Thanks to the measles outbreak, the news is full of stories on vaccines and anti-vaxxers. The blogosphere and Twitterverse and all the other social media dimensions are buzzing with invective against ignorant unvaccinated savages and their backward science denial. For the record, I’m a pro-vaccine physician. My children have been and are vaccinated, despite being unsocialized homeschoolers. I’ve had my own share of needles; Physicians are mandated to have hepatitis B, ...

Read more...

It happens every once in a while in my practice: Parents ask if we can delay or skip certain vaccines, or spread them out. According to a study just published in the journal Pediatrics, I'm not alone -- in fact, 93 percent of pediatricians get asked the same thing. Now, it's important to point out that most families don't ask for this. Most families are fine with the current vaccine schedule -- ...

Read more...

Termites are endemic in southern California, and we’ve had spot treatments several times over the years at various sites in our house where little piles of sawdust have appeared as evidence of termite activity. Finally, it became clear that the termites were winning, and more aggressive treatment was in order: tenting. This is the process of hoisting a big, brightly-colored tent over the whole house and putting an end to ...

Read more...

You’ve likely seen the Jimmy Kimmel “public service announcement” on vaccines. Over 3 1/2 million people have viewed it on Youtube so if you’re not yet one of them you’ll likely add to the tally now. The first 3 minutes of the monologue are spot-on, and they’re also very funny. Jimmy takes a stand against the “anti-vaxxers.” He mentions that some parents are more scared of “gluten than small pox” ...

Read more...

“What would Spock think about the ‘husky’ designation?” That’s what I was pondering. I was wondering how the master of logic would justify and make sense of the clearly derogatory way I was feeling about myself. “Fascinating,” I imagined him saying, and he would raise that patented eyebrow. Then I looked in the mirror, furrowed my brow, took note of the barely present peach fuzz growing under my nose, and with all ...

Read more...

Physician burnout -- and burnout in general -- is at an all-time high. From this Wall Street Journal article by Dr. Sandeep Jauhar to a recent TEDx talk by Dr. Romila Mushtaq, the angst is palpable. Sadly, as noted in this piece in the New York Times, the suicide rates of physicians and doctors-in-training increase every year. The insurance companies’ complications, government involvement, and economic downturn have all added fuel to this fire of discontent. ...

Read more...

shutterstock_113514799 No physician, however conscientious or careful, can tell what day or hour he may not be the object of some undeserved attack, malicious accusation, blackmail or suit for damages  ... " - Assaults Upon Medical Men. Journal of the American Medical Association, 1892 It’s happened again: A well-liked doctor is killed by his patient. Last year’s horrific death of a physician in our community, a ...

Read more...

I have been doing emergency medicine for almost ten years -- thirteen if residency counts, and I sure think it does.  I face the same issues that cause my work colleagues, physicians and nurses alike, to burnout. I struggle with burnout myself, but I keep coming back.  Many days (and nights), I ask myself why I continue to do what I do.  I work strange hours, weekends, and holidays caring ...

Read more...

As I travel around speaking about preparing for peace at the end of life, I have found that there are three pervasive myths about hospice that might cause you to inadvertently rob yourself or your family of a peace-filled end-of-life experience. So, I am taking on the job of myth-buster to clear the air. Here goes: Myth #1: Hospice is a place. While hospice can be a place, it is primarily a service. ...

Read more...

I was talking to a colleague of mine yesterday. (At least I flatter myself that I am a colleague.  He has a writing job at a prestigious magazine while I, well, don’t.)  We were talking about the doctor-patient relationship, as is our wont, and he said something that stood out to me as the quintessential statement of patients’ expectations about doctors. It goes something like this: "I expect that when I ...

Read more...

Most Popular