Language matters. The words we choose can have far-reaching impact on those we interact with. This is arguably more true in medicine than in any field. Ryan Madanick wrote a recent blog post on the use of descriptor terms used by physicians in patient’s charts. He felt that the use of phrases like “is a very pleasant 52 y/o woman” or “is an unfortunate 16 y/o boy” is inappropriate. I agree. ...

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Dr. Keith Ablow is an assistant clinical professor at Tufts University School of Medicine. So am I. Ablow has a problem with transgendered people. I do not. I first learned about Ablow's well publicized stance Wednesday via an email to the Tufts community, signed by the university's president, the dean of the medical school and the chair of the psychiatry department. The university reaffirmed its commitment to the complete inclusion ...

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Doctors love to talk about tort reform – states passing laws to put limits on awards such as non-economic damages for harms such as pain and suffering, and on the legal process of suing a doctor for malpractice. They speak of defensive medicine – the practice of ordering extra tests, treatments, and days in a hospital to cover their medical-legal butts. Texas passed a comprehensive tort reform law in 2003 ...

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As a mom and first-time parent, I marveled at my tiny daughter's curiosity about and interest in the world. Her quest for knowledge was insatiable and her ability to sit absorbed in what she was doing and the moment enviable. Now that she's 8 (“8 and a quarter, mom!”, said with a sigh and an attitude), she seems to have morphed into a smart, verging-on-sassy pre-tween who's beginning to think ...

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The recycling container was already full. But I had two more bags to stow before lugging the bin through the gate and into the front yard for pick up. My button down shirt untidy and bulging out from the waist. My long khaki pants felt like a fur coat in the ninety plus Chicago humidity. It was 4pm and I had just arrived home from work, dropped my computer in ...

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Are you paid fairly for what you do? How much are your services actually worth? Of course you are worth more than you are paid. Enough money is never enough. "The market decides." But, in medicine, there is no way that it is a "free market"; the American medical marketplace is historically rigged by innumerable visible and, to the average person, invisible factors. We live in one world. Ask Detroit about wages for making American ...

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At every turn, we in health care are being told we must fundamentally change the way we deliver care to the patients who come to us for assistance, advice, and decisions as to how they can, if not maintain health, at least survive in an increasingly burdensome world.  Whether referenced as medical home, health care home, advanced primary care, patient-centered approaches, or accountable care organizations, it all sounds the same ...

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Physicians recommend different treatments for patients than they would choose for themselves.  The preceding statement is true according to a similarly titled article recently published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, and has, I will argue, important implications for how we view the doctor-patient relationship. In the study, one group of physicians was asked to choose between two hypothetical treatment alternatives for either avian flu or colon cancer as if they ...

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In an earlier post, DrRich offered several potential strategies for doctors and patients to consider should healthcare reformers ultimately succeed in their efforts to make it illegal for Americans to seek medical care outside the auspices of Obamacare. To those readers who persist in thinking that DrRich is particularly paranoid in worrying about such a thing, he refers you to his prior work carefully documenting the efforts the Central ...

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Though there will always be times when an emergency disrupts your schedule, there is usually little reason for patients to wait more than 20 minutes for their visit.   You will also find that continually double booking, arriving late, or having general mayhem in your office will inevitably result in everyone having to stay later than expected.  Rather than experiencing all of these problems, you will be well served by isolating ...

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