38 states currently have an apology act. This means that if doctors feel they owe a patient an apology, they may provide one without any ramifications, if future legal actions are taken by the patient/patient’s family. In 2006, I spent 218 days in the hospital after the healthy birth of my daughter. My chronic autoimmune disease, scleroderma, masked certain signs of preeclampsia, which went undiagnosed. This led to a massive infection ...

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Three years ago I spent the entire month of September by my daughter's side in her hospital room. From Ana's window, we watched summer fade into fall as we waited, day after day, for her to be discharged, which finally happened in early October. During her forty days in the hospital, Ana was diagnosed with an obscure, slow-growing cancer called inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor. The tumor, roughly the size of a cantaloupe, ...

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An excerpt from Beyond Embarrassment, reclaiming your life with neurogenic bladder and bowel. Conceivably one of the areas of life most affected by neurogenic bladder is sexual intimacy. When I was first diagnosed, I was afraid to have sex. Because I was new to using a catheter, I was sore ...

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Many of us who suffer from chronic pain and illness are on medications that carry side effects that, in some cases, can be as difficult to cope with as our initial health problems. I’ve recently started a medication that I’m scheduled to be on for five years. I’m taking it because it significantly reduces the risk of a recurrence of my recent bout with breast cancer. And so, yes, I’m taking ...

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Dear medical professionals: We need to talk. I know I walk into your office fearing the worst of you, and I suspect that you may have some hesitation about some of your patients. (Need I say, "frequent flyers?") We both have baggage. You have your patient horror stories. I -- as a female patient with fibromyalgia and mental health issues -- have mine. My mom is a nurse, so I've grown up with ...

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The woman in ill fitting snow pants and parka, as if there is such a thing as well-fitting snow pants and parka, clumps of blonde stuck-together hair poking out of her non-hipster cap, you know exactly what she looks like, stares at me from the sagging mid-century couch across the alcove in the café where I have set up my laptop, a scone, a huge cup of expensive coffee described ...

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11045478_742642892507962_670861048466897224_n I can’t tell you how many people have flung this Facebook item at me since last night, starting with my wife. It’s already approaching 25,000 shares. Listen, people: Googling does not mean I think I’m a doctor. It’s a sign of being an engaged, empowered “e-patient.” I partner with great doctors -- I don’t tell them what to do. And they welcome me doing it. I personally am completely ...

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I was attending a 50th birthday party for a friend of mine, when I struck up a conversation with someone I had never met. The conversation, of course, was with a woman who seemed genuinely interested in my quest to make air travel safer for those with food allergies. I told her how my family often receives dirty looks from other passengers when we pre-board a plane to wipe down ...

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Here’s the most distressing piece of unsolicited advice I’ve received to date. It showed up in my Inbox two days after I’d completed a course of radiation for breast cancer. The email was in response to an article I’d written about this new, unexpected turn my life had taken; the article included the fact that, at the time, I was in the middle of a course of radiation treatment. Here’s ...

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It is a pattern oft repeated in a lifetime: You go to the doctor’s office, get a prescription, and go home. You go to the urgent clinic, get care, and go home. You go the hospital, get better, and go home. But some people are very surprised when they go to inpatient hospice, are stabilized and told to go home. Inpatient hospice could be within a hospital, nursing home, or a dedicated hospice facility. The ...

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