shutterstock_195401897 Have you ever tied your shoes and found that the bow unraveled and you almost tripped over your own laces?  Learning to tie your shoes is a life skills task that you learned as a toddler unless you were trained on Velcro straps!  You performed the task of tying your shoes nearly every day of your life believing that you were ...

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shutterstock_83139061 A few weeks ago Bill Maher made a number of critical remarks about medicine and physicians. I sent Mr. Maher the following response in an effort to address his comments. I am sharing this with you in hopes that other physicians will also speak out in defense of our profession. Dear Mr. Maher, Let me start by saying that I have been a ...

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In medical school, I was taught to keep my distance. To remember that the patient is the one with the disease. I was told to protect my heart, to be a little cynical, a little deprecatory, to keep a separation between me and the patient. Because they can hurt you. For 18 years, I met people on what was arguably the worst day of their lives. You have cancer. You have ...

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shutterstock_227904523 This morning, a friend of mine posted an article on Facebook that was titled, “Dear anti-vax parents, we’re not mad at you. Sincerely, your doctor.” She had captioned it, “Maybe when all the vitriol and anger and judgment dies down, maybe we can start having conversations like this, instead.” The funny thing is that I had posted the exact same ...

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Just because it’s simple doesn’t make it easy. Take a look at habits. Do you floss? We all know the advantages, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to do it. Yet only 28 percent of people say they floss regularly. How about covering your mouth when you cough? Again, it’s not difficult, but we all know people who fail to grasp the concept. Unfortunately, the same is true for hand-washing. ...

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Recently, the American College of Surgeons -- our profession's premier organization encompassing all surgical sub-specialties -- launched its updated website. Included in this website are online communities where surgeons from around the country and even further away, can connect. In my interpretation of these communities, surgeons can connect over shared subspecialty topics (e.g., colorectal surgery, general surgery, orthopedic surgery), shared clinical interests (e.g., ethics, geriatric surgery, surgical safety), or shared circumstances (e.g., surgeons practicing ...

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shutterstock_232948273 I’m late! I’m late! For a very important date! No time to say hello, goodbye! I’m late! I’m late! I’m late! - The White Rabbit, Disney’s Alice in Wonderland It is in the very words, "running late." It is not walking late, or strolling late, or even meandering late. It is always running late, the phrase itself active, implying urgency and speed, rush and anxiety. The distress, just like the White Rabbit. The ...

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Loss is something all humans face in their everyday lives.  As a physician, the effects are often magnified.  People die, they move away, they graduate from your services, or occasionally they pursue care elsewhere.  Parting can sometimes bring relief, and others a deep sense of failure.  But with Clara, I'm not sure we actually parted.  Mostly, I was left with confusion. Clara came to me by way of the nursing home.  ...

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shutterstock_94087123 I awoke one Saturday morning to a terribly familiar feeling -- a tight, barky cough, fast breathing, severe shortness of breath and burning in my chest. Another severe asthma attack. I knew I was in trouble. Twenty-three years ago, when I was an internal medicine resident, I went to be evaluated for recurrent pneumonia. I wound up being diagnosed with cough variant ...

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Abuse-Schedule-476x640 A physician in Texas posts this photo on Facebook. Caption: “My schedule one morning in January 2014. Never again ...” Yay! Another physician breaks free from assembly-line medicine. High-overhead, high-volume offices sacrifice the sacred physicians-patient relationship and perpetuate a disease-billing management system. This is not health care. It’s abuse. Patients: Avoid clinics with 10-minute slots. Go for docs who offer 30 to 60-minute appointments. Physicians: ...

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