Ten years ago, I wrote the Pew Internet Project’s first report on the impact of the internet on health care, calling it “The Online Health Care Revolution.” Back then, the idea that people were searching online for health information was revolutionary. All of a sudden, regular people had access to medical information that had always been locked up and out of reach. Ten years later, I am ready to declare ...

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Are patients better off than they were ten years ago? Just over a decade ago the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released its celebrated report on patient safety, To Err is Human.  Many credit that report, which was released with great fanfare, with launching the patient safety movement.  So it's appropriate to assess the movement's impact eleven years later.  How did we do? On November 25 the New England Journal of Medicine published ...

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by Steve Sanders, DO “What am I going to do now Doc?” asked Mike, a down on his luck, 29 year–old recently unemployed truck driver, as he handed me his hospital bill. Mike was seen at our local emergency department on a Friday evening with complaints of indigestion. Earlier that day he and his wife Susan celebrated their second anniversary by splitting a store bought pepperoni pizza. ...

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Recently, I had a patient visiting me for the first time. He basically a "syndrome X" type of guy: middle-aged, overweight, high cholesterol, high blood pressure. He's not the most personally careful individual, with a history of domestic altercation, some prison time. Almost goes without saying he drinks too much and smokes cigarettes. Well, he wanted his cholesterol medication restarted since he has just now started receiving "insurance", MassHealth, Massachusetts' state ...

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I have been genuinely blessed by my career in medicine. When I started medical school, I was living through a very rocky time, dealing with severe, at times suicidal depression.  I was working through an outpatient alcohol and drug rehabilitation program, and I was about 40 pounds overweight.  I had grown up with a very negative and fatalistic attitude toward life which resulted in chronic misery and a number of personal ...

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We are no longer surprised when a patient is asked if they take their blood pressure medicines every day, and we are told "it depends." Yes, it can be amusing to hear how one member of a couple decides that they know more than their physician, and makes decisions based on home blood pressure measurements. Sample quotes may include “she thinks she is a doctor”, or “I decide what to give ...

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by Brian Loew Travelers with medical conditions hope that the TSA pat-down incidents involving bladder cancer survivor Thomas “Tom” Sawyer, at Detroit Metro Airport, and to breast cancer survivor Cathy Bossi, at Dulles Airport, are isolated incidents. But these reports are already creating a chilling effect on air travel for people with medical conditions and disabilities. This group of travelers could benefit the most from holiday ...

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by Dennis Grace For years, if you asked for a recommendation for a physician, the answer included some mention of bedside manner. I mean, we’re human beings first and patients second, so we think it’s great that she’s a brilliant doctor, but is she pleasant? Is she respectful and patient? Nobody wants to work with a know-it-all, especially one who gets to hear about our bowel movements ...

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For five years I worked at GlassHospital’s Student Care Center. I don't get no respect, neither. One of the great things about GlassHospital is that it sits on the campus of a well-known and fairly well-respected former Big Ten university. Like all colleges and universities, our place acts in loco parentis to the students that grace its campus. This means responsibility for our students’ health and well-being. I loved working at the Student Care ...

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There are some lessons we learn and keep re-learning in medicine. For me some of these recurring lessons are,

  • Listen to your "gut."
  • Pay attention to the clues.
  • Listen to your team.
  • Don't be afraid to call for help.
and
  • Stick to your guns when advocating for your patient.
I encountered a young patient recently, just at the cusp of adolescence and adulthood, who had undergone a procedure related to a sports injury. Other people had been ...

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