In downtown Los Angeles recently, two very different celebrations went on within walking distance of each other. On West Temple Street, at the beautiful and contemporary Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels—a structure with no right angles in its adobe-colored walls—Catholic Mass was offered throughout the morning, in both English and Spanish. Five blocks south, at the stunningly refurbished Millenium Biltmore Hotel on Grand Avenue, the Council for Secular Humanism, ...

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We often speak of the importance of continuity of care, but there is confusion about what this really means. When I first joined our small clinic twenty-five years ago, continuity was the reason every medical group in the five town area had its own night-call roster. This way, patients who called after hours could reach a doctor from their own doctor’s office. Even if the covering physician didn’t know the patient, ...

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New concepts need gimmicks. Proven concepts do not. The phenomenon of using the internet to gather and share health information is now mainstream. It’s time to change how we talk about it, revising and maybe even retiring certain terms. Some history to build our case: In 1998, only about one-third of American adults had access to the internet. Harris Interactive published pioneering research about how internet users gather health information online, ...

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by Diana E. Lee Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin has been struggling with chronic migraines. If you don't follow football you may not have heard of him. But let me assure you he is a high profile player in the National Football League and an important component of the Minnesota Vikings' offense. Harvin has dealt with migraines since childhood (like me), but almost ...

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In addition to outlining patient’s medications, and teaching them what times of day to take the drugs that will help control their specific disease, pharmacists are now taking on a new role to address the growing healthcare needs and demands of Americans, according to a recent article in the New York Times. For example, at Barney’s Pharmacy in Augusta, Ga., the pharmacy offers classes at the store for patients ...

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Learn the art of observation.

“The whole art of medicine is in observation… but to educate the eye to see, the ear to hear and the finger to feel takes time, and to make a beginning, to start a man on the right path, is all that you can do.” - Wiliam Osler
One of my favourite books as a medical student was Michael Zatouroff’s Physical Signs in General Medicine, a ...

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One of the most difficult family decisions can be whether to move an aging parent(s) out of their own home and into assisted living or even a nursing home. I’ve seen families face this dilemma numerous times. (After my psychiatry residency, I completed a geriatric psychiatry fellowship and also spent the first few years in practice consulting at nursing homes.) Nobody wants to face this situation. In fact, I’ve seen repeated instances ...

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I can always use money. Regardless of what the public seems to think, doctors are generally not phenomenally wealthy. So I hate turning business away. But tonight I refused a hospital consult. Why would I do that? Because. The consult was for an 88-year old lady with advanced Alzheimer's Disease. Her sad life was reduced to lying in bed staring at the ceiling.  The patient had been seen by 2 other neurologists during ...

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You are now out of the Gray Zone, and you are now a member of an exclusive club. But membership to this club comes at a steep price.  Membership is not offered, it is not dependent on your income, title nor your social status.  Membership is granted simply by surviving or living with a grave or potentially fatal illness or injury and realizing just how fragile life is and how quickly ...

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I had been running late on another busy summer day. The type of day where you gain one step and lose two. Meetings and paperwork had filled up another summer morning. Baseball games, swimming practices, and soccer scrimmages had filled up another summer afternoon. And for this particular summer evening, I was scheduled to work an odd emergency room shift from eight p.m. to four a.m. While driving to work, I ...

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