A colleague recently told me of a patient encounter he had in an emergency room. When he picked up the chart, it described the patient as a 62-year-old woman complaining of epistaxis, or a nosebleed. He walked into the room and saw a perfectly well appearing 62-year-old woman. There was no blood on her clothes and none on her face. Her nose was not bleeding. When he asked her what could he do for her, she said ...

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Resurge In the arms of every parent who waited on the long line outside the clinic in Mexico was a child born with a facial deformity, usually a cleft lip or palate. Many of these mothers and fathers had walked long distances, carrying their child. Some families included grandparents, aunts and uncles, and others, just a mother, and her baby. Most of these ...

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shutterstock_166815872 When the daytime soaps As The World Turns and All My Children went off the air, I stopped watching any daytime TV. So before their infamy this week, I’d never heard the name, Joy Behar. And maybe I’d heard the name Michelle Collins, but I’m thinking that name was my niece’s friend’s cousin or someone-or-other. And certainly, I’m not familiar with the ...

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Theresa arrived in a cloud of noise and commotion. She had called after four o’clock the day before, but I hadn’t noticed the new message in my electronic inbox before I left the clinic. Her almost brand new alprazolam bottle and her pain pills were missing, and Theresa was reeling. As she walked down the hall to the exam room, I heard her explain to Autumn how she had been to Walmart ...

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He had been educated at the finest universities.  He had graduated cum laude, or whatever the term is they use nowadays to signify distinction.  His pedigree was squeaky-clean. But as he haltingly entered the dark building at the end of an otherwise unexceptional suburban street, he felt more like a criminal than a scholar.  His office was drab.  Each room was glowing with the artificial light provided by an incandescent bulb. ...

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“I’ll never forget the look in your eyes.” Uh oh, I thought to myself. “You had this look that you wanted to help but just didn’t know how,” said my patient. Apparently I have very expressive eyes, and she was right. The event she was referring to was what we call a rapid response. This is when a patient’s status suddenly changes and the team wants her to be evaluated immediately. When I ...

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October 1, 2015 is a huge day to the medical community.  It is a day that will live in infamy.  It is the object of dread, of diaphoresis, of doom.  October 1 is ICD-10 day.  This view was further bolstered when I went to the CMS (Government Medicare) website; there was actually a doomsday countdown timer at the top of the page. For those still unaware, ICD-10 is the 10th iteration of ...

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shutterstock_180281192 When was it that we stopped respecting ourselves and our profession?  When did we decide that quietly smoldering or complaining to one another is better than standing up as a single entity for what we know is right? How did we allow misconceptions and distrust of physicians to grow? For outside forces to dictate what is best for our patients and take ...

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As my husband's pick-up truck rolls up the driveway, a long ER shift behind him, my four kids come running from wherever they are currently playing on our farm. My seven-year-old son was reading in a rocker on the front porch. His six-year-old brother was watching the new baby chicks scramble around our brooder. My four-year-old daughter was helping feed our ducks. And my two year old was getting into ...

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Here is a question I get asked all the time by patients: “Is that bad?” This is different than the similar, more appropriate question, “Is it bad?” which is usually asked after being given a specific diagnosis.  For example, after a colonoscopy where a large polyp was discovered and removed I will tell the patient about the findings.  He may ask, “Is it bad?” The answer is usually “No, the polyp ...

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