How would you react if you sent your sputtering car to the auto mechanic, and they stopped trying to diagnose the problem after 15 minutes? You would probably revolt if they told you that your time was up and gave back the keys. Yet in medicine, it's common for practices to schedule patient visits in 15-minute increments -- often for established patients with less complex needs. Physicians face pressure to mind ...

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There are over 400 pediatric intensive care units (PICUs) in the USA, as most recently estimated by the Society of Critical Care Medicine. These units vary widely in size, from 4 or 5 beds to fifty or more. The smaller units are generally found in community hospitals; the larger ones are usually in academic medical centers, often in designated children’s hospitals, of which there are 220. Given this size range, it ...

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For almost ten years now, family physicians have been the most recruited specialty in the medical profession, and that is not likely to change anytime soon. We face a huge shortage of primary care physicians that is only going to get worse because we aren’t training family doctors as fast as they are retiring. Business training isn’t in the curriculum What this means for me and my fellow family medicine residents is ...

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A woman in her mid-thirties with a terrible limp and a past surgical history in the dozens became my patient two years ago. Her prosthetic left leg served her well, but her right leg was moving awkwardly because of advanced hip arthritis and a formerly shattered ankle. She was on long-acting morphine and short acting oxycodone. Her Social Security disability insurance didn’t cover the long-acting form of oxycodone. She told me several ...

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I am a doctor daughter. I am exhausted. My emotions are bubbling close to the surface, and I fear that at any moment, someone will do or say something to me that will cause me to lose control, which I’m not allowed to do because I’m also a female physician in a leadership role, and our emotions must be held in check. I watched one of my mentors be memorialized last ...

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You ask your patient to follow instructions and when they see you at their subsequent visit, they have not made the changes you suggested. We have all been there, often placing the blame on their lack of interest in their health. Have you ever thought to dig a little deeper? The average American reads at a middle school level. There have been a series of studies trying to shed light and ...

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Almost every day over the last few years, someone has written about physician burnout or depression. The problems begin in medical school. A recent paper featured drawings that medical students had done depicting faculty as monsters. One student felt so intimidated during a teaching session that she drew a picture of her urinating herself. peeing The paper equated faculty and residents supervising students ...

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I remember seeing so many charts in my career on which the well-meaning emergency room physician wrote the following:  "Follow up with your primary care doctor."  Or, if they didn’t have one, "Follow up in one week with a primary care doctor."  I laughed to myself.  Usually, the people we say that to have either no insurance, inadequate insurance or inadequate motivation to even call the persons to whom we ...

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The last couple of decades have seen a dramatic shift of power and clout away from individual physicians and towards administrators and the business side of health care. In many ways, physicians have nobody but themselves to blame collectively; because for any large and respected group of people to surrender so much autonomy so quickly, a lack of strong leadership must always be a factor. So many different reasons for this ...

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Thanks to all the nurses who take care of my patients and every other patient. I may be a doctor, but you are the ones who deliver the care. You give the medications and hang the IV fluids. You wash the patients and turn them. You check their vitals and listen for bowel sounds. You walk with them. You talk with them. You fulfill their needs. And you provide comfort to ...

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