It was a rather unlikely place to begin my clinical career. Shortly after starting medical school, I signed up to volunteer in the hospice unit of my academic medical center.   The first few visits I relegated myself to fairly banal activities.  I shredded old medical records, or I might do a load of laundry for a family member who had been waiting tentatively by their loved one's side and was ...

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Our children will never be the sole judge of our job as parents of course. We are likely our own closest and most fastidious critic. And really it’s just us (and our partners) that can truthfully reflect and evaluate how it goes as we raise our children -- what our hopes were when we started on the journey of raising another and where we find ourselves. And so, however radiant the ...

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What defines a competent psychiatrist?  To staunch critics of the field, perhaps nothing.  Some believe psychiatry has done far more harm than good, or has never helped anyone, rendering moot the question of competency.  What defines a competent buffoon?  A skillful brute?  An adroit half-wit?  Having just finished Robert Whitaker’s Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America, a reader might easily conclude that psychiatric competency is ...

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When my husband and I stopped watching television a few months after we were married, we often didn't notice what had changed until we'd compare notes with friends.  "I miss my old hobby," a neighbor might complain, "but I just don't have the time."  And yet we'd see his head just above the back of the couch, silhouetted against his big screen TV for hours.  Not only did we regain ...

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In the past half century or so, medicine has changed the complexity of the human population as it has never been seen in the past. Think about it, there are people walking around today that fifty years ago, wouldn’t even be alive.   This evolution in medicine has not only brought about transformation in the human population, but it is also changing the approach of how clinicians need to treat these complex ...

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shutterstock_22140319 If F. A. Hayek were alive today, he would support the revival of labor unions in general and professional labor unions in particular. Towards the end of the Second World War, Hayek wrote a book warning us all that allowing governments to engage in extensive central planning of economic activities is nothing more than a road to serfdom for humanity. F.A. ...

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The action steps, in any health emergency, are: ABC. Airway, breathing, circulation. The airway has to be open, the patient has to be making an effort to breathe, and the heart has to pump blood. In any emergency, health care people are trained to address these, one by one, in order. Fix what you can before moving on, and concentrate on what’s going to kill the child first. Then, arrange ...

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stuart-scott Stuart Scott revolutionized the sportscasting industry with his unique style and likable demeanor on ESPN.  Mr. Scott recently passed away after an 8-year battle with recurrent appendiceal cancer.  Mr. Scott was a devoted father and put his relationship with his two daughters above everything else.  He was a sensational broadcaster and was passionate about his craft.  He inspired many young athletes ...

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shutterstock_73822633 Perhaps doctors should be more like the president. After all, we also carry the ultimate responsibility for our constituents, even though we, too, have team members who do part of that work. The way I understand things to work at the White House, those other team members collect, review and prioritize the information the president needs in order to manage his, and all ...

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“Blessed. I’m so blessed.” She kept repeating this, from her seat on the examining table. “I’m so blessed.” I unwrapped the bandage holding on the splint that had covered her arm for the three weeks since the bullet went in above her elbow and came out through her forearm, hitting no bone, touching no major artery. “Blessed.” Homeless. With diabetes that needed insulin, which needed a refrigerator, that she didn’t have. Vulnerable. A few years earlier, ...

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