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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shutterstock_114520012 In the late 19th century, Dr. William Halsted, a pioneer of modern surgical techniques, performed ultra-radical mastectomies for women with breast cancer. The procedure, soon named after him, involved the surgeon removing not only the breast itself but also surrounding musculature and the associated lymphatic system. Halsted believed, and taught generations of medical students, that the more radical the procedure, the higher the ...

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shutterstock_239583778 The woman lying on the transport cot in the examination room was terrified. I could see it plainly in her eyes, but there was no time to stop and comfort her. I was a young, recently graduated nurse in a busy urban emergency room, struggling to keep up with its daily array of shootings, stabbings and crises. ER nurses hustled. We dealt with ...

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"Sometimes a simple, almost insignificant gesture on the part of a teacher can have a profound formative effect on the life of a student." - Paulo Freire Think back to a moment when a teacher or “authority” figure gave you a compliment. We all have them, from kindergarten to high school to college and sometimes graduate school and work. The reason why many of you can recall such moments is that unlike ...

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shutterstock_52832917 Daytime TV advertising is dominated by two players. Pharmaceutical companies with direct to consumer pitches and the so-called "toxic tort." How confusing it must be to the average person to see a new drug pushed by one commercial, to be immediately followed by another commercial from a lawyer trying to sue for the known side effects of the exact same drug. It ...

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shutterstock_173882891 Patients are entitled to receive medical advice 24 hours a day. If you call your doctor at 3 a.m., you will reach a physician who will advise you. Of course, it may not be your own personal physician as this individual cannot be expected to be available 365 days a year until he retires. Physicians partner with colleagues who share on-call responsibility ...

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shutterstock_224970232 I have worked in a lot of hospitals over the past two years. Quite a few of the facilities have been critical access hospitals, which is to say that they are very small, typically having fewer than 25 inpatient beds, and are usually somewhere in the boonies. A number of characteristics allow a hospital to qualify as critical access and receive additional ...

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