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Latest Posts

Tattoo Regrets In Los Angeles

True story: As a fourth-year medical student I spent a summer working with a dermatologist in Los Angeles. In addition to all the skin cancer removal, sun damage, and Mohs surgery patients, my preceptor had a thriving laser tattoo removal business.

One day a rock band electric guitarist came into the office requesting help for an incident he’d had the night before. Apparently he’d gotten terribly drunk (+/- stoned) and made an impulsive tattoo decision that he regretted deeply in the light of morning.

The gaunt, long-haired gentleman entered the dermatology suite with his head hung low. He sat down in the exam chair and explained that he was there for a tattoo removal consultation. “Man, I can’t believe I did this to myself,” he muttered as he unbuttoned his shirt.

I wondered what on earth could be so terrible…

And then I saw it.

It was an 8 inch by 4 inch, bright yellow and black tattoo…

On the left side of his neck…

An exact replica of…

The periodic table of the elements.

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Cartoon

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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