shutterstock_111665426 In March 2008, prominent Denver business owner Leslie Fishbein suffered cardiac arrest and died after receiving trigger point injections with bupivacaine for chronic neck pain.  Ms. Fishbein owned a chain of high-end furniture stores.  She was well known within the community because of her starring role in television commercials promoting her business.  Her death drew tremendous media attention and heavy scrutiny for ...

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I could see through the two window shields into her car.  Her forehead creased into a petulant frown and she mouthed the words over dramatically. Asshole! Five minutes earlier, I was packing up my papers at the nursing home when my pager went off.  I fumbled for the desk phone, my arms constrained by the bulky winter jacket I had just climbed into.  I tapped my feet and waited impatiently for someone to pick up ...

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shutterstock_45483184 I am writing this letter because I feel that our leaders and lawmakers do not have an accurate picture of what it actually entails to become a physician today; specifically, the financial, intellectual, social, mental, and physical demands of the profession. This is an opinion that is shared amongst many of my colleagues. Because of these concerns, I would like to ...

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I began the medical school application process 10 years ago.  I was 23, single and most of my role models worked full time.  I had no idea that a part-time medical career lay in my future.  Quite a bit has changed since the days of hoping and praying and crossing my fingers for a medical school acceptance letter.   In the past 10 years I have, at varying times, declared ...

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chris christie Former White House physician Connie Mariano, MD, set off a firestorm recently by stating the patently obvious fact that New Jersey governor Chris Christie ought to address his morbid obesity prior to entertaining thoughts of running for the presidency in 2016.

“It’s almost like a time bomb waiting to happen unless he addresses those issues before he runs for office,” Mariano ...

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A loyal reader sent me a doctor-written column with the provocative headline, “My Patient, Killed by The New York Times.” First, keep in mind that the website that posted this, Mediaite, is all about the media covering (really fawning and dishing) itself. The purpose of this story, with its provocative headline, sad outcome, and mea culpa tone, is to generate “buzz.” Then understand that this is a story of one patient who made ...

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God helps those who help themselves. -Something that sounds like truth but fortunately isn’t mentioned in any religious text “I’m gonna beat this thing again, Doc! I just know it!” Over the course of several years, I helped care for a man with a very rare cancer that recurred over-and-over. With each new tumor, he became more focused on beating the disease and despite the repeated setbacks, he remained eternally positive. He spent ...

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Everyone knows that life in the ER is fast-faced, extremely busy, and ever-challenging. When things get crazy, it becomes habit for busy physicians to see patients as “the chest pain in room 6” or “the broken wrist in the hallway.” We turn people with their amazing lives and fascinating stories into a nameless number and a “chief complaint”. It’s a practice that’s easy to justify—after all, taking a long ...

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Is the Ontario Annual Physical Exam going the way of the dinosaur? That appears to be the case for healthy individuals between the ages of 18 to 64 in the Canadian province of Ontario. Effective in 2013, these patients no longer would have available an annual physical examination, but instead a “personalized health review.” The new personalized health review would only be available to those who were healthy and ...

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The first instinct of a bureaucracy is self-preservation, and health care bureaucracies are no exception. This rule applies not only to government agencies, but to academic and industry settings as well. This was the conclusion I came to after listening to a panel of scientist and physician "whistleblowers" at the Selling Sickness 2013 conference in Washington, DC. One by one, they described their painful discoveries that widely prescribed medications ...

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