The dictates of human kindness are fickle. The eruption of papers fluttered to the linoleum floor of the bustling hospital corridor.  Important persons with grey pressed coats and stethoscopes bouncing against clavicles rushed by without rotating necks downwards to notice.  Loosely fitting scrubs clung to contracting muscles, and pudgy abdomens directed bodies hurriedly around the corner with a misplaced sense of purpose. And the poor woman bent down helplessly, and struggled to collate ...

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I should be encouraged.  I was asked to talk on public radio last week about my new practice, then I was on a panel of “experts” in Washington DC on Monday.  Everywhere I talk about what I am doing I get positive reactions.  I get very positive reactions, actually.  I was approached by someone wanting to work with me “when I get ...

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Seven months ago, in Carbondale, Colorado, staff at the skilled nursing facility where my mother had resided for over a year recommended that she be placed on hospice.  My mother has severe advanced dementia and can no longer walk, speak, feed herself or recognize her family members. As much as I know about hospice care for cancer patients here in San Diego, I knew nothing about hospice care in Carbondale for ...

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“Will this case take very long?” “If  the surgery gods are with me we should be done in an hour.” The above brief exchange took place between me and the anesthesiologist attending to my patient on a recent surgery.  The patient was a middle aged woman who was about to undergo surgery to relieve a small bowel obstruction. She had been visiting her husband in a distant city where he was working ...

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The recent hurricane in New York City and the closures of some hospitals requiring the transfer of a large number of patients reminded me of something that happened on 9/11/2001. I was working at a hospital near New York. You may recall that among the many problems that day was a breakdown in communications. Reliable information on the number of casualties and extent of injuries was hard to determine. Late on the ...

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Medical journals aren't what they used to be. Just ten short years ago, medical journals were places to report scientific study, interesting cases or clinical updates and reviews. They were, for the most part, about science and discovery. Now, there is a dramatic shift of scientific content in our journals to politics and policy. No where is this more evident than the much-heralded and widely read New England Journal of ...

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The role of race in college and graduate school admissions remains controversial in the U.S. In fact, the Supreme Court is currently taking up a challenge to a University of Texas program that considers race in its admission decisions.  Critics of race-based admissions question whether educational institutions would serve the goals of affirmative action better by relying exclusively on non-race based criteria, such as socioeconomic status and family ...

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Recently, my middle school daughter has been learning about the use of the scientific method in science class.  In her school laboratory, she and the other sixth graders learn how to ask a question, perform background research, formulate a hypothesis, design and execute an experiment to test the hypothesis, and ultimately synthesize conclusions.  She is being taught to accurately record and interpret data;  the concept of manipulating data to suit ...

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I approached my father in the yard of his most recent home, a small, run-down duplex shack. His hair was whiter than I remembered, his old blue sweater shaggy. He was clipping the hedge in his careless but enthusiastic way; when finished, it wouldn't look good, but it would look clipped. One of his eyes was red and tearing up. A splinter had flown into it as he trimmed the boughs ...

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Now here is a novel idea to save lives and stop the cancer plague; stop trying!  Sounds as crazy to me, as it does to you, but this idea actually may have merit.  Some smart people are saying that we have spent too much money for little gain, thus it is time to give up and by retreating win more battles in the war on cancer, than by charging ahead. The ...

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