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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An excerpt from How to Live Well with Chronic Pain and Illness: A Mindful Guide. Copyright 2015 by Toni Bernhard. Excerpted with permission from Wisdom Publications. "Freedom is instantaneous the moment we accept the way things are." - Karen Maezen Miller A well-known Buddhist story known as the Mustard Seed helped me ...

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After having an echocardiogram recently, I saw a cardiologist, which seemed the prudent thing to do.  I was not symptomatic, and I think the echo was pretty much unremarkable -- to use a bit of doctor's lingo.  I saw the word "mild" here and there in the report describing processes of my heart's functions.  When you're over seventy-three, "mild" sounds pretty all right.  Better than the word "acute," I figure.  ...

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If you weren’t aware of the prevalence and severity of diagnostic errors, (misdiagnosis, missed diagnosis, delayed diagnosis) maybe you should be now. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a new report called, Improving Diagnosis in Health Care. The report cited that most people will experience one or more diagnostic errors over their lifetimes. It also revealed that diagnostic errors contribute to 10 percent of patient deaths and account for up ...

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Since 1921, the Miss America competition has ignited public debate. Typically though, the controversy doesn’t revolve around a contestant’s attempt to convey the positive influences nurses have on their patients. Contestant Kelley Johnson’s decision to perform a monologue for the talent portion of the Miss America program was a surprising departure from traditional acts generally showcased. Her recent appearance in scrubs and a ponytail prompted ridiculing banter between hosts on ...

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An excerpt from How to Live Well with Chronic Pain and Illness: A Mindful Guide. Copyright 2015 by Toni Bernhard. Excerpted with permission from Wisdom Publications. "Remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were." - Marcel Proust For the most part, I’ve adjusted to my new ...

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Dear health care industry: I think we have a serious problem, and I think we both deserve some of the blame.  Over the last couple of decades, I the patient have been demanding many things of you: reduced wait times, increased access to medications and procedures, more luxurious and colorful accommodations, and numerous scheduling conveniences among other things. Meanwhile, I have watched as an industry long-based on the revered call of service ...

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“Don't ever land in a teaching hospital on a holiday weekend, they always staff up with residents," noted a close friend who was all too familiar with the inner workings of hospitals. That statement sticks in my head heavily today as I prepare to visit my father’s year-old grave.  My father, a man that was involved in the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) and private sector research societies for decades, ...

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