En Garde!

A person in full fencing attire, holding a sabre

By Erich S. Huang, MD, PhD

Every Thursday night, I find myself facing an opponent brandishing a fencing sabre on a narrow strip, 14 meters long by 2 meters wide, called a piste. Hooked up to an electrical circuit, wearing high-tensile fencing whites and metallic jackets, we face each other. My adversary’s intent is oblique, hidden in shadows behind the mesh of a fencing mask—does he expect to make a “first intention” attack? Or is he inviting me to attack, allowing him to score a touch with a “second intention” parry, then riposte? Once the judge commands “fence!” initiative and intention may change many times in the course of a single touch between us.

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Approaching Health Data Science with Humility

Surgical team caring for a patient in a brightly-lit operating room

By Erich S. Huang, MD, PhD

A “code” — the medical response to a person going into cardiopulmonary arrest — at once represents both the triumph and failure of modern medicine. Viewed from one angle, we see an impressively universal, uniform approach that rigorously applies life-saving techniques, allowing us to yank a patient back from the precipice thanks to teamwork and an extraordinary suite of technology. But there’s another side: the sheer, violent unexpectedness of a code. Pounding on someone’s chest and shocking them is not an expected outcome for just about any intervention – by definition, something has gone awry.

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What Health Data Science and Raising Chickens Have in Common

Close up of an orange colored chicken's full face plumage

By Erich S. Huang, MD, PhD

In my most recent blog post, I wrote about Susan Jones*, a 65 year-old patient and Medicare recipient, and described how a multidisciplinary team at Duke constructed an AI-powered workflow to help patients like her.

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