The call came in the middle of a busy office day; the radiologist had found a suspicious area on the mammogram. I had received similar calls many times in my primary care practice. This time was different; the patient was me. My first thought "thank God I’m insured." My second thought was for all those who are not. It was hard enough waiting the week, until further testing could be performed; ...

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The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is in the process of being rolled out, however many questions remain. Will it guarantee universal coverage? Will it stand up to the many court challenges? The private insurance industry will receive an estimated 400 billion in taxpayer money to subsidize the purchase of these plans. Is this the best way to spend our money? Many of us in the health field remain skeptical ...

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During the election season, the biggest loser appears to be civility. Anger, attack ads and name calling ruled the day. We are faced with enormous and complex challenges, issues not easily addressed in sound bites. Yet that is what we usually get from our representatives. I find myself asking are we not willing or able to do the hard work of examining the issues before us? During the ongoing discussions over ...

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I was enjoying lunch at a local café when I overheard one staffer say to another that she was facing her twenty fifth birthday soon. She went on to say, 25 is the last "real" birthday, after that "you're just getting old". I had to laugh, since I'm well past that age and holding up. Sure, there are some wrinkles and gray hair to contend with, that's life. I remember my ...

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Back to school for many children means returning to the environment in which they are bullied. Bullying is a form of abuse, defined as recurrent episodes of physical or psychological intimidation. It can take the form of taunting, name calling, threatening, stealing and physical assault. Other forms of bullying include the spreading of malicious rumors or gossip and the intentional exclusion of a child. The result is a victim who becomes ...

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At a recent staff meeting, a colleague mentioned her client was at an "awkward age". I thought she was referring to a teenager, but she quickly clarified herself. She was referring to the age before someone is old enough for Medicare at sixty five, an awkward time indeed.  Many people between the ages of fifty to sixty four find that relatively minor health problems make health insurance unaffordable. For those with ...

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I recently finished reading In Their Own Words: 12,000 Physicians Reveal their Thoughts on Medical Practice in America. It is a summary of a 2008 survey from the Physicians Foundation. I vaguely remember filling out this survey. I was interested to see what my colleagues had to say. Many physicians describe themselves as at the breaking point. "I am so mired in this mess that I can't see clearly enough to give ...

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I often find, when I talk with patients and families about hospice care, there is a palpable sense of relief; relief that there is another option when facing a terminal diagnosis or end stage disease process. Families who have participated in caring for their loved one at the end of life are grateful for the guidance provided in hospice care. Patients in turn are grateful to spend their last days at ...

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As the oil continues to pour into the gulf from the BP oil rig, we are witnessing not only an environmental disaster but a potential health crisis too. It is not just the water that has been impacted the crude can become airborne in tiny particles and carried inland with the breeze. Those working to clean up are particularly at risk, as are pregnant women and people with underlying respiratory illness. Locals ...

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I recently received a bulletin from one of the medical societies to which I belong: the topic was on promoting physician wellness. My first reaction, “It’s about time “. Historically physicians have struggled with multiple health impacts from the demands of their work, with higher rates of depression, anxiety and suicide than in the general population. Physicians train under circumstances of extreme stress often resulting in unhealthy coping strategies; strategies frequently ...

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