Dr. Robert's office felt right to me, with a musical birdsong soundtrack, soft lighting and fresh green tea, and I had my best friend in tow: piece of cake. In this serene atmosphere, I was sure that I'd find out what to do next to finish treating my endometrial cancer. "It's probably gone now, since my hysterectomy two weeks back," I thought. "But let's play it safe; he's the gynecological-cancer guru." Like ...

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Are insurance companies making more decisions about the health care you receive? While a decade or two ago utilization nurses working for insurance companies had some power to approve or reject certain treatments, the reach of insurers into the patient-physician relationship is lengthening. In March, I reported that insurers were sending questionnaires to policyholders newly insured under Obamacare asking about their health conditions and medical needs. And some people were filling them ...

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Criticizing The Fault in Our Stars does childhood cancer a disservice A pediatric oncologist seems to suggest we shouldn’t be getting too upset about childhood cancer because kids and teens dying or going blind “are things that we don’t typically encounter.” “I think the important thing to realize is that cancer in children is highly treatable and ultimately curable,” Dr. Charles Hemenway of Loyola University said in HemOnc Today, in response to the movie ...

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5 ways to bridge the communications gap with doctors In an age where technology dominates our medical world, communication between patient and doctor often leave me wanting. Over the last few years as a patient, I have learned a number of strategies to help bridge the communication gap with doctors. For patients: Speak up. Nobody likes confrontation, but it doesn’t have to be an argument if you are calm and respectful with your ...

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Red wine is good for you. Red wine is bad for you. News coverage of health studies can give readers cognitive whiplash, and for good reason. “The reason the stories contradict each other is because the studies contradict each other,” reporter Virginia Hughes wrote in her blog. In her post, Hughes explains why it can be so frustrating to write about complex health research for an audience of readers that ...

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You will never see my face or know my name. You probably won't give much thought to what happens to your blood after your doctor says, "I think we need to run some tests," and the phlebotomist draws it into the tubes with their colored tops. I know I never did, until I became a medical laboratory technologist. Over the course of a normal day at the hospital lab, my coworkers ...

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I wish I could share the photo of my 4mm boomerang shaped kidney stone.  I labored for 2 months, back in early 2009 to pass it, the second stone in 5 years. During my ordeal with these stones, I had the following health care encounters, tests, medicines, lab and imaging tests.

  1. at least 5 sets of blood work, with CBC and chemical profiles, parathyroid studies
  2. several urine tests, including urinalysis and urine culture, ...

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"All patients are alike. This one complains about the same things that the last one did." "Every patient is unique. We can never find a way to make each one of them happy." Remember that 1980s public health paradox: Do you focus on intensive interventions that might produce significant improvements in outcomes for a defined, high-risk group or do you direct energy to system-level changes that may achieve more modest outcomes ...

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Before I retired in 2000, I worked in a state agency as a peer counselor, or more formally, an employee assistance program (EAP) coordinator. The "coordinator" part was there because my job description wasn't actually to do counseling; it was to assess the problem and refer the client for help. But of course both of those processes involved counseling. We just couldn't call it that. In 1986, shortly after I'd begun the ...

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The clock read 9:30pm and in front of me was dozens of notes, PowerPoint slides, and practice exams to review before 8am. The all-too-familiar finals week all-nighter beckoned, and though I’ve had my fair share of experiences with studying until the sun rose, I decided to forgo the typical mug of coffee and take some over-the-counter caffeine pills instead. My friend proclaimed that they would help more than any energy ...

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