shutterstock_176790740 I bolted through the conference room door on the first day of residency orientation.  The room full of interns shifted in their seats.  All one dozen of the faces looking up at me were male.  I got some crooked, goofy grins.  So began my introduction to the world of surgery. So, what would I tell my daughter about how to survive and ...

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When my older children were in elementary school, I sent in cupcakes for their birthdays or for class parties. My youngest is in elementary school now, and for his birthday, I sent in pencils and temporary tattoos for classmates -- because the school doesn't allow us to send in sweets anymore. When the change was first made, my reaction was: For real? Banning sweets? Since when did some cupcakes at a birthday ...

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In a recent article posted in JAMA, authors presented a viewpoint about the phenomenon of the flipped patient when describing the increasing reliance that millennial trainees place on getting to know the electronic health record (EHR) of patients rather than the patients themselves. As I read through the text, I found myself agreeing with the points made by the contributing writers that EHRs are increasingly used as the first line of ...

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One of the obligations of a medical or surgical specialist is to communicate with the referring primary care provider.  This can take many forms: a phone call, texting via smartphone, email, messages sent via EMR, and dictated letters.  The format is pretty standard no matter what medium is chosen.  You thank the referring doc for the consult request, you give some brief background info about the patient in question, and ...

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"I've been getting winded lately." He's a middle-aged man with diabetes.  This kind of thing is a "red flag" on certain patients.  He's one of those patients. "When does it happen?" I ask. "Just when I do things.  If I rest for a few minutes, I feel better." Now the red flag is waving vigorously.  It sounds like it could be exertional angina.  In a diabetic, the symptoms of ischemia (the heart not getting ...

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In the busy world of hospital medicine, where doctors and nurses find themselves rushed off their feet for most of the day, time to sit down and actually listen to patients is at a premium. Every doctor knows that our primary focus has to be on the most important aspects of the history and clinical examination in order to get to the correct diagnosis and treatment strategy. But at some point ...

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shutterstock_134837474 I’m an old school general surgeon. I graduated from med school in 1974 and after a five-year surgical residency in San Antonio, Texas, I started out on my own, ready to cure the world. Boy, was I raw. Like many of my peers, I got married during medical school, and like every surgeon back in those days I told my wife, ...

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For 25 years, I have taught medical students how to give bad news.  Step one: Be prepared.  Step two: Find a safe, personal, quiet environment.  Step three, and this is most important: Before you speak, ask.  What do the patient and family understand? Fail to follow this vital rule and reap the whirlwind.   So, therefore, you might ask, if I have such wisdom and experience in this critical area ...

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I came to hospital medicine from the land of pulmonary-critical care. I had spent ten years dealing with septic shock, respiratory failure, and acute renal failure. I had intubated, withdrawn life support, placed central lines, performed thoracenteses, and even placed a couple of chest tubes. I had changed tracheostomy tubes; I ran codes. In short I was a critical care bad ass. I thought I was hot stuff. But I ...

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It’s 2015, and we’re talking about measles. Not Enterovirus. Not Ebola. Not RSV. Not influenza. Instead, we’re talking about a historical virus that was declared eradicated from the United States in 2000. Most pediatricians who began practicing within the last 15 years have never even seen the disease. Measles starts as a high fever followed by a cough, runny nose (coryza), red and watery eyes (conjunctivitis), and tiny white spots inside the mouth ...

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