I recently read a post by oncologist Dr. Stephanie Graff on the experience of blame, from self and others, that people with cancer are subjected to:

The talk about risk factors and early detection makes us think we can achieve perfection, and that cancer is somehow a personal fault … let us stop making accusations and blaming persons diagnosed with cancer. They are blameless.
Her post, "Read more...

The Senate version of the Republican health care bill lays bare the priorities of America’s current political leadership. It is not pretty. The new bill demonstrates the Republicans’ entirely unbalanced view of government and fiscal policy, where monetary value trumps all other values, and where only the wealthy are worthy of a helping hand. These are the new values of the Republican leadership as evidenced by the new bill. We once ...

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Social media is a powerful way to change the public perception of the medical profession. A KevinMD keynote video excerpt.  Please visit my physician keynote speaking page to find out more.

School’s out! This time of year is met with great expectation in children all over the country. However, another unwelcomed guest, hunger, comes along with the summer break. Over 30 million children qualify for the National School Lunch Program which provides free or low-cost meals to children daily during the school year. When classes are out over the summer months, the food availability lessens for many children as parents aren’t ...

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Computers, more specifically, electronic health records (EHRs), will someday revolutionize the practice of medicine. In fact, successful computerization of medical care is the most critical step necessary to transform the American health care system from its current sorry state to the 21st-century system of our dreams. It is ironic, then, that today EHRs represent one of the worst problems plaguing medical professionals. At this point, many physicians would say that ...

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Two hours of administrative tasks for every hour with patients. A proliferation of non-physician administrators deciding how the day is going to run. Little in our training about how to cope with uncertainty and change. It’s no surprise that burnout rates are approaching 60 percent. Despite being so common, when we see a colleague struggling with physician burnout, we may not know what to say. Responding appropriately can bring someone ...

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Your brain is a three-pound hunk of biological tissue. And though it’s nothing more than a conglomeration of specialized cells, it generates the taste of cheesecake, the ecstasy of enchantment, and the misery of suffering. Amazing, right? I certainly think so, though I find myself among a shrinking minority. Whereas the eyes of our medical forefathers were turned toward the heavens in search of answers to seemingly unknowable questions -- ...

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Once during my TV news days, I was feeling pretty good about myself during a three-hour drive to the Mayo Clinic. “I am so glad I don’t practice!” I crowed to my photographer. “Practicing physicians are so sad. They’ve lost their income, their autonomy, and the public’s respect.” My photographer didn’t miss a beat. “Yeah,” he replied. “They sound just like you.” By which he meant that as a journalist, I’d lost ...

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I see them every time I wait in the inescapably long lines at the grocery store. They’re offering me so much. Fat-melting foods that “work like gastric bypass.” Sleep masks that prevent breast cancer. One day diets. And, of course, the perennial “medical miracles.” All these revelations can be mine with a simple magazine purchase. It’s easy to dismiss the medical advice being propagated through the supermarket checkout aisle. Who would ...

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President Trump told a group of Republican Senators that the House-based American Health Care Act is “mean” -- and on this he surely called it right! How else would one describe a bill that would take health insurance away from 23 million people, allow states to waive rules requiring insurers to cover people with preexisting conditions at no extra charge, and raise premiums and deductibles to the oldest and ...

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In my last year of training, I came to realize the difference between doctors who felt successful and those who didn’t. From the beginning, I had always been hard on myself. I always thought about the decisions I made for every patient in detail, played them over and over in my head, and wondered what I could have done differently for each one. Whether or not their outcome was satisfactory, ...

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Dear Senators, I know that the plan is to meet soon to pass the latest GOP health plan. The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, failed with a price tag of over a trillion dollars. Yes, this faulty plan is not sustainable as is. Yet, your proposed plan is just a rehashing of the failed elements. While you look at the economics and short-fallings, I look patients in the eye ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 28-year-old pregnant woman is evaluated for a cardiac murmur identified on examination by her obstetrician. She is asymptomatic. She is in her 24th week of pregnancy. Medical history is unremarkable, and there is no family history of heart disease. She takes prenatal vitamins and no other ...

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Any physician who firmly believes in the ethical principles of beneficence and justice will recognize the legislation recently passed by the United States Congress known as the American Healthcare Act (AHCA) as a moral travesty. The bill’s provisions to shift costs from the wealthy to the impoverished, diminish protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions, and strip away essential health benefits for patients are cruel measures that run directly counter to ...

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Pain is not a vital sign. It cannot be measured objectively, nor does an extreme value portend crisis as in the case of pulse or blood pressure. The myopic focus on pain in recent decades has been misguided and deleterious, and the opioid crisis is the result. Now, like ostriches with our heads in the sand, we are again playing victims instead of wielding power when we allow customer satisfaction ...

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As a pediatric allergist, I treat several conditions that commonly affect children, including asthma, food allergies, eczema and allergic rhinitis. Almost everyone knows someone affected by some form of allergic condition, which makes for frequent questions from families, referring providers, and the public at large. Early in my career, I noticed that many patients (and even colleagues in other specialties) were asking me questions that were either outdated or born entirely ...

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My hospitalist medical group consists of as great collection of atheists, agnostics, and skeptics as you will ever find.  But we all agree that quality is our religion.  We believe to our last breath that patient care is sacred and an invaluable gift.  And so, as with all faith, there is no halfway.  You believe, or you stand around scratching your head asking what those other fools are worshipping.  Just ...

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I read an article by Dr. Jarret Patton that reminded us that “Cops and doctors have the same problem: People don’t trust them.” I remember thinking to myself that I had to do something to help clarify the source of this age-old problem and also to help improve the situation. It is important for us to remember that our past life experiences, diverse cultures, goals and ...

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"Management's overall aim should be to create a system in which everybody may take joy in his/her work." - W. Edwards Deming "Your skin is not thick enough to hear me yell for even ten minutes!" a 92-year-old patient's family member shouted at me while attending a care plan meeting. I was soon asked to leave the room left with case manager, social workers and mid-level managers. Later that evening, as I claimed ...

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“Transparency” is the name of the game in the 21st century. Transparency is now required in any service-oriented profession, whether plumbing, law or real estate. Now, transparency has made its way into the field of medicine. I say this because medicine has historically been an opaque profession. Many physicians leveraged the fact that they were put on a pedestal to deliver a paternalistic style of medical care. With the advent of ...

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