After almost fifteen years as a research physician, I grew tired of the relentless cycle of applying for grants, failing to obtain funding, and reapplying with variable success. Conducting clinical trials was rewarding, but the responsibility seemed endless. I began to feel burnt out, scorched. It was time for a change. I needed a hobby. Around this time, I read Frank McCourt’s memoir, Angela’s Ashes.  The author described it as a story ...

Read more...

I find myself spending close to an hour on the computer each morning at the hospital. I spend this time dutifully looking up vital signs, labs, recent radiology or pathology results as well as many other valuable pieces of information about each of my patients. I watch as my colleagues frantically record values, while making sure to point out important trends and gross abnormalities. When we round, there is always a ...

Read more...

"So, I'm getting routine labs on her." Wait, what? Statements like these often make the hair on the back of my neck stand up. One of our residents was seeing a healthy young woman for her "annual physical," seen just a few days after a routine postpartum visit with her OB/GYN after the uneventful birth of her third child two months ago. The resident was coming for his afternoon continuity clinic from an ...

Read more...

I entered the room to see a face that I recognized. As soon as I looked at my chart, I immediately knew this patient. I saved their life last year. I know this because the patient told me so. The teachers and mentors that I was privileged to learn from and train with 25 years ago emphasized the essential principle of osteopathic medicine — we make physical contact with our patients. ...

Read more...

My intern gazed blankly at her notes from the day. “You OK?” I asked. Her face was quivering with restrained tears as she turned to me, “I don’t think I helped anyone today.” This was not the first time, nor would it be the last time, that I had heard those words from a resident physician. Medical training is no joy ride. How could it be? First, there is the intellectual challenge of ...

Read more...

I have been working on this essay for some time now. It has been difficult for me to convey in words this complex issue of physician-patient relationships that, to me, is the crux of the art of medicine. The first time I met Rachel was when she showed up at my office with Mary, her closest friend for her first prenatal exam. When a year later, I walked into my office ...

Read more...

Sexuality can be hard to talk about. I think this is true for adults far more than for children. Children are naturally curious and nonjudgmental. They just want to know: What is that, what’s it for, why are yours different from mine, and why does he have one of those and I don’t? It’s we adults who squirm and dodge, deflect and bolt. From a very early age, children learn ...

Read more...

She came to me with complaints of weight gain. I gave her a pill, and she shed 200 lbs. in 2 weeks. No, of course not. There is no such pill. Mrs. Lopez did not lose weight. At her follow up four months later, she had gained 11 pounds. I went back to my note, and it clearly said that I “counseled her ...

Read more...

Is the practice of medicine a different experience for male and female physicians? Two recent studies from athenahealth suggest that it is -- in ways that should make us rethink what we value in health care. The first study found that male physicians are more productive than their female counterparts. In an analysis of 47 million visits on the athenahealth network in 2016, male physicians generated 30 to 40 percent more ...

Read more...

I used to practice locums medicine; which for the lay person means traveling to different jobs, sometimes several states at a time.   During that time I stayed in a lot of hotels.  But, occasionally, I had more unique accomodations.  Obviously, if you travel enough, you’ll sleep in an airport here and there. No big deal.  I actually like sleeping in airports occasionally.  When you’re stuck, you’re stuck.  Weather or ...

Read more...

Most Popular