When I first decided to pursue a career as a physician scientist by enrolling in the medical scientist training program, my goals seemed very clear; to bring what I learned at the bench to the bedside.  Today, as a junior faculty member in a department of pediatrics who spends most of my time in the lab, this now clichéd phrase continues to echo in my mind. Yet, I am concerned ...

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There are surprising misconceptions about what family physicians actually do in practice. Americans maintain a fond respect for the classic image of the family physician, making house calls with black handbag in tow. They admire the Marcus Welbys of the world. While this classic image is endearing, it should not be confused with the 21st century family doctor.  The modern family physician is trained to engage in the adaptable world of health ...

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shutterstock_114133564 Health and health care are hot topics lately, and not just for journalists and bloggers debating Obamacare. Suddenly – or so it seems; in fact the trend has been building for years – people from all walks of life want to read about medicine. Within medicine, a majority of journals now have essay, viewpoint, or perspectives sections. Not only are such sections frequently ...

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As trauma surgeons we often have to disassociate ourselves from the stories that surround our patients so that we can focus on their life-threatening injuries. It's also how I personally cope with the devastating injuries to the patient and the aftermath left for the family. Sometimes, though, I am caught off guard and my defenses aren't strong enough. A middle-aged man was brought in one evening after being hit while riding ...

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shutterstock_17897284 Ok, I’ll admit it: I had no idea.  I thought that the whining and griping by other doctors about EMR was just petulance by a group of people who like to be in charge and who resist change.  I thought that they were struggling because of their lack of insight into the real benefits of digital records, instead focusing on their insignificant ...

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shutterstock_62024029 When I first lay eyes on Marilyn, I don’t think she will survive another week. Eighty-nine years old with short, curly gray hair, she sits in a wheelchair in the examination room. According to the nursing sheet, she weighs one-hundred and nine pounds. She wears a bulky white sweater over a gray dress that seems too big for her tiny body.  Her ...

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shutterstock_106417913 I'm not old enough, in emergency medicine years, to identify with the struggle of those calling for the end of the term “ER.”  The argument was about the “R” vs. the “D”: "It's not a room!”  It’s a department!” was the war cry.  Then perceptions changed, battles were won, and along came the very popular TV show, "ER.”  The war hawks quieted ...

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shutterstock_122014903 As I have written many times in my previous blogs, it is essential that patients and physicians partner in the management of disease.  Outcomes are improved when patients are actively engaged in their own healthcare.  Part of engagement involves forming a relationship with a physician through regular follow up visits.  Relationships with doctors, just as with friends and spouses, evolve over time. ...

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That was Virginia’s second visit to the hospital in the ten days of the new year. It also ended up being the last. Virginia was a patient we all knew. She came to the hospital frequently. The aphorism of our intern year was, if you had not taken care of Virginia once, you were not going to graduate out of internship. And that was hardly an exaggeration- almost no one in ...

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shutterstock_110328605 My first night shift in a stretch of 7 was almost over.  It was 6:15am and I had to keep moving otherwise the minute I would stop, my eyelids would drop like two ton shades and I’d fall asleep.  That never makes for a good drive home after a night shift. “Got time to see one more?” asked Jenny the nurse. “Do I have ...

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