As a mother of three daughters, I frequently find myself singing along to the catchy tunes of Taylor Swift.  Singer, songwriter, and overall superstar Taylor Swift is famous for penning undeniably captivating love songs. She is popular not only because she has the voice of an angel, a cutting edge look, and a fierce attitude, but also because she is honest and real. Taylor has an uncanny ability to put ...

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In honor of Black History Month, the folks at Diverse Medicine created a new documentary series, Black Men in White Coats.  In this installment, we meet Dr. Brian Williams, a trauma surgeon at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Last May, I reflected on my path from medical school to starting a health tech company in San Francisco. In an environment which fetishizes the “dropout founder,” I always met perplexment when I said I planned on returning to medical school. Now that graduation day is around the corner, I thought I’d shed light on my choice for clinical practice and what I learned on the other side. Medical ...

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I was a bit nervous as I had never done this before.  I wasn’t even sure what I was going to do once I saw him.  The only certainty in my mind at that time was that this was not the Norman Rockwell image of the physician-patient encounter that I proudly displayed in my office.  He was my age, 40 years old, living on Nantucket with his wife and two ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 61-year-old man is evaluated for a 10-month history of generalized weakness. He reports no pain or myalgia. History is significant for hypercholesterolemia treated with a stable dose of simvastatin for the past 3 years. On physical examination, temperature is normal, blood pressure is 138/74 mm Hg, pulse rate is 70/min, and respiration ...

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“Liver Transplant Surgeon Addicted to Alcohol” -- reads like a headline from a tabloid paper selling sensationalism. How could it be? How could a liver transplant surgeon, someone who sees up close and personal the devastating effects of alcohol on the body, be addicted to alcohol? Surely the diseased, fibrosed, hard, shrunken cirrhotic livers with dilated and engorged veins that can rupture and bleed catastrophically; the yellow eyes and skin of the ...

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Today is a remarkable day for me. I’m officially leaving private practice after almost 18 years, to return to academic medicine with a faculty position in a highly regarded California department of anesthesiology. Why would I do that? There are many positive reasons. I believe in the teaching mission of academic medicine:  to train the anesthesiologists of the future, and the scientists who will advance medical care. I enjoy teaching. The years ...

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In 2012, celebrated surgeon-cum-writer Atul Gawande penned an incisive essay for the New Yorker entitled “Big Med.” Deliberately provocative, yet disarmingly reasoned, it suggests that American health care should borrow management practices from the Cheesecake Factory. To set the stage, Gawande paints an unflattering picture of the status quo: medical costs are too high, quality is not reliable, service is often poor, and physicians differ widely in their approaches and outcomes ...

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An excerpt from Beyond Embarrassment, reclaiming your life with neurogenic bladder and bowel. Conceivably one of the areas of life most affected by neurogenic bladder is sexual intimacy. When I was first diagnosed, I was afraid to have sex. Because I was new to using a catheter, I was sore ...

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Burnout, burnout, burnout.  It seems like that is all anyone wants to talk about these days.  And I admit, some days, I can get burnt out on burnout.  But, all the attention on the subject got me thinking.  Did burnout not exist 30 years ago? Why is this such a hot topic now? And that is what brings me to this post; I came to the realization that burnout very much existed ...

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Many of us who suffer from chronic pain and illness are on medications that carry side effects that, in some cases, can be as difficult to cope with as our initial health problems. I’ve recently started a medication that I’m scheduled to be on for five years. I’m taking it because it significantly reduces the risk of a recurrence of my recent bout with breast cancer. And so, yes, I’m taking ...

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Foria wants you to know they are selling vaginal suppositories of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol) called Fiora Relief for menstrual cramps. Each suppository contains 60 mg of THC and 10 mg of CBD. Foria claims they can treat the pain of menstrual cramps and endometriosis. Is this possible? THC and cannabidiol (CBD) are compounds found in marijuana. The psychoactive (i.e., high) from marijuana is believed to be due to the ...

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In a few weeks, thousands of medical students find out where they have matched for residency. I still remember the excitement and anxiety of peeling back that envelope and hoping I would see my top choice. My medical school had a tradition of putting each 4th year’s name in an old doctor’s bag. One by one, our dean would pull out a name, the student would contribute $1 to the ...

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When I started my first internship, back in Sweden in 1979, I worked under a fifty-something cardiologist who spoke slowly with a southern drawl -- yes, there is a southern drawl there, too, slightly reminiscent of Danish, spoken not far from where my supervisor grew up. He epitomized the old school of cardiology, before it became a procedural specialty. He diagnosed heart murmurs by auscultation with his stethoscope, and he even ...

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Quick: Which U.S. state has the highest rate of unintended pregnancy? I’ll reveal below, but I learned the answer and several other surprising facts in an interview with Mark Edwards, the co-founder of Upstream USA, a non-profit advocacy organization that provides technical assistance to health enterprises (medical practices, clinics, public health departments) in the use of long-acting, reversible contraceptives (known in the trade as LARC). LARC consists of two options: ...

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ZDoggMD's latest parody: In Da Lab. Show some love to your lab techs! Where would clinicians be without them?

I felt like the stack of charts rose past my head and all the way to the ceiling.  I pulled out my pen, opened the first, and started charting.  I took a moment before each note to collect my thoughts.  The patients were complex, the problems sometimes insurmountable.  The nursing station at the facility was buzzing with activity around me.  Phones were ringing, alarms were crying for attention. On the desk ...

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Many hospitals around the nation have been stung by dreadful physician engagement scores. Engagement is a problem not only for demoralized physicians, but for health care organizations, their employees, and everyone they serve. They should take note, because low levels of engagement are associated with higher physician turnover, increased error rates, poorer rates of patient cooperation in treatment, and lower levels of patient satisfaction. Definitions of engagement vary, but it generally ...

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Orthopedic surgeon Thomas Guastavino often alludes to his "rules of medicine" in the comments.  Here they are in their entirety. Efficacy, safety, and cost are of chief concern. If two treatments are of equal efficacy, choose the safer. If of equal efficacy and safety, choose the cheaper. Cost never trumps efficacy or safety. If you want the fastest, most efficient and cost-effective care, go to the physician with the most experience in dealing ...

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It’s been six years since I graduated from internal medicine residency. Enough time to give me some perspective, but short enough to still remember the highs and lows vividly. I recently had the opportunity to talk with a bright and energetic group of medical students. (Really, though, is there any other kind?) The conversation turned to any advice that I had or maybe I felt obligated to give some as part ...

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