PITTSBURGH, PA – Sometimes it’s better to acknowledge one’s own shortcomings and move on. That is why we’re saluting a hero, internist Dr. Keisha Boots, for summoning the strength and courage to do something all of us have always wanted to do: she tossed the tall stack of unread New England Journal of Medicine issues sitting in the corner of her office.
Most physicians who have a subscription to the New England Journal of Medicine go through the same motions: briefly scan the contents of the Journal when it appears in your mail, stack it with the others confident you’ll get to it one day, and then that day never comes. But whereas the rest of us mortals live in a farce, hanging onto those Journals and believing we will actually read them, Boots has confronted reality head on.
“There’s no way in hell I’m reading these!” she scoffed. She pulled out a large red snow shovel and started scooping up the Journal issues by the dozens, tossing them into the recycling bin, each flick of the wrist accompanied by the largest sighs of relief. “You always want to bend with your knees, not your back,” Boots said, describing the proper technique on how to dispose of Journal articles without hurting your back.
As it stands, no one has ever read a New England Journal completely from front to back, and that includes the best-selling issue of the Journal, the 2017 Swimsuit edition featuring Kate Upton.
Family medicine doctor, Dr. Carrie Lowe, praises Boots and hopes one day she can be as brave. “Just when I’m about to throw away an issue, there’s this part of me that feels guilty, that I should read at least one article,” says Lowe. “So I hold onto the issue. And never read it. And that’s how the stack builds. We all have stacks. I don’t have it in me to throw them away. But Keisha did. And I really admire that.”
Tomorrow, Boots plans to attack the stack of Annals of Internal Medicine journals in the other corner of her office.