My career is based on communication and empowerment within the medical world. I educate on the patient/family side and the medical professional side. It takes understanding and empathy from both sides of the stethoscope to optimize communication. It takes communication between both sides to bridge perceived power differentials. It takes work on both sides to change a culture of uneven power dynamics. I read two Facebook posts within the past few days dealing with a ...

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In my travels up and down the East coast, I’ve worked with a number of health care administrators (and even temporarily been one myself, although quickly discovered that it wasn’t quite my cup of tea). The experiences that I’ve had have been highly variable, and I’ve seen the full spectrum of administrators ranging from the brilliant to the quite dire. As someone who has read many autobiographies of famous leaders, ...

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shutterstock_160559990 asco-logoI recently attended the David Stroud Adolescent and Young Adult [AYA] Symposium at Keck Medicine of University of Southern California. It was a very interesting symposium with experts in adolescent and young adult cancer presenting on many different topics important for this population. There was also a panel of young adult ...

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shutterstock_252136366 Popular TV doctor, Gregory House’s favorite adage about patients is: “Everybody lies.” I used to believe that this was a cynical and inaccurate statement, but I had to revisit it recently when faced with a patient whose signs and symptoms were consistent with a diagnosis that she vehemently denied. A young woman was admitted to my rehab unit with brain damage of ...

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My husband was in the aisle seat, I was in the middle seat, and The Man was in the window seat. The Man had one white earbud in his ear; the other one was dangling in his lap. His right thumb swiped through several screens of his smartphone in less than a second. He heaved a sigh. “This is f*cking lame,” he muttered. The plane was supposed to take off 15 minutes ago. ...

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shutterstock_154685816 I practice gastroenterology in Cleveland in the dark shadow of a large medical institution whose name contains the name of our city.  They are a world class medical institution whose reputation is largely derived from its cardiovascular department.   Presumably, these practitioners, like all doctors, advise patients who smoke that cigarettes have deleterious health effects. The entire campus is smoke-free, as ...

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shutterstock_186812807 Recently, a jury awarded a young California resident $28.2 million for a delayed diagnosis of a pelvic tumor. The jury found Kaiser Permanente (KP) negligent. Doctors in the system, touted to be one of the finest systems by the president, allegedly refused an immediate MRI for back pain in a 17 year old. The patient eventually received an MRI three months after ...

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shutterstock_115774717 My interns started the term with mixed career aspirations. One wanted to do interventional radiology, the other, "not sure." Now, in their last few weeks of our term, they're thinking about a surgical career. Which I think is great. I've been lucky enough to have had some great advice over the years, and I've nutted a few things out myself along the ...

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Angel was then, and is even now, one of the most beautiful babies I have ever seen and I have seen many in my thirty years as a child abuse pediatrician. Yet, to look at her today, asleep against her foster mother’s shoulder, one could never guess at the devastation wrought upon her. I first met Angel, then only a few months old, in the pediatric intensive care unit just before ...

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Mr. U* came to the hospital overnight with severe heart failure. His breathing was supported by a ventilator and he was sedated. Thus, our primary means of communication was via his daughter. His daughter, distraught, stayed awake through most of the night. She appeared suspicious about her father’s care, immediately asking my credentials when I entered the room and demanding that we discuss treatment decisions with her alone. The next ...

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