Pauline W. Chen, MD

I met Jeff (not his real name) during my surgical residency, not long after I graduated from medical school. Despite the fact that he was a fellow doctor-in-training, Jeff towered over me not just in height and breadth, but also in self-assurance.

Nothing ever seemed to faze my colleague: his work in the operating room was rumored to be perfect, he relished clinical and scientific debates with anyone up for the challenge, and he astounded the rest of the residents time and time again with his casual references to the latest clinical research and findings.

While the other residents and I might stagger around after caring for a series of trauma patients, Jeff was tireless. He would continue to stride exuberantly into the emergency department, a surgical decathlete in a starched twill white coat, poised for, as he once put it, “another opportunity to excel.”

Patients liked him, senior surgeons respected him, and his peers took to either emulating him or referring to him amongst themselves as “the Uberman.”

But then Jeff became a new father.

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