She looked like a whipped puppy that had had a garden hose turned on it and slunk off to a far corner of the yard to dry out in the sun. She sat there, wizened but hard, thin and wiry, dressed in standard issue blue emergency room scrubs, thin tanned face, long stringy, wet prematurely gray hair falling limply around her shoulders. She looked down at the floor, but when her ...

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physician suicide An obstetrician is found dead in his bathtub. Gunshot wound to the head. An anesthesiologist dies of an overdose in a hospital closet. A family doctor is hit by a train. He’s decapitated. An internist at a medical conference jumps from his hotel balcony to his death. All true stories. What are patients to do? When they call for appointments, patients are ...

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Greater discontinuity equals greater dissatisfaction. On Wednesday afternoon, one of the residents stopped in my office to talk about a patient he had just gotten off the phone with. It was a patient of his who had asthma and a recent upper respiratory tract infection for which she had received treatment at an urgent care center with an oral antibiotic and a course of steroids. She told him that she was still ...

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Today, a patient attacked me. A nurse got kicked. Another punched. I was gouged to the point that blood was drawn. The patient was neither intoxicated nor psychotic. Rather, she was a meek 92-year-old grandmother, and she was terrified. It took five of us to hold her down, as she summoned the strength of a woman fighting for her life. Linda is an elderly woman with moderate dementia. She is blind ...

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shutterstock_95318875 Yes, it really is time to revoke the health care mandates issued by bureaucrats who are not in the profession of actual healing. Daniel F. Craviotto Jr. writes in the Wall Street Journal, “In my 23 years as a practicing physician, I’ve learned that the only thing that matters is the doctor-patient relationship.” Craviotto, Jr. is a doctor who embodies the ...

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It was recently Nurses Week in early May and there were a lot of adulations being offered on social media and throughout hospitals regarding the appreciation we have for those among us who have chosen to be on the “front lines” of caring for us when ill or injured. As an emergency physician I could speak about the many times a nurse has grabbed me and pulled me into a room ...

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0925-Russian Dolls As I work with more and more doctors around the country, I am encouraged by what I am witnessing:

  • Doctors who completely left medicine, then returned later, refreshed and recharged.
  • Doctors who have slightly altered their original mode of practicing, discovered the parts of medicine they love most, then magnified them.
  • Doctors who have added and subtracted from their recipes until the unique ...

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As a long distance runner on my high school track team, I won few accolades in individual events, but shone in relays. My teammates and I spent hours perfecting our baton exchanges, which must occur within a limited area of the track, until these handoffs felt smooth and effortless. In contrast, world class athletes focused on individual performances are often assigned to relay teams at the last minute, a practice ...

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I recently went to an “admitted student day” with my eldest son at the university he plans to attend in the fall.  On our campus tour, our guide pointed out a block on the ground in the center of campus (which incorporates a symbol of the university) that no one steps on because “stepping on it will cause you to fail your first exam.”  In the winter, it is the ...

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“I see you haven’t had your flu shot this year, Mrs. Adams. Would you like to get it now?” “Nice try!” she replied playfully, her warm smile conveying a serene confidence forged by seven long, difficult decades on this earth. “But you know I never get the flu shot.” “I know,” I said, still hopeful I could change her mind, “but influenza can be very dangerous, particularly in patients over the age ...

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