“The unintended consequences of these seemingly well-intentioned laws are doctors who can’t apologize for harming their patients even if they want to …” A recent JAMA article about disclosing medical error described a hypothetical situation involving a dermatologist who, after completing skin biopsies on two patients, discovered that the instruments had not been sterilized. He wondered if he should tell the patients and what he should say. The authors of ...

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Around the U.S., millions of college age kids head back to start their fall semester in college. Their courses carefully selected months ago and their packing completed in a frenzy of activity. But, little thought is given to the most violent crime that happens on college campuses: rape and sexual abuse.  Estimates show that approximately 25 percent of college women have been victims of rape. In fact, ...

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Pamela Wible MD’s book, Physician Suicide Letters Answered, is a devastating view of raw pain, the pain of young, energetic, highly committed young people motivated to help and heal. These healers themselves have been plunged into the spiritual, physical, emotional, and intellectual hell of suicidal thought and action. Iatrogenic illness in action (iatrogenic illness being that which is caused by medical practitioners). Unfortunately, and tragically, the iatrogenic illness that ...

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“If physicians aren't happy, they can't heal others” - Vivek Murthy Last year, nearly 400 physicians committed suicide, a rate higher than other professions. Our nation is facing an epidemic of overwhelmed physicians subjected to increasing external stressors. Modern medical practice has evolved into a system driven by incentives to meet care quality measure benchmarks, implement incomplete electronic systems, provide care that is satisfying to patients and more. To keep up, physicians ...

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We are witnessing a strange migration of restless tribes, moving between doctors and clinics, traveling great distances in search of what no one wants to give them any more. This eerie movement is steadily gaining momentum in our community, in our state, and across the country. We can hear it in telephone calls, we can read it in records of patients looking to switch their care, and we can see it ...

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Smoking and drinking caused the cancer, which Ed ignored for a long time. By the time a doctor looked at the hole in his neck, the mass had congealed the base of the tongue to the right side of the jaw and burst through the skin. A steady drip of pink tinged, foul saliva ran down the side of Ed’s neck. Ed, not being able to chew for months, was ...

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I was treating John W., a psychiatric patient who was an insurance executive. He was angry about his work situation. He complained bitterly about his supervisor whom he felt singled him out for unfair criticism. Over the course of months, John’s complaints escalated to the point where he said, “I swear … if there was a chance I’d get away with it, I’d love to get rid of the guy.” I ...

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Think keeping your life organized is hard? Try keeping your doctors organized. In this era of fragmented health care, patients find themselves in the impossible position of having to coordinate their care themselves -- a task that many can’t meet. Having multiple chronic medical conditions often means being subjected to a dizzying assortment of specialists, medical terminology, and tests that can quickly overwhelm patients. How many times have you found yourself in ...

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I recently was speaking to two doctors about newspapers. Neither of them subscribed anymore. “Who has time to read the paper?” they agreed. “And any news you need is free online anyway.” No big news there, right? Plenty of people -- in medicine and otherwise -- have made similar decisions since the rise of the Internet in the mid-1990s. But what was striking to me is that these were not millennial ...

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In a recent interview, Dr. Farzad Mostashari (former national coordinator for health IT and current CEO, Aledade ACO) gave some advice to physicians on how to avoid burnout and “restore their role as caregivers”:

The key is two things. One, if you're in a kayak in the rapids, you have to lean in and dig your paddle in and push ahead. If you lean back, you're done. You're going ...

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