An excerpt from The Secret Language of Doctors: Cracking the Code of Hospital Culture. When it comes to modern medical slang, there’s Before Shem and After Shem. Shem refers to Samuel Shem, the pen name of Dr. Stephen Bergman, psychiatrist and author of the blockbuster novel The House of ...

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Several months ago, Physician's Weekly featured an article describing a bill that was introduced into the House of Representatives called H.R. 1406: The Saving Lives, Saving Costs Act. It would create a "safe harbor" for physicians who could show that they followed best practice guidelines when faced with a malpractice suit. At the end of the piece, a question was asked, "Do you think this bill will help safeguard physicians against ...

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Years ago, as a young cardiologist in inner-city Brooklyn, I remember an elderly Spanish-speaking patient named Maria who faced the painful task of deciding whether to use her government subsidy to buy groceries or to fill the medications I had prescribed to treat her heart failure. I wasn’t unfamiliar with this kind of poverty. I had been born into a Jewish family in Tehran, and soon after, we fled Iran to ...

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Many physicians feel burnt-out from their careers A recent Medscape survey asked doctors of all specialties whether they experienced feelings of cynicism, loss of enthusiasm and low personal accomplishment with their work. Unfortunately, the percentage of physicians with burnout has increased since the last survey in 2013, with 46 percent overall reporting these feelings. When looking at specific specialties, the most burnt-out physicians are critical care and emergency doctors. Half of primary ...

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Recently, I was honored to spend a day on Capitol Hill as part of an advocacy event with the Society of Hospital Medicine. The organization, which I am proud to be a part of, held their annual meeting in Washington DC. The event involved a group of hospital physicians going to Capitol Hill to meet our congressional representatives -- both in the House and Senate -- to discuss the issues ...

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Businessman and maverick, Mark Cuban recently opined, “If you can afford to have your blood tested for everything available, do it quarterly so you have a baseline of your own personal health.” I’m unsure why he said quarterly, not weekly, daily or hourly. ‘ He further opined that this must be done to “create your own personal health profile and history. It will help you and create a base of knowledge ...

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There’s nothing like discrimination -- true or imagined -- to keep our airwaves humming. Recently, Indiana and then Arkansas were media fodder for laws that were proposed to protect religious freedom. Yes, I know the other side of the argument, that these religious freedom protections were veiled attempts to discriminate against the LGBT community. Both states raced to revise their original laws, although the laws' backers deny any discriminatory intent ...

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How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie is a timeless bestseller. It is a book that’s translated into many languages globally and carries brand name recognition.  People who read the book recognize common sense approach and simple lessons of courtesy that are so eloquently described by the author. Dale Carnegie had a knack for oratory skill and displaying genuine connection with other human beings. While he tried many ...

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America faces a serious shortage of primary care doctors. The reasons are not hard to understand. Lower income is the most important factor.  Adult primary care doctors (general internal medicine physicians and family medicine physicians) earn on average $100,000 or so less per year than specialists do. Our income is much greater than that of the average American, and so many people have little sympathy here.  But almost all people prefer ...

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I can’t mention the physician by name, because he is currently in contract negotiations.  But he lives and works in a Midwestern town of several thousand people, a town where the major social event of the year is a fall festival that features a parade down Main Street.  The physician, let’s call him Dr. Smith, has been practicing there for nearly 30 years, and he intends to keep living and ...

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