He would have died. About 4 weeks ago, my 74 year old father-in-law, “Pops” was admitted to a small community hospital for delirium and worsening congestive heart failure. He was seen by a caring hospitalist and a local cardiologist who was deemed good by all the locals, but they could not get him better. Despite the delirium, Pops pleaded he wanted to live to see my 8 year old son graduate high school. My husband, who is an internist, respected the other doctors’ decision and did not want to interfere with his dad’s medical care. With tears in his eyes, he whispered, “I wish we could do more.” My heart was heavy as I did not want to go against my in-law’s wishes to get a second opinion. Trying to make the right decision, I talked to my colleagues, I talked to my patients, and I talked to my own family: what should I do? Go against my in-law’s wishes and transfer him to Dallas for a full evaluation or be complicit in the Do Not Resuscitate Order?
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It’s hard work wearing a crown. The dermatologists have been dethroned as Medscape’s happiest specialty after years at the top. While studies only detail that we are the most satisfied outside of work, I argue we are the happiest working, too. With an N of 1, here are my 10 observations.