It was after shoveling winter snow that Brett began to cough. It was a dry cough, a morning cough, a “smoker’s cough.” It persisted, grew deeper. Several weeks later, there was a particularly harsh cough and in the sink was a crimson blob. Frightened, he called his doctor. For 71 years old, Brett looked healthy. His lung exam was clear and the cough was gone. A case of bronchitis?   The chest ...

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Distinguishing between the terms "bully" and "bullying" is an important step that we can take in order to eliminate or at least minimize any disruptive or undermining behaviors that are often associated with bullying.  Yelling at, humiliating, excluding, gossiping about others are a few of ways we humans cleverly demonstrate disrespect for others.  And we all know that lack of respect is a persistent and pervasive problem in health care. As ...

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Without a doubt, parenting is simultaneously the most rewarding and difficult job we have as adults. As a child psychiatrist and mom, I am always asked if I find it easier to parent given my profession. I always respond by saying, "I was the perfect parent until I had children!" I am also universally asked about how to raise happy children. I always pause before I attempt to answer this question. ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 53-year-old man is evaluated for persistent right-sided facial weakness. Three months ago, he first noticed "droopiness" of the right side of his lower face, difficulty closing the right eye and wrinkling the forehead, increased sensitivity to loud noises, and occasional slurred speech. Bell palsy was diagnosed, and he began a 10-day ...

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We physicians live in the shadow of rising health care costs.  Hospitals want us to cut length of stays and somehow become more efficient.   Insurance companies ask us to accept less money for patient visits, forcing us to see more people in fewer hours.  The government wants us to check a slew of electronic boxes to prove that we’ve performed what they deem to be best practices, even though there is ...

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It will be six months since my mother passed away. I kept my mother’s illness a secret. Not because I was ashamed and embarrassed but I did not want to advertise to the entire world of what she was going through out of respect to her and my family. So you sit there, put on a front like everything is cool and continue on your daily routine, until one day everything ...

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Fever phobia is common among parents. The vast majority of the time, these fears are unfounded, because a fever is very rarely a cause for significant concern. One important exception is in newborns under 2 months of age. Compared to older children, these very young infants are at high risk for serious infections, so any fever in this age group requires urgent medical evaluation. Here’s what parents needs to know ...

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Ohio is attempting to introduce legislation that would require abortion clinics to incinerate or bury products of conception from abortion. This legislation is already in place in Arkansas and Indiana. These laws are supposed to afford human tissue a “respectful and proper” end as lawmakers were apparently horrified that products of conception were disposed of as medical waste. Medical waste is not an offensive term. When ...

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Most physicians will be thrust into the role of patient or caregiver at some point during their careers. Unfortunately, it’s not until this occurs that many become fully aware of the finer points of excellent care and communication. Take, for example, the simple act of reporting test results to a patient. We do this every day, but may not realize that how we frame the information is as important as ...

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I am a licensed clinical social worker. And, occasionally, a mental patient. Today, in this inpatient psychiatric unit, I am more a patient than a social worker. It is Monday morning, and I am eating breakfast across from Owen, a muscular, flannel-clad, Paul Bunyan-looking patient. Little pieces of his scrambled eggs keep landing on his copper-colored beard. I sort of want to motion with my hand at where the eggs are ...

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