"Doctors are not the problem. Patients are." Anyone who has ever thought the above statement is true has not tapped into the vast well of knowledge and intellect found in their own patients. Training patients to be better patients brings the joy of medicine back into your practice. All of us, at one time or another, sat in a classroom. The teacher spent the first day going over the rules of the ...

Read more...

An open letter to doctors still prescribing opioid medication when necessary: Thank you so much for standing up for us pain patients. My chronic pain comes from a genetic connective tissue disorder (Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome), so there is no treatment or cure for my slow, but relentless, physical deterioration as the collagen holding my body together falls apart. I, like so many other pain patients, spent years (1982-1995) trying other therapies (yoga, acupuncture, ...

Read more...

At the 8th Annual Patient Experience Summit, Adrienne Boissy, MD, MA, Chief Experience Officer at Cleveland Clinic Health System, encouraged conference attendees to “dream bigger.” So here goes.  It’s time for you to invite patients to speak to promising young doctors during their time at your respective schools. You need to invite patients for regularly scheduled story sharing.  Don’t roll your eyes at me just yet.  It’s time to invest in ...

Read more...

After sixteen years of chronic illness and even after writing a book titled How to Be Sick, I still can feel sick of being sick. (When I use the word “sick,” I’m including chronic pain.) If you’re as intimately familiar as I am with sick of being sick, you know it how unpleasant it feels. Here are ten strategies to help you through this difficult emotional time. 1. Start by acknowledging how ...

Read more...

We were brand new to the clinic, looking for a new doctor after our beloved pediatrician had retired. Our three living children are healthy as galloping horses -- a simple fact made astonishing after the deaths of their two sick sisters. But they still need well-checks and vaccines and strep tests and a place to call about rashes and fevers and flu. So here I was, hugely pregnant, waddling in the ...

Read more...

I had my first outpatient surgical procedure when I was still in high school and needed a plantar wart removed from the sole of my foot. As the doctor injected the area with a local anesthetic, he explained he did these procedures all the time, and I wouldn't feel a thing. After a short wait, he began to dig out the deeply embedded wart with a hooked scalpel. With the first ...

Read more...

Now more than ever, health insurance is a staple story in the 24-hour news cycle. Opinions vary widely on the issue, as do politician’s thoughts on the matter. Debates rage, tensions grow, and deeper divides are formed as our government wrestles with this colossal dispute. Nestled at the heart of it all though is a basic question: Is health insurance a right or a privilege in the United States? I’m alive today ...

Read more...

When Lorie Duff was pregnant with her third child, she did what all good moms are supposed to do. She went to the OB/GYN clinic for prenatal care. But she fell behind on the clinic payments. She only made about $25,000 a year managing an auto parts store while her husband stayed home with their kids. The out-of-pocket expenses were outpacing her ability to pay. That’s when she ...

Read more...

I sat in my car, anxiously watching the minutes tick by as I ruminated over and over the words, I had prepared for this crucial meeting. I had arrived much earlier than the appointed time, knowing I would need a few moments to calm my nerves before walking into a room to face a panel of eight legal, medical, and insurance professionals. I was pregnant with my sixth baby and was ...

Read more...

SNF is the acronym we use in health care for “skilled nursing facility.” Fittingly, it is pronounced “sniff,” a fact that became fitting as I watched my father die in one this past week. My parents, 86 and 89, bought into a beautiful retirement community 10 years ago. Included was a lovely apartment, full-service dining facility, gym and health center, the last of which included an SNF. In the past three months, ...

Read more...

Most Popular