Sunday, July 17, 2011


lots of medical journals cross my desk.  usually i let them pile up with the good intention of looking at them, until a week or two later the pile is too big and daunting and i guiltily throw them all away.  some i at least look at the article summaries to make sure i'm not missing some landmark study (or to finally see the article now available to me five days after i heard about it on NPR...why do they do that?  don't they know i'm going to get a bunch of calls and not have any clue what they're about?).  but the one thing i always read, i look forward to reading, is the regular feature in JAMA called 'A Piece of My Mind'.  these are one to two page essays by physicians (and sometimes non-physicians) about the art of medicine, not the science.  i think that's why i like them so much, they tell of our humanness, our vulnerability and our fallibility, our humility, and ultimately our thirst to learn and do better, to be better physicians.  so much that we strive for in medicine is certainty, but so much that we struggle with is the very real uncertainty of it all. i like these essays for the small nod they give to that struggle.  and many days, these essays seem much more relevant to my day to day work than the the studies that they accompany.

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