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Joseph S. Alpert

Do We Learn More from Our Mistakes than from Our Successes?

For years I have believed that you can learn more from your mistakes than from your successes. It is a dictum that I have quoted many times on rounds with residents and students. I tell them that I still remember the mistakes made as an intern, but the success stories have faded from my brain. […]

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Joseph S. Alpert

Is Science Important? A Recent Lecture

Recently, I was invited to give a lecture in honor of MDs/PhDs graduating this year from Aarhus University in Denmark. The requested topic was “Is science important?” When I first received this invitation, I thought “Come on!! Is there really an educated, rational person living in the 21st century who thinks that science is not important?” […]

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Joseph S. Alpert, MD

Are You Planning to Sign Up for a Trip to Mars? Extreme Environmental Health Consequences of Space Travel

In this issue of The American Journal of Medicine, Lipman et al report on therapy for a serious environmental medical condition.1 My commentary below describes an even more serious environmental condition with multiple dangerous and even life-threatening consequences. Recently, one of my colleagues and I at the University of Arizona heard a lecture by one of the retired […]

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The Seven Ages of the Physician

All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant, Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms. Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel And shining morning […]

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Dr. Joseph S. Alpert

Challenging Patients: An International Perspective

Recently, I related the sad stories of 2 challenging patients that I had helped to care for during one of my rotations as attending physician on our internal medicine service.1 The first patient was a frail elderly lady with a number of serious and potentially life-threatening illnesses who insisted on going home to her apartment where […]

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