I wear a lot of hats in my job.  Though I’m a physician who specializes in the practice of anesthesiology, I don’t spend all day every day at the head of an operating room table. Many days I spend in an administrative leadership role or conducting research studies.  These functions support the best interests of my patients as well as the science and practice of anesthesiology.  On my clinical days that ...

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Every so often you have a patient in your practice that you sort of know, but really don’t. You’ve seen the name somewhere, but your mind draws a blank when asked about him. You may even have a vague idea of what he looks like, but if he were to bump into you on the street, you won’t even recognize him, despite the fact that you’ve been inside his heart ...

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Ebola: Whos looking out for the nurses? Being a nurse is a risky job.  Needle-stick injuries, violence, back injuries, and infectious disease are all potential threats.  But until recently, nursing was not usually viewed, like police work, or commercial fishing, as a life-endangering career choice. Those who risk their lives for their work go into it knowing the risks, and receive intensive training and protective gear. Not so the ...

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Nancy Snyderman shows indifference for her role as a medical communicator I wish Dr. Nancy Snyderman the best of health. I'm happy that she remains free from the deadly Ebola virus, and hopefully it will stay that way. It must have been extremely difficult for her to be under quarantine, especially since she was feeling healthy. It's simple: When you feel good, you want to be active. In Dr. Snyderman's case, she ...

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In June 2014, the first patient with Ebola arrived at Liberia’s county hospital, Redemption. As tensions grew around the city of Monrovia, administrators at JFK Hospital began to devise plans for handling patients with suspected Ebola. Officials from the CDC then came and gave us lectures. They discussed prevention of spreading and what our plans would be in the event of a potential outbreak. Before that moment, there were no ...

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Many physicians are discouraged by the state of medical practice in 2014. Maintaining job satisfaction and well-being for the duration of a decades-long medical career can be as daunting as completing an uphill marathon. In addition to keeping up with the explosion of medical knowledge and maintaining certification in your specialty, what concrete practices can you adopt to insure that you will make it to the finish line in good ...

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I recently attended my 10-year medical school reunion class party, and I have to admit, I had a great time. From the beginning, my class was special. We had 104 amazing people who were truly inspired to make a difference. However, regardless of how talented and hard working you are, medical school is one of the most challenging things you will ever do in your life. During our class party, we ...

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We all start out as idealistic medical students, downright puppy-like in our devotion to our patients, eagerly bounding to their rescue and spending hours listening to their concerns. Somewhere along the way, we start shutting down, seeing patients as demanding and feeling as if we're always fighting them off. I used to do it too; hide behind my layers of staff, complain to the office manager if a patient somehow made it ...

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Top stories in health and medicine, October 20, 2014From MedPage Today:

  1. Ebola: Politicos Mull Travel Restrictions; Docs Say No. As Ebola continues to dominate the headlines, one hotly debated question is whether the U.S. should ban travelers from the West Africa nations where the disease is raging, as a preventive measure.
  2. Ebola: Do the Dogs Have It? Bentley, the dog ...

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Pain is one of the few things in life universally common to all races, all ages, virtually all people for the history of time.   Though it is always with us, it is also the most difficult of human feelings to describe or even talk about. Doctors in an attempt to understand the degree to which we hurt invented a 1 to 10 pain scale. I was very fortunate my first 47 ...

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Few will argue that the overall health of Americans has deteriorated in the past quarter century.  Diabetes or prediabetes afflicts nearly 120 million people. Roughly two of three Americans are either overweight or obese. Pharmaceutical companies focus on drug discovery as a solution.  Thousands of apps for smart phones are being developed to change our destructive behavior.  But, lacking in both of these is a true solution, one that draws ...

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On July 1, 2014, I retired after 35 years in practice. Or at least so it seemed. Before and after retirement, my cardiology group asked if I might be interested in part-time work. At first I said no. Due to my retirement, a physician's poor health, and one partner's departure due to chronic complaints of being overworked and under-appreciated, the group found itself without three doctors. As my retirement approached ...

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With all the news about enterovirus 68 sending hundreds of children to hospitals, it's easy to panic when you hear about a case in your neighborhood -- or, even worse, if your child starts coughing. But please, don't panic. This virus has certainly caused trouble and tragedy. But enteroviruses are incredibly common, causing 10-15 million illnesses a year -- and usually, those illnesses are minor. This one, for reasons we ...

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Polypharmacy, or use of multiple psychiatric drugs, for treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is on the rise. A recent study compared treatment with basic therapy (stimulants plus parent training) with augmented therapy (those two plus risperidone, an atypical antipsychotic). The study concluded that treatment with risperidone was superior. When children show dramatic improvements in behavior on risperidone, now being prescribed with increasing frequency for ADHD and a range ...

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This New York Times article stimulated thoughts about teaching internal medicine: "Better Ways to Learn":

In the new book, “How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens” (Random House), Benedict Carey, a science reporter for The New York Times, challenges the notion that a high test score equals true learning. He argues that although a good grade may be achieved in the short term ...

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An excerpt from Getting Into Medical School: A Comprehensive Guide for Non-Traditional Students. Tranditional vs. non-traditional Traditional premedical students enter a four-year university directly after high school and begin taking courses for their major while also working on their required pre-med core sciences in order to finish their studies in a timely fashion.  Most of these students finish their sciences by their sophomore year in hopes of taking the Medical ...

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Preface: I love to write about many things. People, pets, children, family, nature. But over and over I come back to a theme: my colleagues in our specialty and the forces arrayed against us. I’m not trying to be the toxic voice, the endless complainer. But if people like me don’t beat the drum, then nothing will ever change for the better. In this column I will continue to explore issues ...

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A friend of mine, a diabetic who has been pretty passive about his medical care, suddenly learned the importance of patient engagement a few weeks ago when a matter affecting his pocketbook grabbed his attention. A bill arrived from Express Scripts, the pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) for Emblem Health, a Medigap plan offered to former New York City employees. For years my friend had been taking the drug gemfibrozil that diabetics ...

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“They need you in room 13,″ she said when I answered the phone and I ran back to the ICU.  The patient was coding and for each minute that felt like an hour, we tried, and failed, to save her.  She wasn’t breathing, her heart wasn’t working, and despite the 30 people gathered in the room, in the end, she died. Running a code, as we call it, means that someone is ...

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Josh Green’s novel -- and recent film -- The Fault In Our Stars (TFIOS) is a new classic of young adult fiction, deservedly famous, and it’s easy to see why. The story is simultaneously deeply sad and really funny, mostly due to the narrator, Hazel. She is an intensely likable 16-year-old, who charms you even while she explains, stoically, that she is dying of thyroid cancer that has spread to ...

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