Mr. O was my new patient but had been known to our practice for several years.  He was 74 years old. He had been complaining of “dizziness” for some time.  He came in for his visit accompanied by his home health aide.  He was born in the Dominican Republic, and he spoke Spanish with limited English proficiency.  I scanned his former notes and saw that his aide typically provided translation.  ...

Read more...

It happens to us all. I was frustrated with one of my patients about two years ago, angered because she did not want to help herself. She kept requesting help for her mental disorder, and when the help was given, she would literally run away. She would start then stop taking a medication that even she had to admit did help her. Medication was just not for her she would ...

Read more...

Medical school applications can raise big hairy questions about the long-term potential and trajectory of your relationship as well as the question of whether you get a say in where the applicant applies and attends medical school. For some, the timing of these questions arises in synchrony with the relationship’s natural progression that is at a time when you and your partner are beginning to discuss your long-term prospects. Other ...

Read more...

When I was in television, I was friends with the late Gene Siskel (the film critic’s syndicated show would shoot in our Chicago CBS studio). Siskel would drop by my office to talk and get free medical advice. Siskel was, you might say, frugal. I remember when I was in contract negotiations with CBS, my bosses couldn’t praise me enough — but the money wasn’t there. When I told Siskel about ...

Read more...

The young woman in my clinic, whom I’ll call Nicole, was 8 months pregnant with her third child. It should have been a joyous time -- but she was in a county jail. Nicole was awaiting trial for a misdemeanor, and while a judge had set bail, she couldn’t afford to pay it. I’m a public health researcher and physician in the Los Angeles County Jails, the largest jail system in ...

Read more...

Sixty is the number of patients left on our schedules at the end of the day on Monday this week, people who never showed up, what we call no-show appointments. This number does not include those patients who did reach our practice to reschedule (these are counted separately), but simply those who never made it in for their scheduled appointments. While we are a very busy practice, and this is not ...

Read more...

It started with nightmares. I would wake up frightened, covered in sweat and searching my empty room for an intruder. It progressed. I started setting traps on my doors to see if anyone was coming into my apartment when I wasn’t there. I didn’t open my blinds often. And when I did, I ensured no one would be able to see inside. I meticulously planned movements outside my apartment — ...

Read more...

"Do no harm." This is a key phrase in the Hippocratic Oath; one that I announced with conviction at my medical school graduation. I swear to do no harm. What would Hippocrates, the Father of Modern Medicine, think about the concept of harm reduction? Canada has a drug problem. We are one of the world’s largest per-capita opioid consumers. The country is facing what has become known in the media as the ...

Read more...

Burned out cardiac surgeon seeks opportunities or empathy,” one message reads. “I feel stuck,” another confides. A third says simply, “I don’t want to be a doctor anymore!” The posts come in from across the globe, each generating its own thread of commiseration and advice. “I just wanted to reach out and let you know I feel your pain,” a doctor-turned-MBA replies to one surgeon. “Your story is so similar to ...

Read more...

I sometimes joke that hospitalists are the medicine version of the mullet haircut; you know, all business in “the front” (i.e., the patient care area) and all party in “the back” (i.e., the work room). In “the back,” the usual scenario is to complain and moan about our frequent flyers, our drug seekers, our many unsaveable patients, the incredible situations (“He put a nail where?"), with good-natured but somewhat bitter ...

Read more...

Most Popular