I want to share a recent anecdote from my clinic that highlights how patient-centered family medicine is cost effective and simply good care for patients. I saw Mr. F, a 75-year-old gentleman.  Like many of my patients, he has a history of high blood pressure and obesity.  He also had a heart attack in the past as well as two additional stents placed in his coronary arteries.  I was seeing him ...

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As a physician, you are required to have keen senses.  Touch, smell, hearing, and sight are absolute necessities for most practicing physicians while we can only hope that taste is reserved for meals and non-professional situations.  I recently returned from a week of vacation in the great outdoors and found myself wishing that I had more olfactory agnosia.  Olfactory is a Latin adjective from olfacere that translates “of or relating ...

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I have previously written about a patient on this site: “How elderly patients can be stubborn to their own detriment.” In that post, I discussed how the patient repeatedly turned down appropriate therapy for her hypertension, saying she didn’t need the help.  Now I’m writing an update. Due to the patient’s refusal to accept treatment for her hypertension, despite counseling on the part of her cardiologist and primary care physician that ...

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On a September night not long after his 83rd birthday, my father suffered a massive stroke.  It left him conscious yet unable to talk and communicate, unable to swallow, and almost completely paralyzed. After numerous scans and other tests, his doctors determined that there was no chance for recovery.  My father would never walk, talk, or swallow food again.  With nothing more to do for him in the hospital, we -- ...

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shutterstock_242366215 The physician community lost a member on November 18th, 2013.  His name was Ben Bullington.  And I’m sure that the vast majority of physicians don’t have a clue who he was.  I had no idea who he was until about a month ago. Dr. Bullington was a rural family doc.  He practiced for years in Montana, in a town of less than a ...

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A while ago, I asked an 8-year-old patient of mine what she wanted to be when she grew up. She replied, “I’m not sure because right now I want to be a doctor, a firefighter, and a teacher … so maybe I’ll do all three … I’m not quite sure.” Uncertain about how to respond, I mumbled something like, “I don’t think you’ll have much free time.” Adulthood tends to make ...

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On the business side of health care, doctors are at a disadvantage. Because of their training, or lack therein, and native personality, they often fail to understand the realities of the market place, take confrontation personally and are suckers for an aggressive sales pitch. They feel that their motives are pure and because they sacrifice themselves and their families, over many years, they should receive respect and success. “I build ...

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It’s been over a year since my older sister Anna died, so I choke up less readily while speaking about it.  The raw anger is less, but the frustration of losing someone to a preventable medical mistake will always remain with me.   Anna was five years older than me, my only sister, and the one I often turned to for advice. We were close despite living 600+ miles apart.  She ...

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I always wondered what the saying "the apple falls so closely to the tree" meant. I never bought into the concept of similar cliché sayings of “like father like son” or “mother like daughter.”  I viewed these ideas as being founded upon by poorly defined concepts of traits and inheritance. Such notions completely undermine the ideology of “I think, therefore I am” as coined by Rene Descartes. I maintain that ...

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An excerpt from Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor's Reflections on Race and Medicine. On a humid Tuesday morning, Chester arrived at a busy Durham emergency room. While the other patients around him made the usual requests for pain medications, diagnostic tests, and reassurance that they were not ...

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