“If he is hungry when he wakes up, and you don’t let him eat, we’re taking him to another hospital,” the man shouted. I stood trapped between a protective papa bear and his cub. My instinct was to find an exit, but I braced myself for more. This father gave me one last glare before side-stepping around me and wrenching open the door to his child’s hospital room. I glimpsed ...

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acp new logoA guest column by the American College of Physicians, exclusive to KevinMD.com. I love pre-visit planning. OK, “love” may be too strong a word -- I like pre-visit planning. Pre-visit planning isn’t new. Many of you have done it for years, even before it had a name, for example when pre-ordering labs before a visit. I did not begin ...

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This article was originally written on August 11, 2015. My psychotherapy supervisor taught me a tip during residency: to pay close attention to the very first thing a patient says, and more importantly, the last topic they bring up towards the end of session. (Because it’s likely that the subject weighing most heavily on their mind is too uncomfortable to discuss at the very beginning.) I struggled to come up with a topic to ...

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shutterstock_104930039 There was once a little boy who loved to draw.  He would wake up every morning, pull out his box of colored pencils, and let his hands explore the promise of a pristine sheet of blank paper.  For him, the canvas was anything but empty,  images and ideas exploded out of his mind and magically appeared on the pages in front of ...

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I have a confession to make: I sometimes look forward to my trips to the bathroom at work. Being a busy pediatrician, it can be the only alone time I get to myself; and on occasion you just need a quiet place where babies aren’t crying, and phones aren’t ringing. The other day as I was leaving the bathroom and returning to the bustling clinic, I did something strange. I ...

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I was an overachieving, well-rounded and sagacious undergraduate student. I majored in psychology, minored in biology and was an active member of the Psi Chi honor society. I was drawn to the study of psychology, and fascinated by the complexities of mental illness. I became certified as a research assistant and spent many hours with severely depressed individuals, who had become crippled by their illness. I was intensely intrigued by ...

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photoshoot-770x457 Have you ever had a professional photo shoot? I have had many, but not because I particularly enjoy being photographed. Actually, it is quite the contrary. Photo shoots have always been a traumatic experience for me. You see, for some reason, likely as a creative form of cruel parenting punishment, my family of five siblings had a photo taken every year while growing up. ...

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“Dr. Gunter, I think, uh, there’s a fetal skull in the abdomen,” my resident said with that hesitancy that says I want you to tell me I’m wrong. The first time you diagnose something that is very bad you actually hope you are mistaken and want someone more senior to reassure you that you are overreacting and tell you that this is just an odd presentation of something benign. “I’ll be ...

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asco-logo "Why did this happen to me?" That question is perhaps the most common one raised by patients facing a diagnosis of cancer for the first time. There are so many campaigns about how to “avoid” cancer: no white sugar, no chemicals, all-plant diets, regular exercise, don’t smoke, don’t drink. I can see how one can get the impression that if ...

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asco-logo One day in clinic, recently, I reviewed my daily schedule with the oncology fellows who were working with me that day. With the exception of the new patients on my schedule, I recognized all of the names on my list. I opened the electronic chart of the first patient to skim the problem list, a handy spot where I ...

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