Most people enter the healing arts with a genuine desire to serve others. The long educational journey and the realities of both the workaday world and the various business models of health care often strain our abilities to act in an empathic manner. We have to pay the bills, after all. “No money, no mission,” is a refrain I’ve often heard in the non-profit corners of the health care world, justifying business decisions ...

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by Scott Cowsill A third or more of scans may be unnecessary or repetitive, studies show, and in scans that are medically appropriate, radiation doses could be dramatically reduced without hurting the quality of images. As pointed out by Robert Centor, MD, “one cannot easily develop rules for testing because the presentations that we see vary so greatly.”  That being said, guidelines for diagnostic ...

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The news that Dr. Marcus Conant has quit practicing medicine is a blow to healthcare here in the Bay Area. And a sad symbol of all that is wrong with healthcare – and in particularly, the way we treat primary care practitioners – in America today. It would be hard to find a doctor more symbolic of the best of medicine than Marcus Conant – a man willing to devote ...

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by Crystal Phend iPod users beware. Listening to an MP3 player for even an hour can induce short-term hearing loss, researchers affirmed. Compared with controls, hearing deterioration among MP3 users was 3.97 to 4.40 times more likely when listening to pop/rock music through earbud headphones at different output levels, found Hannah Keppler, MS, of Ghent University in Ghent, Belgium, and colleagues. Listening to an iPod with over-the-ear headphones also boosted the odds of ...

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by Brad Stuart, MD The emergency department phoned my office right before lunch. I was on call for our general IM group, so when I was done with my morning schedule I walked across the street to the hospital. Greg, my partner's 38 year old patient, was a woodworker admitted with fever, chills, cough, a sharp pain in his right side, and a WBC of 18,000. On the chest x-ray, I ...

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Dana Jennings writes what is arguably the world’s most famous patient blog about his treatment for prostate cancer. Just to be clear, I don’t have any statistics about how many readers he and other patient bloggers have. I believe his blog is the most widely read and best-know patient blog because of the number of comments he receives and its prominent location in the New York Times Health section, itself ...

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I’ve only been studying healthcare for two years and I hesitate to be overly assertive. But I have, finally, reached the point where I feel confident in citing cases where people are simply being unscientific: ignoring evidence. That’s always hazardous, and it becomes insidious when it’s caused by a blind, unquestioning belief in our institutions. Case in point: Julie Thoren is an active practitioner of Participatory Medicine who’s seen first-hand the tremendous value ...

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If you have to ask what jazz is, you will never know. - Louis Armstrong The stillness in the meeting room was electric. First, one panelist addressed the audience members who have never experienced a malignancy. She described the unique and powerful bond that exists between cancer survivors. She described how the brush with mortality forces each survivor to renegotiate terms with Life itself. She reminded everyone that the cancer care system too often lets ...

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A recent blog post and series of responses on KevinMD.com aroused my interest. Dr. Kevin Pho posed the question: Why are doctors so reluctant to discuss end-of-life care? Responders, including patients, doctors, nurses, and even a veterinarian highlighted the stress inherent in this discussion for patients and for medical professionals alike. To me, the real issue is not whether the discussion should occur, because clearly it should, but when and how? ...

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Over the past few weeks I’ve had ample opportunity to be on the other side. Not like some parents with chronically ill children or those with children who have suffered tragic illness. No, not like that; I am fortunate that hospitals aren’t a part of my family’s everyday (except for work). My children have had amazing fortune and I remain in awe of good health. Lately though, we’ve had some ...

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