School’s out! This time of year is met with great expectation in children all over the country. However, another unwelcomed guest, hunger, comes along with the summer break. Over 30 million children qualify for the National School Lunch Program which provides free or low-cost meals to children daily during the school year. When classes are out over the summer months, the food availability lessens for many children as parents aren’t ...

Read more...

Two hours of administrative tasks for every hour with patients. A proliferation of non-physician administrators deciding how the day is going to run. Little in our training about how to cope with uncertainty and change. It’s no surprise that burnout rates are approaching 60 percent. Despite being so common, when we see a colleague struggling with physician burnout, we may not know what to say. Responding appropriately can bring someone ...

Read more...

Your brain is a three-pound hunk of biological tissue. And though it’s nothing more than a conglomeration of specialized cells, it generates the taste of cheesecake, the ecstasy of enchantment, and the misery of suffering. Amazing, right? I certainly think so, though I find myself among a shrinking minority. Whereas the eyes of our medical forefathers were turned toward the heavens in search of answers to seemingly unknowable questions -- ...

Read more...

Once during my TV news days, I was feeling pretty good about myself during a three-hour drive to the Mayo Clinic. “I am so glad I don’t practice!” I crowed to my photographer. “Practicing physicians are so sad. They’ve lost their income, their autonomy, and the public’s respect.” My photographer didn’t miss a beat. “Yeah,” he replied. “They sound just like you.” By which he meant that as a journalist, I’d lost ...

Read more...

I see them every time I wait in the inescapably long lines at the grocery store. They’re offering me so much. Fat-melting foods that “work like gastric bypass.” Sleep masks that prevent breast cancer. One day diets. And, of course, the perennial “medical miracles.” All these revelations can be mine with a simple magazine purchase. It’s easy to dismiss the medical advice being propagated through the supermarket checkout aisle. Who would ...

Read more...

In my last year of training, I came to realize the difference between doctors who felt successful and those who didn’t. From the beginning, I had always been hard on myself. I always thought about the decisions I made for every patient in detail, played them over and over in my head, and wondered what I could have done differently for each one. Whether or not their outcome was satisfactory, ...

Read more...

Pain is not a vital sign. It cannot be measured objectively, nor does an extreme value portend crisis as in the case of pulse or blood pressure. The myopic focus on pain in recent decades has been misguided and deleterious, and the opioid crisis is the result. Now, like ostriches with our heads in the sand, we are again playing victims instead of wielding power when we allow customer satisfaction ...

Read more...

As a pediatric allergist, I treat several conditions that commonly affect children, including asthma, food allergies, eczema and allergic rhinitis. Almost everyone knows someone affected by some form of allergic condition, which makes for frequent questions from families, referring providers, and the public at large. Early in my career, I noticed that many patients (and even colleagues in other specialties) were asking me questions that were either outdated or born entirely ...

Read more...

My hospitalist medical group consists of as great collection of atheists, agnostics, and skeptics as you will ever find.  But we all agree that quality is our religion.  We believe to our last breath that patient care is sacred and an invaluable gift.  And so, as with all faith, there is no halfway.  You believe, or you stand around scratching your head asking what those other fools are worshipping.  Just ...

Read more...

I read an article by Dr. Jarret Patton that reminded us that “Cops and doctors have the same problem: People don’t trust them.” I remember thinking to myself that I had to do something to help clarify the source of this age-old problem and also to help improve the situation. It is important for us to remember that our past life experiences, diverse cultures, goals and ...

Read more...

599 Pages