An excerpt from When Doctors Don't Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests. One Friday, Jerry got the scare of his life. Jerry is a 48-year old mechanic who is in good health. His ...

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shutterstock_110842343 First in a continuing series. With as much detail as is useful, and as descriptively as I can manage, I'd like to relate what it's like to do an operation, from before laying knife on skin to after placing the bandage. I'm a general surgeon, so I choose sigmoid colectomy as my prototype; it's always been one of my favorites, although the particular ...

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To state the obvious: 1) most advanced cancer patients have pain, and 2) we have excellent pain medications which can effectively treat more than 90% of cancer pain. Therefore, most patients with cancer receive proper prescriptions for pain.  Obvious, yes?  True? No. In Europe, Australia and North America narcotic analgesics are widely available, and frequently prescribed.  While there is access, many patients, particularly those in certain groups such as seniors and ...

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An excerpt from Pet Goats and Pap Smears. My dad is eighty-eight years old. He finally retired from medicine at eighty-six. I call to check on him. “What are you up to, Dad?” “I just returned from synagogue a few hours ago. Right now I’m catching up on my reading. I’m finishing up the fiftieth anniversary issue of Medical Economics. That’s Dad living it up on a Saturday night. “It ...

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I have a colleague who has lost his capacity to continue practicing pediatric critical care medicine. It didn’t happen suddenly; it came on gradually over a year or so. It also didn’t follow from a single event or bad experience. It was just a creeping uneasiness that culminated in his unwillingness, after two decades, to go on doing this. Even though I’ve been practicing pediatric critical care for thirty years, ...

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A doctor in our area was recently indicted for allegedly running a “pill mill”. According to local news reports, patients were recruited to come in and ask for narcotics and the doctor received massive cash payments to write the prescriptions. After the guy was nabbed, his patients (the real ones and the others) spread out in the community looking for new doctors to take care of them (or to write ...

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A response to The creative destruction of the American family physician. Dr. Brooks' column shines a bright light on the misconception that some subspecialists have about the core of primary medical care and family medicine. As a former nurse practitioner and current family physician, I'd like to point out the flaws of his argument. At a time when the health care community is working to end the fragmentation, duplication and gross ...

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I was changing my daughter’s diaper the other night when I noticed some spots. There was a cluster of six or so around her belly button and a line of them tracing her bottom rib on the right. They were reddish-brownish-purple pinpoints and when I pressed on them, they did not blanch. She did not seem bothered by them at all. I, on the other hand, began to quietly freak ...

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As I have mentioned before, all surgeons think they are the best. Of course when we ourselves need surgery, there is a bit of a dilemma deciding who is the best qualified to carry out the procedure. So when I realized there was a strange looking skin lesion in my right inner thigh, I decided only the best would do to operate me. In my rooms I informed the sister I ...

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There is an epidemic of gun violence. This is a serious health problem. Watching your diet, exercising, and taking pills is all for naught if a bullet kills you. In Newtown, Conn., one of the worst mass shooting occurred last week when a gunman shot his mother at home, apparently with her own gun, then walked into an elementary school and shot six other adults and 20 children, before shooting himself. ...

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