For various reasons our nation’s public health programs have been decimated. This comes at a time when the number of unemployed and health uninsured are at a record high number. Additionally, we are seeing individuals live longer and experience more chronic debilitating illnesses and conditions that stretch the resources of an already under manned and under funded health system.  Emphasizing prevention and healthy living should be a lifetime necessity for ...

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Sometimes a patient interaction leaves you speechless. In my experience, that most often occurs when a patient refuses to acknowledge any responsibility for their condition despite massive evidence to the contrary. This is compounded when dealing with caregivers of patients who don’t just drop the ball, they kick it into the next county on purpose. Here is an actual phone conversation between a fellow physician and a son of her two ...

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Over the past few years, insurers and Medicare officials have fostered the idea that physicians should be reimbursed on a pay for performance (P4P) basis.  Many articles, both pro and con, have been written regarding P4P.  I have been strongly opposed to P4P, believing that the sole purpose of the performance indicators designed by the government and insurers is to reduce payments to docs and hospitals.  I also believe that ...

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In January, when my close friend’s lymph node biopsy came back as a rare form of T-cell lymphoma, I scoured the scientific literature. What was his prognosis?He was 56, a little overweight but otherwise healthy. He had helped us move into our home more than a decade ago, and I was like an uncle to his son and daughter. In the literature I found jagged graphs plunging downward, indicating that my ...

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As I enter the hospital in which I work, I am struck by a number of signs that denote that my place of employment is a Christian hospital, with Christian values, and a Christian "vision" of health care. I don’t have the vaguest clue as to what that means. And I don’t really  mind either, it’s not like they’re paying me with Jesus biscuits and Christmas ornaments, nor does it seem ...

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People often wonder what causes children to bully.  Why is it that some children feel the need to hurt and humiliate other children?  What do they really stand to gain from this cruel behavior? Some studies indicate that some (not all) bullies have naturally aggressive and/or hyperactive personalities from the start. Some.  But that doesn’t mean that all “spirited” kids will bully while all “mellow” kids will be perfectly empathic and ...

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There was no mistake, but a bad thing has happened.  Despite the best efforts of the doctors, Bob’s wife is very sick.  Due to a rare side effect of treatment, her liver is failing.  Bob believes this could have been prevented. He is very mad. “When we go to see the doctor, he stares at the computer,” says Bob. “He does not look at us.  Most of the time, the doctor ...

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As a child, the only physician I ever knew was our crusty opinionated and entirely trustworthy family doc. His physician career spanned almost five decades, in one unbroken line from his first days as a GP in solo practice until his retirement, which occurred way past the age at which most of us would like to stop working. His was the typical physician career, representing continuity, professional satisfaction and a lifelong commitment ...

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One of the most common stressors for physicians is the sheer toxicity of what are considered full time hours. While the rest of the world considers full time to be 40 hours a week, we all know a full time doc starts at 80 plus, if you include all the hours you must be available on call. In physician surveys, schedule flexibility and the ability to function as a part time ...

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Even though I love my job, I’ve been feeling a little burned out lately. I think it comes from being stretched too thin, which is something I’ve coped with off an on ever since med school. As the saying goes, there are never enough hours in the day, and sometimes that really gets to me. While my practice is incredibly important, I also place a lot of value on my family. ...

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