Nurses are the backbone of our health system.  ZDoggMD pays tribute to how awesome they are.

When it comes to cancer, I'm neither physician nor patient, nor even a policy expert.  But being both a critical thinker and a feminist, I'm struck by what the juxtaposition of two seemingly unrelated new oncology studies, published in highly respected medical journals a month apart, can tell us about how gender shapes the way we perceive (or misperceive) illness, and the impact that has on patients' well-being. On April 14, ...

Read more...

Having been a nurse for over 18 years, I have endured a few Nurses Week. At first, I was lured into the charm of my first Nurses Week bag. I had finally arrived: My first official nurse's bag. I had arrived and for a full week, the folks at the hospital seemed to actually appreciate what we did for our patients. After a few mugs, key chains, beach towels and ...

Read more...

I was 13 years old when I first had thoughts related to suicide. While my thoughts never really included calculated ways of ending my life, I remember such a profoundly overwhelming desire to be anesthetized to all of my emotions and worries. In the medical field, that kind of thinking is classified under the label of “suicidal ideation,” which is often accompanied by other diagnoses of mental illness. I have ...

Read more...

If it’s time to establish your first practice or change to a new one, don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s no big deal where you go. The decision you’re about to make will positively or negatively impact the rest of your life. If you don’t choose right, the correction can be very expensive and take a high emotional toll. The cost attributed to one of my friend’s moves to ...

Read more...

Contributors on this site regularly recommend improved doctor-patient communication. Indeed, that's one reason I'm a devoted reader. But we need to articulate exactly what “communication” is. When I ask colleagues about that word, they usually define it as what they say to patients. I can't argue with that. Yes, we need to express ourselves clearly and simply. But communication includes much more. The occasional complaints I hear from patients about their care ...

Read more...

american society of anesthesiologistsA guest column by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, exclusive to KevinMD.com. “I said, ‘Somebody should do something about that.’  Then I realized I am somebody.” - Lily Tomlin Each day, family, work and extracurricular activities all compete for our attention. They are positive aspects of our lives but can be overwhelming at times.  When legislative or regulatory ...

Read more...

A response to "You signed up to be a doctor, not a martyr." Dear next patient, I appreciate your letter and your advice. I would sincerely like to follow all your advice concerning exercise, eating right, and spending more time with family. I try to make every effort to do so. Unfortunately, I am in the middle of transitioning for the third time to a new EMR system and managing quality ...

Read more...

You ask questions.  I answer them on Facebook Live.  Click on the video above for a replay. Send your questions @KevinMD on Twitter with the hashtag #AskKevinMD. Join my Facebook page get notified about future live chats.

I’m a physician, part of the enormous all-consuming machine called modern health care.  This machine is driven by value-based best practice and end results. Literal life and death decisions are required daily, so naturally I become impatient when my son can’t decide between chocolate and vanilla or which movie to watch. My cultivated Achilles' heel of impatience has a tendency to interfere with daily interactions or decisions because of the dreaded ...

Read more...

If the act of organ donation is among humanity’s greatest gifts, what can be said of living donors who undergo surgery to extend and improve the life of another? It’s truly a courageous and inspiring sacrifice. I was honored recently to be able to perform my first living-donor liver transplant. Jason Clark, 28, donated about 60 percent of his liver to his father, Lynn, 57, who had been sick for many ...

Read more...

Two weeks before my oldest cousin’s twenty-third birthday, he shot and killed himself. It scarred our family. The kind of jagged, gnarled scar, like a poorly-filled pothole, that -- even though it’s been nearly twenty years -- you still run your fingers across from time to time and feel the sting of a fresh wound. We weren’t all that close, but as a 14 year old, sorting through my own perceptions ...

Read more...

I've held many hands, been generous with my hugs, and tried to treat every patient as though they were my mother. I lost my mother to leukemia almost one decade ago. I know what it's like to feel defeated by the health care system, by health care providers, by medications, and by the human body's response to all of the above. A patient will never forget a health care provider that ...

Read more...

Talking to health care professionals about the importance of loving your patients and colleagues -- as I often do -- might raise eyebrows. How can we be expected to love our patients during a 15-minute clinic visit? How can love form among hospital teams coming together for a surgical procedure but then moving on to other work? Perhaps most importantly, how will this love make any difference in our patients' lives ...

Read more...

I recently had an enormous kidney stone. Well OK, it seemed enormous to me. But in terms of kidney stones, it was reasonably large; 9 mm, in fact. Large enough that I had to have lithotripsy (the use of sound waves to break up the stone) performed by my friend and most excellent urologist, Dr. Robert McAlpine in Seneca, SC. As uncomfortable as the whole experience was (and it wasn’t my ...

Read more...

Nothing brings out the mama lioness in me more than seeing one of my cubs not being treated as well as I think it should be. Recently I had the unusual experience of accompanying my oldest daughter into an unfamiliar hospital for a minor surgical procedure. Now, this daughter isn’t exactly a cub; she’s a full-fledged adult, with a master’s degree in health care administration, a husband, and two small boys of ...

Read more...

This is the first letter I’ve ever written to a political figure, and I pray that someone on your staff will bring this letter to your attention. I have been a physician for close to 30 years. I am a second-generation pediatrician struggling to keep an independent solo practice alive. Not one politician has addressed what I feel is the major threat to health care: the physician-patient relationship. Without this, ...

Read more...

Just three weeks earlier, she had noticed something strange about one of her breasts. An irregular shape. Her daughter brought her to the doctor, and soon the patient, I’ll call her Amanda, was diagnosed with breast cancer, stage “to be determined.” In fact, she was now in an oncologist’s office, learning what tests she would receive to determine the extent of her tumor. And sitting between her and the doctor ...

Read more...

Ran into a radiology colleague today.  He will retire soon, and was happy to discuss the stress on radiology.  I have observed more interpretation errors (or at least I think I have) over the past five years.  We now strongly stress that the learners review all films and question radiology reads. My friend opined that volume expectations have become unsustainable.  We order too many imaging studies.  When you ask physicians to ramp ...

Read more...

Dear future self, Remember that day on surgery you stepped into the OR for the first time? How you had no idea you were supposed to pull your own gloves for the scrub nurse from the supplies cabinet, or that you needed to stand an arm’s length away from the equipment table to avoid breaking sterility? Remember how scared you felt? How clumsy you were when you scrubbed in, in a ...

Read more...

Most Popular