Flossie Marks used to complain now and then about shortness of breath on exertion. She never had chest pain and, after all, she carried firewood from the basement to feed the wood stoves and fireplaces in her large Victorian house. At 81, who wouldn’t be a little short of breath doing that? Last summer, she finally sold the house where she and Eli had raised four children and hosted nine grandchildren ...

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shutterstock_73822633 Perhaps doctors should be more like the president. After all, we also carry the ultimate responsibility for our constituents, even though we, too, have team members who do part of that work. The way I understand things to work at the White House, those other team members collect, review and prioritize the information the president needs in order to manage his, and all ...

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shutterstock_114332227 I am a foreign born, foreign trained doctor, serving many patients from an ethnic minority, whose native language I never mastered. So, perhaps I am in a position to reflect a little on the modern notion that health care is a standardized service, which can be equally well provided by anyone, from anywhere, with any kind of medical degree and postgraduate training. 1. ...

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It’s been thirty years since Dr. Pete shook my hand on graduation day and slapped my back, his gravelly voice mumbling a wisecrack that couldn’t quite hide his emotions. I was the first foreign medical school graduate in our small residency program and he had trusted me, just as I had trusted him, through three years of hard work and many challenges. Our residency program was only a few years old, and my ...

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I keep six honest serving-men (They taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When And How and Where and Who. - Rudyard Kipling Medicine has become a very complex, multifaceted science, ranging from pharmacogenetics to psychoneurobiology. Doctoring, however, is increasingly viewed as so simple that you don’t actually have to be a doctor to know how it should be done. What else could explain why IT people tell doctors what “workflows” ...

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shutterstock_177177977 A rash could be leukemia or idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. A sore throat could be glossopharyngeal neuralgia or a retropharyngeal abscess. A blocked ear could be Ramsay-Hunt syndrome, a self-limited serous otitis or sudden sensorineural hearing loss with an abysmal prognosis if not treated immediately with high doses of steroids. A headache or sinus pain could be cancer, and a cough could ...

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Andy was new to me. He told me he had seen several doctors over the past few years for various pains in his right arm. Some months ago, he had right shoulder pain that went away on its own, but for the past few weeks, he had pain in the middle of his upper arm. Last year he had tennis elbow and forearm pain for many months. A slender, middle aged man, ...

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Medical errors happen every day. Few make the headlines, but when they do, almost everyone who chimes in to comment offers the same type of solution for avoiding them. Three of the most common are guidelines, decision support and checklists. From my vantage point as a primary care physician I agree that checklists, in particular, can enhance clinical accuracy, but some of the lists I have to work with in today’s ...

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Team-based care is one of today’s buzzwords without real substance, because unless the payment systems change, only the physician members of the team can bill for their work. Few people seem to be concerned with the simple but essential question of how physicians spend their time and how medical offices are paid. As a primary care physician who doesn't do any major procedures, and who in 2014 is essentially paid fee ...

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shutterstock_184787189 Fran Barker called today. She was in a panic because the cost of her monthly prescription of 150 mg amitriptyline tablets had gone up to $130 from $13 the month before. Amitriptyline has been available in this country since 1961, and the 100 mg strength was on Walmart’s list of $4/month drugs the last time I looked at it a few months ...

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