One of the joys of being a physician is learning the patients' histories. A joy, you say? Isn't taking the history simply part of the doctoring routine? You've all been there. When did the pain start? What made it worse? Did it move around or stay in one place? I agree that inquiries like these are not intrinsically joyful, but this is not my meaning here. I refer to history here in the conventional ...

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What if Hurricane Sandy came to your city? A guest post by the American College of Chest Physicians, exclusive to KevinMD.com. In light of Hurricane Sandy’s impact upon the east coast, and subsequent effect on the area’s healthcare delivery systems, many physicians and healthcare professionals are likely considering how they would respond if disaster were to strike their community. From the decision making process and preparation for ...

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As both the private and public sector aggressively shift healthcare incentives from a “do more, bill more” to a value and outcome based model, healthcare providers ignore patients role in driving outcomes at their own peril. It is generally understood that patients forget 80-90% of what they are told at the doctor’s office. As incentives no longer reward outcome over activity, this is a disaster financially for health professionals. This ...

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Recognize and manage physician stress and burnoutA guest column by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, exclusive to KevinMD.com. "The tragedy of man is what dies inside himself while he still lives." - Albert Schweitzer Statistically speaking When is the last day you truly remember feeling peace, happiness and a deep sense of well being? If you cannot answer this question, you are not alone among ...

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I learned a lot of medicine during residency, but perhaps I actually learned even more about how to just get things done in a hospital. If you wanted a right-upper-quadrant ultrasound done for our patient, I was your man. I had a complicated series of unwritten algorithmic flow diagrams in my head that included handwriting an order, making sure that it was faxed to the right number, calling the appropriate ...

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In his brilliant 1993 satire “Et Tu, Babe,” Mark Leyner proposed a new concept in body art, which is the specialty of “visceral tattoos.”   The narrator travels to Mexico where his chest is opened and the insignia of a “guy surfing a wave of lava, wearing polka-dotted trunks,” is tattooed directly on his heart.  The dye used shows up on CT scans and apparently women, especially x-ray technicians, love it. ...

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When it comes to public-private partnerships between health organizations and the food industry, there are many shades of grey — but Cheetos orange isn’t one of them.  On September 9th of this year, however, the American Heart Association (AHA) Dallas Heart Walk saw Frito-Lay’s Chester the Cheetah riling up the crowd and helping to associate Frito-Lay and Cheetos with the emotions of the day —  joy, hope, charity, happiness, spirit, camaraderie, health, ...

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From the moment I first stepped into a restaurant kitchen, it felt like home; even though for the past eight years my real home has been an operating room, as I am a surgeon. Though many on the outside may not realize it, the chef and the surgeon have much in common. Both profess modest beginnings. Cooks were slaves and surgeons were barbers. Those who did the cutting were not even ...

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A patient I'll call Mildred came to her appointment and handed me a report from a medical screening fair at her church. She wanted to know what to do about it. The print-out said that she had a "mild" blockage in her carotid artery. They told her to discuss it with her primary care doctor (me). You may have seen the advertisements in your local paper, or even on your local ...

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Earlier this May, nurses around the country were acknowledged on a countrywide scale for their hard work and dedication to patient care during National Nurses Week.  Unfortunately, as with most national appreciation days that I cannot personally be recognized for, I failed to take much notice. Now that new doctors around the country, including myself, are in the process of growing into our roles as team-based healthcare providers, we are in ...

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