I recently attended my 10-year medical school reunion class party, and I have to admit, I had a great time. From the beginning, my class was special. We had 104 amazing people who were truly inspired to make a difference. However, regardless of how talented and hard working you are, medical school is one of the most challenging things you will ever do in your life. During our class party, we ...

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We all start out as idealistic medical students, downright puppy-like in our devotion to our patients, eagerly bounding to their rescue and spending hours listening to their concerns. Somewhere along the way, we start shutting down, seeing patients as demanding and feeling as if we're always fighting them off. I used to do it too; hide behind my layers of staff, complain to the office manager if a patient somehow made it ...

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On July 1, 2014, I retired after 35 years in practice. Or at least so it seemed. Before and after retirement, my cardiology group asked if I might be interested in part-time work. At first I said no. Due to my retirement, a physician's poor health, and one partner's departure due to chronic complaints of being overworked and under-appreciated, the group found itself without three doctors. As my retirement approached ...

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Preface: I love to write about many things. People, pets, children, family, nature. But over and over I come back to a theme: my colleagues in our specialty and the forces arrayed against us. I’m not trying to be the toxic voice, the endless complainer. But if people like me don’t beat the drum, then nothing will ever change for the better. In this column I will continue to explore issues ...

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“They need you in room 13,″ she said when I answered the phone and I ran back to the ICU.  The patient was coding and for each minute that felt like an hour, we tried, and failed, to save her.  She wasn’t breathing, her heart wasn’t working, and despite the 30 people gathered in the room, in the end, she died. Running a code, as we call it, means that someone is ...

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You can find reviews on almost anything; we “Yelp” restaurants before we try them, we scrutinize customer feedback when we purchase products on Amazon and we check out how many stars a dry cleaner or car mechanic has. Medicine is, for better or for worse, becoming the same way. You can Google a hospital or physician and find comments or reviews, and this worries many doctors. Most physicians don’t like the ...

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How many health coordinators does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Four. But none actually do any screwing. One is your point of contact for screwing lightbulbs. One helps the bulb get screwed. One goes between those two. And one manages the other three, raises funds and writes reports. My office strives to cut all barriers between the patient and provider. The patient calls me to schedule and comes in, or ...

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As practicing pediatric gastroenterologists, my colleagues and I remove a fair number of esophageal and intestinal foreign bodies (i.e., things kids accidentally swallow). A couple of years ago, several physicians across the country began noticing serious injuries in children who swallowed high-powered magnets. The issue was raised in an email forum for pediatric gastroenterologists and the response was overwhelming. There were hundreds of cases -- throughout the world, as we later ...

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The e-patient movement represents everything that is positive in medicine today.  This grass roots force has introduced shared decision making and empowered both physician and patient.  The quality of health care dialogue has risen meteorically both in the exam room and out.  Today's health care "consumer" is more engaged, more intelligent, and more agile at wending their way through the confusing maze of sickness and health. It's awfully sad that it ...

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It’s funny to think that the internet and the online world, so entrenched in our modern day lives, is still a relatively new phenomenon. When I first started medical school (not really that long ago) we hardly used the internet and the concept of a web search barely existed. It only became widely available on home computers shortly after that. The invention of social media is newer still. If any of ...

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