A loyal reader sent me a doctor-written column with the provocative headline, “My Patient, Killed by The New York Times.” First, keep in mind that the website that posted this, Mediaite, is all about the media covering (really fawning and dishing) itself. The purpose of this story, with its provocative headline, sad outcome, and mea culpa tone, is to generate “buzz.” Then understand that this is a story of one patient who made ...

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God helps those who help themselves. -Something that sounds like truth but fortunately isn’t mentioned in any religious text “I’m gonna beat this thing again, Doc! I just know it!” Over the course of several years, I helped care for a man with a very rare cancer that recurred over-and-over. With each new tumor, he became more focused on beating the disease and despite the repeated setbacks, he remained eternally positive. He spent ...

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Everyone knows that life in the ER is fast-faced, extremely busy, and ever-challenging. When things get crazy, it becomes habit for busy physicians to see patients as “the chest pain in room 6” or “the broken wrist in the hallway.” We turn people with their amazing lives and fascinating stories into a nameless number and a “chief complaint”. It’s a practice that’s easy to justify—after all, taking a long ...

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Is the Ontario Annual Physical Exam going the way of the dinosaur? That appears to be the case for healthy individuals between the ages of 18 to 64 in the Canadian province of Ontario. Effective in 2013, these patients no longer would have available an annual physical examination, but instead a “personalized health review.” The new personalized health review would only be available to those who were healthy and ...

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The first instinct of a bureaucracy is self-preservation, and health care bureaucracies are no exception. This rule applies not only to government agencies, but to academic and industry settings as well. This was the conclusion I came to after listening to a panel of scientist and physician "whistleblowers" at the Selling Sickness 2013 conference in Washington, DC. One by one, they described their painful discoveries that widely prescribed medications ...

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shutterstock_68491828 The United States is higher in its use of computed tomography (CT) scans than any other industrialized country. There were about 3 million scans done in the U.S. in 1980. By 2007 that number had risen to 70 million. A number of articles published in medical journals over the past few years have reported that excess radiation delivered by these scans will ...

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Sometimes as human beings, despite all the layers we consciously build upon the shell of our souls to shelter us, define us, and project an image to others of what we hope we are, our basic inherent quality of goodness emerges on its own free will. A kind word, a gentle touch, a hint of a smile, an understanding patience--these are all things that escape uncontrollably in moments where our ...

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Recently one of our readers posted this comment:

“If any Shrink Rapper ever has the time and inclination it would be interesting to read about what you would do to fix the mental health system, particularly the issue of involuntary hospitalization, if you had unlimited funds and political resources. You've been in the trenches, it would be great to hear your thoughts.”
Over on Peter Earley’s blog I see that ...

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american society of anesthesiologistsA guest column by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, exclusive to KevinMD.com. Hospital dramas are not very short on excitement, but for some reason, anesthesiologists never seem to get the glamour treatment. Maybe that’s because our job is so difficult to transition onto the silver screen. After all, it would be pretty boring to see only one ...

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Our nurses will soon have "scripting" guidelines for their interactions with patients.  This is apparently widespread in many industries.  The idea being, patients will be more satisfied with their care if certain key phrases are repeated to them; phrases which might, possibly, just maybe find their way onto satisfaction surveys.  Wink, wink! Whether I will have to engage in this tawdry bit of theater remains to be seen.  But bless the ...

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