One of my biggest pet peeves in life is tardiness. I hate it when other people are late. It’s as if they are not respecting my time.  But you know what? I hate being late myself even more.  In fact, I cringe at the thought. Conscientious, successful people are on time. Always. So you can imagine that nothing irks me more than being late myself. But I am late -- 10 minutes, ...

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I do not think that word means what you think it means.  - Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride Stick to Facts, sir! … In this life, we want nothing but Facts, sir: nothing but Facts! - Charles Dickens, Hard Times “Information without context isn’t transparency” flashed across my Twitter feed. So now I am thinking about context, and communicating context, in medical care. This quote, from Heather Pierce, JD, MPH, Director of Science Policy and Regulatory ...

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In anticipation of American Heart Month, an examination of the liability risks faced by cardiologists was recently undertaken by The Doctors Company, the nation’s largest physician-owned medical malpractice insurer. This analysis of 429 closed cardiology claims from 2007 to 2013 revealed that the most common patient allegations against cardiologists and other clinicians were diagnostic errors, followed closely by procedural or surgical mishaps. This data is of particular interest to cardiologists, ...

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shutterstock_114356413 The other day, I read about some really cool research that suggests that little kids are naturally altruistic. It got me thinking: What is it we do that stops them from being that way? Because, let's face it, not all big kids -- and definitely not all grownups -- are kind and look out for others. Felix Warneken, a Harvard researcher, studies the evolutionary ...

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7-steps-to-get-what-you-need-from-your-doctor-640x423 Sick of phone trees, endless refill requests, packed waiting rooms, out-of-control bills, and other medical misadventures? Follow these seven simple steps to get your doctor to do what you want. 1. Get organized. Be clear about what you need from your appointment. Make a comprehensive list of all the issues you want to discuss -- and your ideal outcomes for each. Patients who are ...

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Neither of the two most important people in Aaron's life could stand to be in the same room with each other.  There was a long colorful history between his ex-wife and his brother, and as his disease began to accelerate, the feuding became quite intense.  They argued over Aaron's advance directives.  They both tried to coerce and manipulate themselves into commanding positions.  The shouting became louder, the fury more fierce.  ...

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Short-of-breath, weak, in pain.  Cancer -- aggressive, cold, unfair -- ravaged Roger’s body.  But maybe, just perhaps, there was a modern medical miracle.  A drug.  A single daily pill to attack the genetic growth switch in each malignant cell.  Only, there was a problem.  Not a big problem, really, but possibly fatal.  The kind of real life annoyance of living in a modern medical miracle society.  The co-pay cost to ...

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With the endless appearance of medical malpractice solutions in the press, any reader would think we have the answers to the logjam -- but no will to implement them.  If you follow the topic, you know every proposal has flaws and limited applications as they relate to individual states or delivery systems. The worst offender seems to be safe harbor protections (i.e., “follow the guidelines and you won’t get sued”). Recently, however, I ...

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0121_davidson-620x411 When we perceive any object of a familiar kind, much of what appears subjectively to be immediately given is really derived from past experience. - Bertrand Russell, The Analysis of Mind I’ve learned a few more things about Stephen Pasceri, the man who murdered a cardiovascular surgeon in Boston recently.  He had money troubles involving credit card debt.   He declared bankruptcy at one ...

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Whenever I am asked this question, I can't help but think of the punchline to a joke that was once supposed to be funny but would now be considered beyond the pale in all respects, so I won't repeat it. The punch line is: “Just lucky, I guess.” That's the short answer to why we gastroenterologists work in our field. Despite the distasteful aspect of human waste and the perverse ...

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