He is that new patient to the clinic. You know the one. He is the "multiple chronic conditions" patient.  Diabetes, hypertension, COPD, chronic kidney disease, congestive heart failure, arthritis -- it would probably be quicker to name the conditions he doesn’t have. You let out a deep sigh before entering the room. You know the one. He is the "non-native English speaker." English isn’t his first language, perhaps not even his second. You try ...

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Recently, I had the honor and pleasure of introducing my book, Women and Cardiovascular Disease, in London. During the event, I was able to meet with many of my European colleagues from both the media as well as the health care space. I spoke with countless bright and motivated attendees who are excited to be part of a wave of change in cardiac care for women. We identified many ways ...

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At the end of one of my earlier rotations where I first worked with a team consisting of residents and an attending physician, I sat down with the senior resident for feedback. Much of our final grade for each rotation in medical school comes from a subjective assessment of our abilities, ranging from clinical competence to professionalism. She told me I had done a good job with taking ownership of my ...

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In a recent grand rounds on the future of medicine, the buzzwords were “collaboration” and “managing of the health of populations.” The same day, a group of ten residents were presented with their patient data about cancer screening rates. In both venues, the call to “population health” elicited sighs of exasperation. It’s just another checkbox we are being asked to click off. How can we be assessed on that as ...

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Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic. This is one of the main tenets of Alcoholics Anonymous, and it serves to encourage its members to commit to absolute abstinence. It is also a belief, I have come to realize, held by the many medical residents I have encountered. When an alcoholic patient is admitted to the hospital, it is no secret that he (or she) is an alcoholic. This is because it feels ...

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shutterstock_230620183 Every year 300 to 400 physicians commit suicide. More than 10 percent of doctors are thought to have depression, a frequent precursor to suicide. Rates of depression and suicide among physicians are higher than in the general population. Many reasons including stress, heavy workload, sleep deprivation, lack of autonomy, and lack of outlets for personal care may contribute to higher vulnerability in doctors. ...

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To most physicians my illness is a routine incident in their rounds, while for me it's the crisis of my life.  I would feel better if I had a doctor who at least perceived this incongruity.  - Anatole Broyard For medical students to treat illnesses of all kinds, we must first fill our brains with thousands of facts, everything from anatomy, to physiology, to microbiology, and biochemistry. We essentially become robots, pounding ...

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shutterstock_203129515 I am sorry that you are in the hospital. You are feeling ill. The noises are loud, people are walking in and out of rooms, and you aren’t sure of what to expect.  You are probably nervous.  This whole situation is a disturbance to your life. You would rather be at home -- I can understand that. Few people want to ...

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Physician burnout has been previously described as heartbreaking, and this may be an understatement.  The growing complexities of health care delivery, intricacies of documentation practices as required by Meaningful Use, and difficulties inherent to billing and reimbursement are only a few of the issues faced by residents and attending clinicians these days. Unfortunately, these topics are still not formally taught in American medical schools. As students, we really do not know ...

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The non-medical reader may wonder what I am complaining about.  Of course, many of you have to be credentialed in your fields as well, whether law or accounting, law enforcement or public service, education, nursing or a trade.  But those of you in medicine know how difficult it can be to become credentialed as a physician, either by a state for purposes of a license, or by a hospital in order ...

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