shutterstock_175968083 I care for a 65-year-old woman suffering from sarcoidosis affecting her lungs, her skin, her bones, her nerves, her blood chemistries, her kidneys, her colon and her mind. She has gone from an active spouse, mother, grandmother, tearing up the dance floors with her husband, to a home recluse calling friends to drive her to medical and care appointments while ambulating with ...

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Patients want to receive health care that is of the highest quality. Physicians want to provide it. But what is “high-quality health care?” On that, few agree. Ask most Americans and they’re unsure where to find it. They know they want to be kept healthy, have rapid access to personalized care whenever they need it and be charged only what they can afford. Ask the leaders of the national medical and surgical ...

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While sitting in the study lounge of my med school, I had on my computer screen one of our three slides on anencephaly. I was trying to memorize the two key phrases framing the graphic photograph of a stillborn baby with bulging eyes and a cratered head -- “anterior neural tube defect,” and “elevated alpha-fetoprotein.” A third year walked past me and sneaked a glance at my screen. Without faltering ...

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“Hi, it’s Dr. Smith, are you taking consults today?” the voice on the other side of my short-range hospital phone said.  I recognized the caller's name as one of the new hospital doctors, known as hospitalists. “Of course,” I said, “What have you got?” I guess some groups have a specific doctor for the day “take” the consults.  If I am in the hospital, I am always taking consults. “Great,” the hospitalist ...

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“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” - Albert Einstein “Miracles happen every day; change your perception of what a miracle is, and you’ll see them all around you.” — Jon Bon Jovi “The miracle is this: The more we share, the more we have.” — Leonard Nimoy It is amazing when things in medicine work just the way ...

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There were several news stories recently that reported that Pfizer had abandoned its efforts to have its Lipitor brand of atorvastatin made available over the counter (OTC), without a prescription. I was never a big fan of OTC statins, but I was struck by the reason that Pfizer put out:

The study did not meet its primary objectives of demonstrating patient compliance with the direction to check their low-density lipoprotein cholesterol ...

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shutterstock_125105294 As a plastic surgeon, I am interested in how people look. Whether I am piecing together a fractured face or reconstructing a cancer-scarred breast, I am focused on appearance, symmetry, contour, and lines. I am always thinking about how our bodies are the physical manifestations of who we are. What I am never thinking about is how that sentiment applies to me. An intern ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 78-year-old woman is evaluated for a rapidly enlarging neck mass that has been present for 4 weeks and is associated with neck discomfort, dysphagia, and hoarseness. The patient has had Hashimoto thyroiditis and hypothyroidism since age 24 years and has been taking levothyroxine since that time. Physical examination reveals an older woman ...

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shutterstock_240724267 Like so many other medical professionals, I felt voiceless in the face of a gargantuan health care non-system built to do things to people, rather than for people. But after a decade of hospital practice, my “cry for help” looked slightly different than the typical midlife crisis: It involved the creation of a somewhat ridiculous blue-scrubbed rapping doctor alter ego. “ZDoggMD” could ...

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shutterstock_166859618 Every few news cycles placenta-eating seems to make the rounds. I’ve already seen it a couple of times this year, so I figured the Internet is trying to tell me something. Some women, but mostly those who recommend and/or prepare placenta for them, think that ingesting placenta can cure/help postpartum depression and possibly a host of other postpartum ills and issues. Some ...

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How-to-be-a-happy-doctor-640x424 I was a physician employee, many times for many hospitals and clinics. I’d stay a year or two, but eventually I’d quit. Then, in 2005, I opened an ideal clinic designed by my patients. Ten years later, I still love private practice. Why? I’m finally practicing medicine the way I had always imagined. When I decided to open a private practice, I was ...

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shutterstock_261978071 Dr. Melos is a gastroenterologist in solo practice in a medium-sized Midwestern city.  One day she hears a knock on her door. When she answers, she finds two representatives of Athenian Health System, who request a few minutes of her time.  She invites them to take a seat in her office. After exchanging pleasantries, the visitors get down to business. They extend Dr. Melos an ...

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shutterstock_231494431 "Doctor, the patient is complaining," said my secretary in a hush-hush voice. “She has been waiting for 30 minutes.” “She” had an appointment for later in the afternoon but phoned our office about 2 hours before the scheduled time, and requested to come earlier. No emergency. No acute complaints. We always try to accommodate, and pushed to “squeeze” her in. The earlier time, ...

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shutterstock_193510067 "Publish or perish" has been the mantra of academic medicine for as long as can be recalled as the reputations of professors, physicians, and academic centers have hinged on contributions to peer-reviewed literature for years.  Yet today’s information era is dominated by the rapid development of social media and online interactions, which have also resulted in some major advancements to print media ...

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shutterstock_193958318 Like two ships passing in the night, we sidled up to each other at the nursing station on the hospital telemetry ward.  I had already been home, ate with the kids, and returned, while he hadn't left floors all day.  We typed away at our computer stations, and chatted from time to time. After we exchanged common pleasantries, we jumped into local politics. ...

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shutterstock_196597025 He’s loud, brash and audacious. He’s been a celebrity for decades, a well-known businessman and reality TV star. And anyone who is even remotely following the news at the moment knows he’s also dominating headlines with his presidential run. I’m going to pause here to say that I’m not going to get into the politics of anything he has said -- no ...

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As a medical student having completed my undergraduate major in the humanities, I often receive the question, "Why did you choose to do that?" The underlying thought behind asking why I would choose a major in the humanities while holding the intention to later attend medical school is that medicine is especially distinct from the humanities (and specifically African-American studies in my case). The sciences are just a whole other ...

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shutterstock_161298866 "The chief difficulty Alice found at first was in managing her flamingo: She succeeded in getting its body tucked away, comfortably enough, under her arm, with its legs hanging down, but generally, just as she had got its neck nicely straightened out, and was going to give the hedgehog a blow with its head, it would twist itself round and look up ...

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The health information technology (HIT) world has been hit by a watershed event like no other. The Department of Defense (DoD), widely respected for its indiscriminate generosity to contractors, has awarded the most coveted prize in recent HIT memory: the Defense Healthcare Management Systems Modernization (DHMSM) contract. And the winner is ... Leidos, the contractor formerly known as SAIC. A couple of years ago, when the race for ...

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shutterstock_260155397 As a physician journalist I find myself in a very fortunate and quite unique position: I am able to reach vast numbers of Americans on a daily basis and provide them with credible (and hopefully impactful) news on health and wellness. Medical journalism is similar to the practice of medicine in that we must put the patient first. Just as physicians provide patients ...

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