shutterstock_85514146 So, there I was yesterday, working frantically to keep myself above the water level of the rapidly rising swamp of patients.  Navigating, haltingly, the onerous and demonic EMR.  So I thought I ordered three nebulizers, but it was only one.  The respiratory tech approached me and informed me that she would put them in, but only this time. That I’d have to ...

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shutterstock_170828528 I met my newly admitted patient in the quiet of his private room. He was frail, elderly, and coughing up gobs of green phlegm. His nasal cannula had stepped its way across his cheek during his paroxsysms and was pointed at his right eye. Although the room was uncomfortably warm, he was shivering and asking for more blankets. I could hear his ...

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shutterstock_227832379 I am one of many people today "living" with cancer. I want to focus on the impact cancer has on my personal finances, and this is probably true for any chronic illness, not just cancer. First, you often have to give up your job. While undergoing chemo, most of us don't have the energy for a full time job. And if you do ...

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Would a single-payer national health program, at the end of the day, truly be sleeker and slimmer than our bloated and fragmented semi-private system?  Not according to Dr. Michel Accad, who takes on this important single-payer talking point in his post: “Will single-payer really reduce administrative waste?” Given that savings from reduced expenditures on billing and overhead are a core argument that single-payer advocates (myself among them) employ to advance ...

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shutterstock_96934004 It was only afterwords that I wondered if I had been condescending.  The words had come out so naturally.  We were sitting across from each other in the nursing home.  It didn't take a doctor to recognize that his leg was visibly less swollen.  I had seen him walking down the hallway with the physical therapist.  His face a mix of pain, ...

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Norman cried the night his daughter was born. For hours and hours. Each time he looked at her perfect head, touched the few strands of blond hair, held her in his arms, soft, smooth skin, soapy smell, pale blue eyes, tears poured down his cheeks. He felt alive. He felt alone. They named her Matilda, after his father. It was the right thing to do, because his father, Matthew, had ...

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shutterstock_253710055 Individuality matters to doctors. In the past, being a doctor brought with it an image. A selfless individual revered by his community and compensated well but fairly. The community had high expectations of him, and he could deliver because there wasn't much to know. In those days, being a doctor was an entire lifestyle, and it drew extremely talented individuals to fill the ...

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shutterstock_270431723 Every law, like every drug, has its intended effects and its side effects. EMTALA is a law you perhaps couldn’t care less about, but one that’s kept many a hospital manager awake at night. I’m not a lawyer, politician or administrator and can’t claim expertise on EMTALA subtleties. But I thought I’d touch a couple ways it has shaped our medical lives. The ...

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shutterstock_74932492 For all the talk about patient-centered care and a new health care paradigm -- which is, of course, the right way forward -- the doctor-patient relationship will always remain relatively one-sided because of the nature of the profession itself. Essentially, patients come to doctors for help, and the knowledge transfer, advice, and guidance flows in one main direction. But that doesn’t mean that ...

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shutterstock_84235930 We live in a time of great cynicism and skepticism. We seem to see only the mundane and boring in even the most interesting and spectacular things.  The electrical rhythm of the heart that pulses through cardiac tissue and results in a coordinated muscle contraction that effectively ejects blood to the rest of the body for appropriate oxygen delivery is just … a ...

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IBM_Watson Arthur C. Clark and Stanley Kubrick predicted supercomputers more intelligent than humans.  In 2001: A Space Odyssey, HAL states, with typical human immodesty, “The 9000 series is the most reliable computer ever made … We are all, by any practical definition of the words, foolproof and incapable of error.” Forty years later, IBM’s Watson pummeled humans in Jeopardy - a distinctly human ...

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shutterstock_108796946 My young patient was dying as a blood clot under the cover of her brain accumulated and began compressing the fragile tissue within her skull. She needed surgery to remove the clot that would save her life. As the team pushed her from CT scanner to the operating room, it was soon realized labs were missing and were needed before opening her ...

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INSIDE-OUT-8-1940x1092 This summer's Disney-Pixar movie Inside Out makes us think about our thinking. But, I wonder, first of all, "Can we even think about our thoughts?" In fact, over the summer with campers at Lausanne Collegiate School, beginning with junior kindergarten to grade 7, I was teaching them how to observe their thoughts: a course in mindfulness and meditation for children. We begin by sitting ...

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shutterstock_138982304 I got a call from a patient who had a family member sick and in the ICU.  She wondered if I could come over "to offer support."  Even though the family member wasn't a patient, I thought it would be good to go. The ICU brought on flashbacks to my residency years, in which I spent a lot of time in the ICU. ...

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shutterstock_167665019 I found out my mother was dying via text message: YOUR MOM HAS A BRAIN TUMOR IN HOSPITAL -- DAD When the neurosurgery PA wheeled the computer into the exam room to show us the MRI the next morning, I found myself silently uttering an unanswered prayer that the mass would be small, resectable, peripheral. It wasn’t. “Oh my God,” Mom whispered. “I’m going to ...

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Charcoal_untitled -page-001 Blackness covers the paper in its entirety. Hunched over, charcoal stained fingertips splayed out in front of me, I exhale and my saturated breath evokes miniature tornadoes. The fragrance of warm charcoal engulfs my olfactory bulb and my temporal lobe explodes with images of the past. I am transported back to scraped shins guarded by starched, white ruffled socks. My fingertips ...

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Cute.  From Buzzfeed.

shutterstock_177194132 I’m not actually on TV, but there are days I feel like I’ve accidentally stumbled onto the set of a sitcom. When neighbors have never seen your husband in the light of day and friends joke that he is make-believe, then you might be married to a … well, you know the joke. Being married to a busy physician can leave you playing ...

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shutterstock_99170549 In a field filled with history, data, and very smart people, it can be difficult to do anything with confidence. And yet, this is one of the most desirable traits a doctor can have, that and a light hand when it comes to handing out narcotics. However, I have never been a fan of over-confidence. I feel that if you are going ...

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Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is becoming a significant problem in women’s health. Between 1 in 10 to 20 women have the condition, although more than 50 percent remain undiagnosed. PCOS is the leading cause of female infertility and women who do become pregnant have higher rates of miscarriage, preterm birth, and gestational diabetes. Women with PCOS have a greater likelihood of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and endometrial cancer than women without ...

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