An excerpt from Attending: Medicine, Mindfulness and Humanity. Sometimes a simple gesture and a few well-placed words can signal presence. One day on rounds in the hospital, as we walked into the room, Laura Hogan, a nurse-practitioner on our palliative care team, said three words to the patient: “What beautiful flowers.” ...

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Health behavior was my emphasis in my MPH. Add a faculty development fellowship, time as residency faculty, work in a private practice, and increasing interaction with medical students now as faculty at a medical school; the outcome is not just an emphasis, but a mindset. A mindset of health behavior that is not just for patients, but for physicians, as well. I must have company in this concept as ten invitations ...

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With all this talk about medical student, resident, and fellow burnout, I thought we might take a break to discuss the small delights that sprinkle throughout medical training. This is not a “You should publish as a trainee” manifesto. It’s more of a DIY guide for those who are interested but can’t find the time or the mentor. And after a decade of rejected manuscripts, unfortunately, I’ve got ...

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My car says it’s 2:10 a.m., 17 degrees. I just left my warm bed — and snoring husband — threw on scrubs and my contact lenses and quickly brushed my teeth and hair. I’m shivering as the car warms up and I hear the crunch of the snow as the car rolls out of the driveway. I’m the first one out on the fresh snow, and it glistens in the ...

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When we think of pollution, we think of our planet: stripped forests paved asphalt black, sterile red rivers, brown-gray skies and creeping slums over once virgin land. We imagine massive dumps of civilized waste, the extermination of species and temperatures which bake the earth like a neglected oven. We mourn the global home in which we live, neglected, abused, in ruin. Do we ever think about ourselves? That is one of ...

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Why would a well-respected, venerable health care organization adopt a soft and squishy approach -- tracking disrespect and other forms of emotional harm -- to monitor its performance? In 2007, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), a 672-bed health system affiliated with Harvard Medical School, adopted the audacious aim of eliminating all preventable harm by January 1, 2012. According to Kenneth Sands, MD, chief quality officer of BIDMC, the organization has ...

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STAT_Logo We have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak,” said Epictetus. It’s clear that the Greek philosopher wasn’t a physician in 21st century America. If you watch doctors — and many researchers do — they speak more than listen. Studies have shown that doctors interrupt or redirect patients within the first ...

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In these strange days of unsure future health care policies, shrinking budgets, and significant belt-tightening, as we look for ways to improve access for our patients, we need to reevaluate how we to get them into care, making sure we see them in a timely and efficient manner. We have always said that in this topsy-turvy time, in the crazy state of health care, what we really need is more primary ...

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The news was bad. Mimi, a woman in her early 80s, had been undergoing treatment for lymphoma. Her husband was being treated for bladder cancer. Recently, she developed chest pain, and a biopsy showed that she had developed a secondary tumor of the pleura, the space around one of her lungs. Her oncology team’s mission was to share this bad news. Mimi’s case was far from unique. Each year in the ...

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A recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reads like an expose. Well, at least three of the research articles do. So exciting! I don't want medicine — my field — to be ethically unsavory, but it is sometimes. It makes me proud to see that it polices itself and that such information is published in a high profile journal. The first article ...

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