I'm no economist.  In fact I have never taken any business or accounting classes in my life.  But it doesn't take a formal education to get this.  We are speeding down the wrong path. The call at three in the morning woke me from a deep sleep.  I fumbled and strained to hear the whispered voice of the apologetic nurse.  Apparently Mrs. Thompson had scraped her arm against the wheel chair, ...

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One of my biggest pet peeves is taking over the care of a floor full of complicated patients without any explanation of their current conditions or plan of care from the physician who most recently treated them. Absent or inadequate verbal and written “handoffs” of patient care are alarmingly common in my experience. I work primarily as a locum tenens physician, traveling across the country to “cover” for my peers ...

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The relevance of physicians is dwindling rapidly I spend way too much time worrying about “silly” things, things I have no control over. I know this because my wife frequently catches me in the act and urges me to relax, to focus on what I can change. But despite her best efforts, I recently fell off the wagon again and became obsessed with a simple, seemingly innocuous question: Are physicians still ...

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A Southerner at heart, I find myself in love with places.  We are forever pining on about our family homes, our small town barbecue restaurant, the sound of some lake where catfish splash in the night, or the woods where our favorite treestand sits.  Sometimes our afflictions for place become the stuff of novels; Scarlett O’Hara is always associated with her beloved Tara just as Faulkner is ever infused into ...

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Susan was 76 and dying at home in the days before hospice and before the use of the POLST form.  A neighbor came in the relieve Susan's daughter who went to the store.  Suddenly Susan stopped breathing and the neighbor called 911.  The medics came and, not having instructions to the contrary, did CPR and brought her to our ER unconscious and intubated.  The ER physician called me in the ...

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Physician suicide letters I asked why physicians were dying by suicide. Here’s what they told me: “I definitely graduated from med school with PTSD. It has changed me forever. My mom’s friend that I have known since I was born saw me for the first time since I went to med school and she [told my mom], “She has changed so much. Was it worth it?” ...

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News broke recently that Daniel Murphy, second baseman for the New York Mets, recently took two days off for paternity leave, causing him to miss Major League Baseball’s opening day and the season’s second game to be with his wife and child. Mike Francesa, a popular New York sports radio personality, devoted about 20 minutes of his Wednesday broadcast on WFAN to a rant against paternity leave. According to him, a ...

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Physician colleagues and their hospitals have been the targets of direct attacks during the past three years in Syria. According to UN war crimes investigators, Syrian forces have deliberately targeted hospitals, attacked field hospitals, and prevented patients from receiving medical care. A United Nations Commission of Inquiry independent panel published its findings to draw attention to what it called “an enduring and underreported trend” in the conflict. The report ...

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I recently published an article on that garnered a lot of attention. It was titled,"The Myth of the Entitled Single Mother Remains as Relevant as Ever." In it, I reversed the popularized notion that single mothers are a societal liability and suggested that instead, they are powerful forces in our local economies and influential leaders of future generations. I presented the idea that how society thinks about ...

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Postmodern cultural values have seriously impacted medical care and the patient-physician relationship. Corporate control of medical care, computerization of medical information and consumerism in the clinical encounter, plus the destruction of the myth of the physician are all embodiments of postmodern values. Postmodern thinkers such as Foucault, Lyotard, Levinas, and Bauman offer powerful insights  that can be applied to understand how current values have changed medical practice, including issues such as ...

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