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Exhale is the riveting memoir of a top transplant doctor who rode the emotional rollercoaster of saving and losing lives—until it was time to step back and reassess his own life.

Articles

US nursing strikes mean burnout, shortage about to get worse

About 250,000 deaths occur in the U.S. each year due to medical error. That number won't get better with extra strain on nurses – and may get worse.

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Physicians at Work: How Doctor Misbehavior Impacts Patient Care

The pop culture portrayal of physician arrogance is pervasive, but how closely does art reflect reality? The recent survey by Medscape of 1500 physicians entitled Physicians Behaving Badly gives us some indication.

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Health care workers are burning mad — not only burnt out

Last week, President Biden signed into law the Dr. Lorna Breen Healthcare Provider Protection Act. Breen’s death by suicide was a sentinel moment in the early phase of the pandemic, a stark indication that our health care workforce was bearing a great burden of the pandemic’s onslaught.

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A Witness to the Human Experience: Why Medicine Needs Storytellers

While working at Stanford for 11 years on the frontlines of a top lung transplant program, I often had a plotline running in my head. I didn’t know the narrative’s exact format, but I knew there was a story to tell. I saw some truly inspiring things, including courageous patients who fought for their lives.

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Opinion: Of course unvaccinated people should be barred from receiving transplant organs

A Colorado health system recently sparked outrage by deciding that potential transplant recipients would not be considered for a transplant if they had not received the coronavirus vaccine. The issue arose when a woman had her spot on a kidney transplant list “inactivated,” with the threat of removal from the list entirely, if she didn’t pursue vaccination within 30 days.

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The language police are doing major harm to their own goal of social justice

“Times have changed.” The person telling me this over Zoom was, like me, a middle-aged white doctor and privileged. But despite our shared experiences, this physician, chairman of a hospital department to which I’d just delivered a Grand Rounds lecture, was taking on the role of unsolicited mentor, giving me feedback that might be “helpful” after the talk.

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Finding My Religion

I grew up without any clear religious identity, but a surprising family revelation about the past has changed everything

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An open letter to 2021 medical school graduates

To the medical school graduating class of 2021: As I write this, I imagine a younger version of myself sitting next to you, not knowing, like you, what will come next.

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Lung transplants after Covid-19 raise difficult issues

When the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States in the spring, I wrote that some people with severe Covid-19-related lung injury would never recover their lung function. Now transplant specialists are being asked to evaluate them.

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Unequal treatment: Black doctor's COVID-19 death shows racial disparities in health care

It's an open secret in the medical profession that Black people often receive substandard care because of the color of their skin.

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Biden-Harris COVID-19 advisory board should be met with cautious optimism

I intently studied the names of the Biden-Harris COVID-19 advisory board, and it was hard not to be impressed: a former FDA head and Surgeon General, infectious disease specialists, ethicists, epidemiologists, and a front-line ICU physician. Good, I thought, I can exhale.

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Op-Ed: How politics and muddled CDC messaging helped doom U.S. efforts to fight coronavirus

Like most physicians, I considered March the starting line of a race, a race to learn as much as we could as quickly as we could about the novel coronavirus. The more we understood, I figured, the more lives would be saved.

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Burnout made me quit my transplant practice. Front-line workers need help, too.

I lost sight of the good outcomes and obsessed about the deaths.

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Ventilators Don't Cure COVID-19. What Happens When People Come Off Them?

As the COVID-19 crisis unfolds in sections, it appears that the question of whether there will be enough ventilators available for everyone that needs one has been answered.

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Science on the fly: Resist the urge to jump on every new COVID-19 theory

Each morning during these most unusual of times, I find an inbox filled with messages from both my medical colleagues and well-informed laypeople attaching articles or links to webpages referencing the latest “breakthroughs” in the fight against the coronavirus.

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In health care access, doctor privilege is real. This is how it works

COVID-19 has made me ask myself if I would "make the call" to get a loved one treatment. I've considered it before.

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Supply Isn’t the Problem With Organ Transplants

There are plenty of donors to meet the need, but the system is so inefficient that available organs often don’t reach desperate patients

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As the need for organ transplants grows, the number of transplant physicians dwindles

During the 25 years I’ve been a transplant doctor, I’ve cared for hundreds of patients who received lung transplants. I’m now worried about the growing number of people who will need this lifesaving procedure in the future but who won’t have enough transplant physicians to do it.

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