What happens when your faith, commitment and professional integrity collide with great personal risk? This is what I imagine is happening across the country to physicians, nurses and other health care workers as we all face the Ebola tragedy. Sure, people dying in far away Africa bring an ache to our hearts. Admiration for those working with aide groups  brings the passing thought so easily conjured from the safety of our ...

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Ebola is frightening but not for the reason you may imagine. A little over a year ago Asiana Flight 214 crashed while landing at San Francisco International Airport resulting in 181 injuries and 3 deaths.  As an emergency medicine resident, this fast-forwarded my training as I took care of many of the patients arriving in our emergency department.  I left that day inspired that I had the education and training to ...

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An excerpt from Service Fanatics: How to Build Superior Patient Experience the Cleveland Clinic Way. Patients’ definition of their own experience is quite divergent. We ask patients for feedback, and the results are fascinating. We’ve found that patients often use the word experience in their comments: “I can’t believe how ...

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shutterstock_155857724 I just got a taste of improved access, and I gotta tell you, it sapped my energy. It reminds me of the old standup comic one-liner, "I just flew in from Vegas, and boy, are my arms tired." Today was the department of medicine housestaff picnic (pretty much a guarantee to cause the weather to change from clear skies to rain), and so ...

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Recently, Apple introduced its newest product, the Apple Watch. According to Businessweek, Apple spent years researching watches before deciding to build one. The company flew watch historians to California and they worked to understand how wristwatches have traditionally been used, and how a new “wrist computer” might work. They have hired leaders from diverse backgrounds -- none of them techies -- to lead these efforts. It struck me that health care could learn ...

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shutterstock_185853248 Recently, I wrote about the importance (and difficulty) of maintaining a healthy lifestyle as a resident. Now, I’d like focus more specifically on the toll that residency -- and in general, a career in medicine -- takes on a health care provider’s mind and soul. As you may have heard, in August two young physicians decided to end their lives. No one can ...

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Recently at our community hospital, after we concluded a nearly two-hour standing room only Ebola preparedness meeting, I practiced donning and doffing the personal protective equipment (PPE) for Ebola cases. PPE is the protective wardrobe health workers wear when examining a patient with a contagious infectious disease. Each disease has a different level of transmission and requires an appropriate level of protection. I wear gloves 25 times a day to examine ...

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shutterstock_117539575 As the helicopter emergency services (HEMS) industry enters its fifth decade, there is an 800-pound gorilla in the room and nobody is talking.  The average EMT, fireman and emergency physician too often make the flawed assumption that when it comes to HEMS, the industry is a uniform, high quality, strictly regulated entity.  They assume that all HEMS programs use state of ...

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american cancer societyYou never know when something special is going to happen, as in one of those times when you just wish you had a camera rolling to capture a moment, a comment, a statement about the way the world is -- and the way the world could be. This past weekend my wife and I were attending a meeting in ...

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Ruth was problematic.  Well into her seventies, her body may have dulled but her tongue was sharper than ever.  And she used it to lash me with complaint after complaint.  If it wasn't her knees, it was her ankles.  If it wasn't her ankles, it was her hips.  I battled the impossible month after month, year after year.  Our interactions left a bitter taste in my mouth.  Nothing makes a ...

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