Daily, I am contacted by good doctors who are struggling with symptoms of burnout syndrome and who have become overwhelmed by the challenges of attempting to practice medicine in today’s health care environment. As a psychiatrist who runs a program to address and treat these distressed doctors, I am troubled by the ever-growing number of calls I receive. The burned-out physician is exhausted -- mentally and physically -- and often no ...

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Top stories in health and medicine, August 27, 2014From MedPage Today:

  1. 'Sleep Drunkenness' Common, But Rarely Unexplained. So-called confusional arousals -- awakenings without coming fully aware -- were reported in the past year by some 15% of respondents in a population-based survey, with nearly all such episodes associated with mental disorders or drugs known to affect sleep.
  2. The Siren Call ...

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Oh yeah.  Hot dang.  All right.  Groovy. Boom goes the dynamite. I had a very great day yesterday. I saw three patients who had recent diagnoses of cancer.  Yeah, those two statements seem to contradict.  They don't.  Each person I saw gave me a clear view of how the practice I've been building over the past 18 months is making a difference.  A big, big difference. The first patient was a guy who is ...

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I’m all for free speech and I’m very hostile to censorship.  The response to ugly speech is not censorship, but is rebuttal speech.   Of course, there’s a lot of speech out there that should never be uttered.  Indecent and rude speech is constitutionally protected, but is usually a poor choice.    We have the right to make speech that is wrong. I relish my free speech in the office with patients.   I ...

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Earlier this year a child died following a surgical procedure in California for a condition called obstructive sleep apnea. The case generated a great deal of concern among parents about both this condition and the surgery often done to treat it. I wrote a post myself about it at the time. I still get questions about it because I care for quite a few children immediately after they have had ...

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It was July 2012 and I was pregnant with my third child. As an experienced mother and labor and delivery nurse, I felt very comfortable at 29-weeks gestation and anticipated the usual course of pregnancy. However, at 30 weeks, I started battling with preterm labor issues. This eventually led to the early delivery of my son, a four week and stay in the NICU, and a life lesson in cost-awareness ...

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A resident once offered me this piece of advice: Find mentors whom you admire. Not just for their rapport with patients, but also for their lifestyle, their hours and their family life. Make goals that you know to be realistic because someone has already accomplished them. My question now: Why stop there? Why not share that ounce of brilliant advice with our patients? Why don’t we link older, successful patients with diabetes ...

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Solving the mid level dilemma: Call them what they really are Dr. Michael Pappas hates it when a nurse practitioner is called a mid-level provider: "Stop calling nurse practitioners mid-level providers." So do I, though my reasons are a bit different.  In order to understand them it will be necessary to revisit those dark ages, a time when such individuals were few and the roles played in the drama we know ...

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Top stories in health and medicine, August 26, 2014From MedPage Today:

  1. Adrenaline: The Best and Worst of Drugs. Despite it being the first-line adrenergic drug for patients with cardiac arrest, few studies in humans have assessed epinephrine's effectiveness.
  2. Increase E-Cig Regulation, Says AHA. The federal government should ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors just as it does cigarettes and ...

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"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" Chances are that many of you have duked this out with your college roommates back in the day, but how about this one? “If a doctor and a patient make an advance care plan, but when an emergency happens, nobody can find a copy of it, the proxy doesn't know what's ...

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