Recently, I received a phone call in the late afternoon from someone very close to me. Please note that this someone is also a doctor. “Uh, I need you for a minute. I’m kind of freaking out. Can I talk to you?” She had just gone to her local optometrist to get a new prescription for glasses. The optometrist looked in her eyes, told her that both of her optic nerves ...

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I have been visiting different sites and having staff meetings with different groups of clinicians since I came back to my psychiatric services chief job recently. I have noticed something that is very important to the smooth operation of a mental health center, and most likely any health care facility you might look at. In order to do the best job possible and help the most people who need us, we ...

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I have written a good amount about automation, the good, the bad and the ugly.  I have written about doctors and ancillary providers and physician extenders, also good, bad and ugly.  A recent comment on Karen Sibert’s excellent blog A Penned Point caught my eye as an amalgamation of these subjects. This person wrote, and I hope he doesn’t mind my quoting him:

American anesthesiologists should focus much more on ...

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shutterstock_114189103 All patients should be treated with professionalism and respect.  We all want our patients leaving our care happy, healthy and satisfied, if at all possible.  However, sometimes patients don’t leave an emergency department very happy or satisfied.  Sometimes the doctor could have prevented it, but many if not most times, such dissatisfaction has little if anything to do with what the ...

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I think we are overly limited by our descriptive terms.  We throw around concepts like hospice and palliative care, but in reality the medicine I practice is much more a hybrid.  Many of my patients are elderly, demented, and plagued by metastatic disease.  Often when one of them becomes ill, it is unclear if they are merely treading water, or about to drown.  The problem with our modern definitions is that they leave little ...

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Things are going well with the practice, but I am being wrung a bit dry.  That's the reason for my dip in writing.  I am putting a lot of energy and emotion into the practice, and I don't have a whole lot left at the end of the day.  I have always been one to write out of passion and convictions -- I write because I believe what I am ...

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Boxer_02 Recently, an ancient sculptural masterpiece has been on temporary display in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Greek and Roman halls. On loan from Rome’s Museo Nazionale Romano, “Boxer at Rest” depicts a battered pugilist immediately after a fight. His face bears evidence of broken nasal bones, swelling and hematoma under his right eye, and multiple lacerations and abrasions to his nose, cheeks, and forehead. One secret ...

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I was saddened earlier this week to read, first on Facebook as posted by his son Daniel, that Michael Palmer had passed away after suffering a heart attack and then a stroke, while going through customs in New York on the way back from a trip to Africa.  Many of you know Dr. Palmer as the bestselling author who wrote medical mystery thrillers like “The Sisterhood” in 1982, ...

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Authoritarian parenting, as in "my way or the highway," and its opposite, permissive parenting with lack of limit setting, may be linked with difficulty with emotional regulation in children. In contrast, an "authoritative" parenting style is associated with an enhanced capacity for emotional regulation, flexible thinking and social competence. An authoritative parenting stance encompasses respect for and curiosity about a child, together with containment of intense feelings and limits on ...

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Ever since the days of William Osler, annual physical examinations with one’s doctor have been an accepted and expected part of health care.  But recently the practice has come under some criticism.  Given the dearth of studies showing that physicals lower the risk of death and hospitalization, some experts and organizations state that the annual physical should be abandoned. I appreciate the effort here to question tradition and to consider if ...

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