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From the Heart
September 2018

Living on a Wire

Author Affiliations
  • 1The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
JAMA Cardiol. 2018;3(9):804-805. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2018.1332

Most interns enter residency full of fear—fear of making errors, fear of harming patients, fear of stupidity, fear of losing oneself. I entered my intern year with these fears as well as an additional one: fear of my own fragility.

I have always been fragile. I was born with congenital complete heart block. My first pacemaker was placed at the age of 10 days, and I’ve been fully dependent on a pacemaker for all 140 000 daily heart beats since I was about 6 years old. I’ve had 6 subsequent replacements throughout my childhood and early adulthood, including 1 to correct a lead fracture when I was 16 years old and another during my surgery clerkship as a third-year medical student.

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