I live and work in the house medicine. You would think that those of us who have chosen this profession would actually know what dying looks like. Furthermore, one would hope that if the doctor could identify dying, he or she could share this with the patient and family (given that this is fairly significant medical information). I never cease to be amazed that most doctors cannot speak straightforwardly and compassionately about ...

Read more...

I became a physician in 2001, after originally having a career in business. I wanted to become a doctor to be able to do something important. I felt that if I needed to work, and to leave my children in day care, I at least wanted to be doing something that was meaningful to me. My job as a business manager didn’t fulfill me in that way. Over the years, I’ve ...

Read more...

The nasogastric tube was killing me. It had been in place for twelve hours now, threading its way up my nose and down my throat, past my esophagus, into my stomach. Try as I might, I couldn’t swallow away the nasty lump stuck to the back of my throat. And every time I tried, it hurt. Decades before, as a physician-in-training in upstate New York, I’d put in more nasogastric (NG) ...

Read more...

When your health insurer pays for breakfast, here’s what happens When your health insurer pays for breakfast, here’s what happens Health insurance is complex. Eating out is easy -- unless you were to involve your health insurance company. If you hired a third party to pay your restaurant bill, you’d pay twice as much, wait 2 weeks for a table, and have 7 minutes to eat. I shared my restaurant analogy on a LinkedIn ...

Read more...

A major debate taking place in the hospital medicine community over the last several years concerns the way in which we cohort patients on the medical floors. The traditional way is to have patients belonging to each doctor scattered across the hospital on several different floors. This is in contrast to designing a geographical system where all the patients for any one doctor are located on a single floor. On the ...

Read more...

It was January 1, 2000, and I was an intern in emergency medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. I had gone to sleep the night before listening to celebratory fireworks and congratulating myself for surviving Y2K.  Now I was walking into the emergency department of our large, level 1 trauma center where I was furthering my medical training.  Like most urban ERs, this one was a busy place ...

Read more...

Does owning cancer equipment change treatment patterns? Today’s article follows the money trail to expose a different form of bias: the kind that takes place when doctors own their own diagnostic and therapeutic equipment. For people living with cancer, this kind of bias can have a particularly painful impact. Radiation therapy brings out medical bias In the United States, cancer is the second most common cause of death, killing nearly 600,000 ...

Read more...

Sometimes my day is like a book.  The first chapter may begin in the darkness of a self imposed corner as a phone call is made.  A voice, full with the thickness of slumber, answers unexpectedly. "I think today is the day." No matter how many years I have been discussing death I still find myself using poor euphemisms.  The bane of medical school teaching, I often struggle with the directness.  "Your mother ...

Read more...

We are, I trust, all but universally familiar with the knee jerk, or patellar, reflex. A doctor taps the patellar tendon with a rubber mallet, and our leg kicks forward in response. The reaction is famously unthinking. In fact, it is literally so. What makes a reflex a reflex is that the brain is substantially uninvolved. The stretch of a tendon by the mallet is transmitted to the spinal cord, and the ...

Read more...

I see nearly 100 patients a week.  Of these, easily 35% are overweight and 15-20% are obese with a BMI greater than 30.  I live in New Orleans, Louisiana, which along with Mississippi has the highest rate of hypertension, diabetes mellitus, arthritis, and other diseases commonly associated with obesity.  There are many explanations for the obesity academic in America but certainly poor nutrition and lack of exercise are at the ...

Read more...

Most Popular