shutterstock_182289464 I see it all the time at our practice. Parents come with kids who really don't need to go to the doctor; they are only mildly ill, or already getting better. When I ask them why they came, the answer is simple: daycare. They need a note saying the child is better in order for the child to go back. They need ...

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shutterstock_191076491 Traveling to another country can be daunting. So when a friend of mine hosted a Russian college-aged student named Anna for a year so she could take English classes, I agreed to help out if she ever needed to navigate the American medical system. Anna had insurance provided through her program, and she was in good health, so I wasn’t too ...

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shutterstock_20992963 Dear HMO, As I prepare to #getcovered or #staycovered, I realize that as a physician, I have an advantage in that I know what specific types of insurance plans would best fit my needs.  Unfortunately, this is not the case for many Americans.  Most importantly, I know to avoid signing up for certain health maintenance organizations (HMOs).  Although I am a strong ...

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Despite the furious pace of the emergency department, he sat within his private bubble of calm on a hallway cot situated just outside the entrance of room 31. He sat upright, facing the opposite direction from which I approached, with the thinning brown hair of his broad occiput splayed across the upper edge of his pillow. From this approach, I paused for several seconds to appreciate this serene, surreal view ...

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shutterstock_116633578 Tonight I will sleep in bed, all night, with my wife. The hours will pass in pleasant dreams, wrapped in a blanket, warm beside my darling. We are on vacation, and our teenage children will be sleeping in their beds as well; after they have watched enough bizarre videos on YouTube and eaten all the chips in the house. But as I ...

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As the youngest member of a family of doctors, it was not uncommon during my childhood to spend summers at my father's private practice. I fondly remember greeting the familiar office staff as I recklessly ran amok among an endless array of rickety cabinets containing an untold amount of aging, yellowed paper charts. My dad's patients would tousle my hair like family and his partners would always leave an insurmountable ...

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It’s been thirty years since Dr. Pete shook my hand on graduation day and slapped my back, his gravelly voice mumbling a wisecrack that couldn’t quite hide his emotions. I was the first foreign medical school graduate in our small residency program and he had trusted me, just as I had trusted him, through three years of hard work and many challenges. Our residency program was only a few years old, and my ...

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shutterstock_149644169 Everything in health care seems to take a long time. Remember the last time you tried to schedule a routine doctor’s appointment? More than likely, the receptionist told you the doctor couldn’t see you for another week or even another month. Perhaps you’ve had the experience of a loved one being hospitalized on a Friday night for a major (but not life-threatening) problem, ...

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Dostoevsky's Brother's Karamazov cleverly spoofs the careless inexpertness of what often passes for expert legal testimony. Three medical experts are called to testify whether Dmitri Karamazov was sane or insane when committing the alleged murder of his father. Naturally, the experts all disagree, with each completely convinced of the incontrovertible truth of his own opinion. Expert 1 finds Dmitri insane because he looked to the left as he entered the courtroom. Expert ...

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We are often our own worst critics. Whenever doctors feel down, or burned out in our roles as health care providers and healers, we look inward. We wonder what is wrong with us. What could we do differently? We wonder why other doctors don’t have this problem. The truth is, we do. We all do. And yes, sometimes the problem is within us. But other times, the problem is outside of us. Sometimes, it’s ...

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