As a doctor, I am guided by the code of medical ethics. The code is made of up of four principles: autonomy, justice, do good and do no harm. These principles guide me and my colleagues, including the fifteen doctors in Congress, as we care for others. In the debate over the fate of the Affordable Care Act, thirteen of the fifteen doctors in Congress have publicly stated that they ...

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As a gynecologist, I not only witness new love but have to regularly ask about it because it can impact my patient’s health. They may need birth control, STI screening and counseling, or pre-conceptual counseling. Then there is one of my favorite group of patients: those that are “older” and entering into new relationships either for the first time or following a divorce or loss of a spouse. The balance ...

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I burned out early. I was done being a doctor at the end of fellowship. Although I took a job as a critical care physician, I desperately sought to alter my career somehow. I looked into website development, something I had been good at in high school. I took a few refresher classes on my days off and started coding my own sites. Luckily, my first job out of fellowship accepted many ...

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One of the first things they teach in medical school is that if you haven’t pretty much figured out the diagnosis by the time the patient finishes sharing their history, your doctor hasn’t done his or her job well.  Certainly, this is a bit of an exaggeration, as many diseases cause similar symptoms. As you share your background, your doctor is creating a list of possibilities of the most likely conditions ...

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Having recently returned from a medical mission to the Syrian refugee camps in Jordan, I have become consumed with advocating for the rights of the children outside of our borders.  All the while the children I have spent the last five years caring for have been fighting for themselves in this changing political climate. As a pediatrician for an underserved immigrant population, I have seen first hand how a simple ...

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Long ago, before our hospital changed over to a nearly complete hospitalist model, the faculty at our internal medicine practice served as the attending of record for all of our own patients, as well as the patients of the residents we supervised, when those patients were admitted to the inpatient services across the street. When we would arrive in the morning, we would look at the admission list, note that one ...

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I've always wanted to be a pediatrician because I love kids; if you ask most people who work in pediatrics whether nurses or physicians they may say that. It's a very common response to the question "Why pediatrics?” Or how can you do pediatrics?" when students and physicians are asked. Yes, we love working with children for many reasons. Some love the unexpected unrehearsed things kids say; they will shock ...

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After eight years of practicing obstetrics and researching childbirth in the United States, I know as well as anyone that the American maternal health system could be better. Our way of childbirth is the costliest in the world. Our health outcomes, from mortality rates to birth weights, are far, far from the best. The Conversation The reasons we fall short are not ...

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“Why do you eat so healthy?” or “Where’s your kale today?” I would hear regularly. For as long as I can remember, my colleagues and friends have often smirked at my lunch choice. To me, I always ate what I enjoyed (even if it was the occasional french fry), and my diet and lifestyle were all about balance. Growing up, I played competitive soccer for 10 years and knew my performance ...

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Telemedicine is often in the news and until recently I had only casually glossed over the latest articles. The details I paid little attention to, but the headlines I would remember. “Great for rural areas” I would read! “Extend physician reach!” “Get specialists to greater numbers of patients with unique conditions!” As a nearly graduated anesthesia resident in a large city with an abundance of doctors, I didn't think telemedicine would have ...

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Many patients are referred to me as a psychiatrist to treat their depression.  The new patients that come to me for depressive symptoms usually expect that I will be recommending and prescribing an antidepressant for their depressive symptoms because that is what a psychiatrist does, right?  Not always. Often times these patients come to me having gone through several antidepressant trials without any successful resolution of their depressive symptoms.  Well, sometimes ...

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STAT_Logo The publication of Andrew Wakefield’s notorious and now discredited research on autism and vaccines in 1998 triggered a surge of worry about vaccine safety. Since then, questions about a purported connection between autism and vaccines have been asked and definitively answered: There is no link. But there are other factors linked to the development of autism that have ...

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The current American climate seems to champion those outside the establishment and eschew the experience of career professionals. Medicine, like politics, has not been immune to the rise of populism. There exists a growing distrust of traditional medical institutions and a movement to concede medical expertise to the public, particularly evidenced by the development of platforms that crowdsource diagnosis. While online medical crowdsourcing is trendy and has received nearly universal ...

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When Donna Helen Crisp, a 59-year-old nursing professor, entered a North Carolina teaching hospital for a routine hysterectomy in 2007, she expected to come home the next day. Instead, Crisp spent weeks in a coma and underwent five surgeries to correct a near-fatal cascade of medical errors that left her with permanent injuries. Desperate for an explanation, Crisp, who is also a lawyer, said she repeatedly encountered a white wall of ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 28-year-old man is evaluated in follow-up for elevated liver chemistry test results, which were performed to assess a 3-month history of fatigue. He has no history of liver disease and has not had abdominal pain or fever. His medical history is significant for a 3-year history of diarrhea. Following a ...

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One night in 1997, as Americans watched Touched by an Angel they were touched by something else unexpected: an ad for a prescription allergy pill called Claritin, sold directly to patients. Prescription drugs had never been sold directly to the public before -- a marketing tactic called direct-to-consumer or DTC advertising. How could average people, who certainly had not been to medical school, know if the medication was appropriate or safe ...

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I met a man recently who had wandered about life dragging the rotting corpse of his arm barely attached to the rest of his body for over a year. His limb carried such a pungent malodor he stopped eating months ago because the noxious stench of his own dripping pus made him perpetually nauseous. A former handyman, he had jimmied up a poor-man’s sling with a tattered Hanes undershirt. It too ...

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There was a lot about that place I didn't want to see or hear. The buzzing and whirring of ventilators; the loud call bells; near-dead patients; nurses running around with IV pumps and tubes dangling along behind them; the heart-stopping "Code Blue" warning; or the electrical sizzle of a patient getting shocked as someone screams, "All clear!" I didn't want to do it. Just a few days before, I had buried my mom. First ...

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The scene at the resident teaching session was all too familiar: Awkward silence with either blank stares or brows furrowed in deep valleys of confusion. As I scanned the room, I recognized the moment many lecturers experience: I had completely lost my audience. And, whatever I had planned for the next 10 minutes, would now be spent “taking a step back.” We weren’t talking about a crazy exam finding or ...

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Recently, I wrote a letter to hospital executives, urging them to deliberately invest their own personal time and effort in fostering hospitalist well-being. I suggested several actions that leaders can take to enhance hospitalist job satisfaction and reduce the risk of burnout and turnover. Following the publication of that post, I heard from several hospital executives and was pleasantly surprised that they all responded positively to my ...

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