Next in a continuing series. Traction and counter-traction: along with maintaining excellent exposure, that is one of the fundamental principles of operating. It's Newtonian: equal and opposite. In nearly all forms of surgical dissection, there's a need for some pull in the opposing direction: tissues that are a little stretched-out, that are under some tension, fall open more easily when dissected. Plus, it's a form of stabilization, another obligatory ...

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"I want everything done. Please, Dr. Rousseau, do everything. We have two children--they can't be without their father. Do you understand? Do what it takes to keep him alive!" Angie, a petite woman with long blonde hair, fixes me with piercing blue eyes. Her husband, Joe, fifty-two, has scleroderma, an autoimmune disease. In its most devastating form, it hardens the skin and destroys the kidneys, heart and lungs. Joe is dying of ...

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If you desire healing, let yourself fall ill let yourself fall ill. -Rumi Yesterday I saw a patient—an 80 year old woman with metastatic cancer involving her bones.  She had near complete replacement of her twelfth thoracic vertebra by tumor, and also significant destruction of her fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae, demonstrated by PET-CT scan and bone scan. She had so much pain in her legs that it was difficult to walk.  In ...

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As a doctor, I am compelled to write because of what I know is occurring with alarming frequency in our country. Americans are skipping needed and recommended care that could save their lives and allow them to live to their fullest. Patients are more distracted, as life is more complicated and busier than ever. Households have both parents working, sometimes two jobs, just to make ends meet. They easily would ...

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Although I rarely get sick with the numerous strains of “bugs” that seem to go around our community this time of year, the week prior to my return to work for my next scheduled string of four shifts was spent mainly in bed, coughing and aching and whining about how miserable I felt. Fully recovered, though, I was excited to return to the emergency department to do my fair share ...

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It’s been a month since I started my new practice.  We are up to nearly 150 patients now, and aside from the cost to renovate my building, our revenue has already surpassed our spending.  The reason this is possible is that a cash-pay practice in which 100% of income is paid up front has an incredibly low overhead.  My admitted ineptitude at financial complexity has forced me to simplify our ...

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My hospital has just weathered an impressive upswing in patient volume. The house was full for weeks. The experience highlights an important aspect about quality care–an obvious one that doesn’t always make headlines. What I notice when the hospital gets full is that patients are sent to units that they don’t normally go to. For instance, at my hospital, like yours probably as well, there are numerous different types of heart ...

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When I entered the exam room I found my patient, a woman in her 80s who'd come in for a routine visit, holding a photograph. "I need to show you something," she said. Some patients bring me photos at every visit--usually their kids' or grandkids' annual school pictures, or smartphone shots of a wedding or christening--but she never had before. I wondered what it might be. She laid the photo on ...

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shutterstock_130000862 Countless times during the course of my day, some person, entity or task vies for my time and attention. “If I could just have a minute of your time” begins a request to also see the spouse of a scheduled patient, a sales pitch from a pharmaceutical “rep” or home oxygen vendor, a phone call from a visiting nurse, a message from a ...

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Recently, I went straight from the hospital to the Washington DC Convention Center for the AMSA National Convention. I was there to receive the 2013 Women Leaders in Medicine Award, along with 4 other women; part of the award reception was a panel discussion on the significance of women leaders in medicine. We had received some questions to ponder ahead of time that the moderator would ask us, ...

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