asco-logoI still remember being taken aback by how young she was. “She” was Mary -- a 28-year-old woman who had completed chemotherapy for stage II breast cancer. She was treated elsewhere and had moved cities when her husband got a promotion. “I’m still getting used to this area, but I am happy my hair came back before we had to move. I ...

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Sorry for the long gap between blog posts. I have been distracted by the volume of work that I have had to do.  Is that a good thing? Yes. Is it a bad thing?  Certainly. I recently heard an interview of Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, billionaire entrepreneur, and one of the "sharks" on the show "Shark Tank." The show involves entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch ...

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As part of a family medicine rotation, we recently discussed the importance of bringing spirituality into the hospital. The conversation was led by Stanford Hospital’s chaplain, Dr. Bruce Feldstein, an ER doctor in a former life. We began with definitions of spirituality, discussed personal experiences surrounding a spiritual moment, and concluded with how to take a “spiritual history,” a series of questions that explore patients’ spiritual or religious beliefs. We even ...

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It was probably the most awkward question I had been asked before, and I did not have an answer. He was a middle-aged gentleman, neatly dressed -- very simple and unassuming. He blended like a lifeless statue in the waiting area. What sparked my notice of him was his accompanying robust file, crammed with familiar pink discharge slips from the ED. He was clearly what we call a “frequent flyer,” but ...

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I have been a way from blogging for a a bit and tried to clear my head a bit with a vacation skiing.  I left the computer at home, disconnected (as best I could), and had the luxury of feeling the knees working less fluidly than they had before, but still had some fun for a brief 3 day stint.  It was nice to notice that there's a whole world ...

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One of my goals is to help doctors be happier in their day jobs. This does not mean you put on a fake smile, and grin and bear it through your day. What it does mean is you consciously set your boundaries for what you need. Stick with them and let others know. Because the truth is, you teach people how to treat you. This is not only reserved for your ...

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An innovative study in JAMA Internal Medicine on surrogate decision making has profound implications for how we take care of older hospitalized patients.  The study, by Lexy Torke and colleagues at Indiana University, systematically described the involvement of surrogates in decision making for hospitalized patients. Surrogate decision making refers to the phenomenon in which someone other than the patient is making or helping to make the key medical decisions.  In older ...

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There was a brief scare in our neighborhood this past weekend. Our phone rang. Our friend, who lives nearby, asked if her 12-year-old son was at our house. He wasn’t. The child had been gone for about 15 minutes. Their family had just returned from a shopping trip with a family friend, and that family friend had forgotten one of his items at our neighbors’ house. The child said, “I’ll run ...

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I wrote a column recently about the role computers play in the doctor patient relationship, and my concern that screens shift physicians' focus away from their patients. This column is part of a large conversation going on nationally and beyond about what I'd call "distracted doctoring." A Wall Street Journal opinion piece by my colleague Dr. Victoria McEvoy addresses the issue of whether all the digital box checking now required of doctors as ...

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"AAP Criticizes Retail-Based Clinics -- Again." I noticed the headlines rolling in about the AAP updated policy statement regarding retail based clinics.  The one above particularly caught my eye.  Something about the tacking on of “again” caught my attention.  It came across to me like we (pediatricians) were perceived to be saying something that was unnecessary, maybe even that we were just complaining. Throughout the day, I monitored my Twitter ...

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