such sights predominate, he seemed out of place. The stony, oblivious look he carried on his face made my brow furrow just a little deeper, seeing that checked-out expression so characteristic of the over- or under-medicated psychiatric patient.

And then …

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Defiance

June 5, 2015
Defiance

By Amar Parikh, MD

I recently visited The Metropolitan Museum of Art and stumbled across this sculpture called “Woman of Venice II” by Alberto Giacometti. It made me recall an experience I had with a patient on the hematology service this past autumn, and I could not help but marvel at how my patient and this work of art seemed to echo each other. Below is my effort at articulating some of the thoughts I had when I saw this sculpture.

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Microbiome Blues in E

April 1, 2015
Microbiome Blues in E

By M tanner

Many  bacteria live in and on me—I’ve always known that. But when I learned that bacteria make up 90% of the cells in my body, it made me feel so sucio, so unclean.

I went through my day, realizing for the first time that I am entertaining 100 trillion houseguests who never go home. And who lack all sense of decorum. I know that, technically speaking, bacteria are asexual. But then I read: “one special type of pilus found in ‘male’ strains …

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Tales of Survival: A Dose of Perspective

January 31, 2014
Tales of Survival: A Dose of Perspective

By Kaitlyn Dugan

My steps echoed in the hallway of the 17th floor of Bellevue Hospital as my head remained buried in the H&P my resident handed me only a few seconds earlier. Mr. W was a 64 year-old African American male with an extensive medical history including CAD with CABG, CHF with an EF of 30%, COPD, stage 4 squamous cell carcinoma of the lung (status-post chemotherapy and radiation), who was in his usual stage of chronically ill health until 3 days prior to …

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Book Review: What Doctors Feel-Danielle Ofri, MD

August 2, 2013
Book Review: What Doctors Feel-Danielle Ofri, MD

By Michael Tanner, MD

Faculty Peer Reviewed

What Doctors Feel, Danielle Ofri’s answer to Jerome Groopman’s How Doctors Think, explores how doctors’ emotions affect the practice of medicine in good and bad ways. As the saxophone virtuoso Charlie Parker said, “If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn.” Dr. Ofri has lived it, in a career more varied than most—as a rape crisis counselor, a neuroanatomy teaching assistant, a cellist, a PhD in neuroscience, and a professor and practitioner of internal …

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Tales of Survival: “Waiting for a bed”

July 12, 2013
Tales of Survival: “Waiting for a bed”

By Anjali Varma Desai, MD

Mr. X is an 83- year-old male with a history of dementia, hyperlipidemia, irritable bowel syndrome, benign prostatic hypertrophy, hypothyroidism and chronic kidney disease stage III, presenting with new-onset left hip pain for1 week. Hip x-rays showed changes consistent with osteoarthritis with no evidence of fracture or dislocation. All other laboratory data were unremarkable. The patient was admitted to Medicine for management of his hip pain. On the night following admission, he became delirious in the setting of receiving morphine …

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Reflections on Hurricane Sandy

January 11, 2013
Reflections on Hurricane Sandy

By Jessica Taff, MD

As the 3 major teaching hospitals that make up NYU Medical Center begin to come back online, we thought it was the right time to share some of our reflections on Hurricane Sandy.  It’s been a long strange journey for the faculty, housestaff, students and most of all our patients.  It’s time now though for us to come back home; to return with a renewed sense of purpose and a new appreciation for our institution.

As the East River lapped over …

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Tales of Survival: An Open Letter to My Patient Mrs. B.

March 2, 2012
Tales of Survival: An Open Letter to My Patient Mrs. B.

By Vivek Murthy

Case report:

Mrs. B is a 68-year-old female with a PMH of small cell lung CA metastatic to the liver s/p last chemo six weeks ago presenting with RUQ pain migrating to her RLQ for the last 24 hours. Physical exam reveals a fatigued but pleasant African-American female appearing her stated age, in obvious pain that is making her eyes water. Exam is significant for R supraclavicular LAD, a distended abdomen, + Murphy’s sign, and exquisite tenderness to palpation and guarding in …

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Tales of Survival: Physical Exam

July 15, 2011
Tales of Survival: Physical Exam


By John Hwang

General

Patient is a demented, chronically ill elderly male lying in bed attached to a ventilator, appearing anything but his stated age. Contracted in a fetal position, huddled under the bed sheet with only his bald head and wrinkled skin showing, he alternately resembles a centenarian or a newborn child—someone very much at the brink of life.

Mental Status Exam

Patient awake and alert, but severely cognitively impaired. Completely nonverbal and does not repeat or respond to commands. He looks observers in …

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An Intern In The ER

April 1, 2011
An Intern In The ER

By Demetrios Tzimas, MD

New York City.  Bellevue Hospital Center.  July 17, 2009.  1:53 pm.  Intern Year. Long Call.

“Go down to the ER.  There’s a guy with chest pain for the past three days, EKG shows some non-specific changes, vitals stable.  First set of labs negative.  CXR clear.  They gave him a full-dose aspirin.  This sounds like a rule out chest pain, and since it’s Friday, he’ll go to medicine and not the chest pain unit.  I’d go down with you, but one of …

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Tales of Survival: My White Coat

February 3, 2011
Tales of Survival: My White Coat

By Kristen Mattei

Faculty Peer Reviewed

Mr. H was an 85-year-old former merchant marine and self-proclaimed lothario who presented to the VA emergency room with a six-month history of lymphadenopathy, a six-week history of cough, and a two-week history of decreased exercise tolerance. The physical exam was remarkable for impressive lymphadenopathy in the anterior cervical, posterior cervical, submandibular, axillary, and inguinal regions.   A CT scan of his neck, thorax, abdomen, and pelvis revealed a pulmonary embolism and diffuse lymphadenopathy. 

 I must admit, that as cynical …

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