In the not-to-distant past, American health care was the gold standard. It offered job satisfaction and autonomy, was financially rewarding and was considered by many to be the most honorable profession. But as we all know, over the last two decades, increasing health care costs and demands and increasing competition for insurance contracts have changed the face of medicine. Metrics ranging from quality and safety (which are needed and were ...

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“Do you have sex with men, women or both?” This is the way that we were taught in medical school to ask a patient about their sexual history.  When we took our sample standardized patient exams, we were scored whether or not we asked this question.  In my understanding, this was supposed to be a non-judgmental, non-assuming way to elicit a sexual history. However, romantic partners generally come before sex (unless we ...

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“Can you make Moana sing,” my four-year-old daughter begs as she widens her dark brown eyes. (My husband insists those are my eyes.) Apparently, the Disney toy was involved in an accident. A button on the wrist that makes the doll loudly blurt out “See the line where the sky meets the sea!” has become separated from her plastic body. Pink wires stick out instead of forearm bones. I’m a doctor. ...

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If I have to hear, "There is always a third victim in these situations, don't forget to take care of yourself," one more time, I may go crazy. I wish people would be cognizant of the language they use. According to the dictionary, a victim is, "a person who suffers from a destructive or injurious action or agency." Don't call me a victim. I go home afterwards, completely broken by what just ...

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I was very saddened to learn this past week of another physician who died by suicide.  This, the untimely death of a young and brilliant mother of two, is a horrifying tragedy. I do not write this to pretend I know anything about this recent tragedy.  I write this as a sort of case report on myself.  I was an at risk physician at one point. I’ll start where the problems most ...

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G1P0 or Gravida 1, Para 0. Well, turns out that’s me. It’s very common in the medical field to use this phrase to describe women who have been pregnant but do not have any living children. This could have been due to miscarriage or worse yet, intrauterine fetal demise at later staged pregnancies. Or it could be due to an elective termination. For me, it was the latter. I had never ...

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I have been a member of a social network for physicians since 2008 or 2009. It’s a network that bills itself as a “virtual doctors’ lounge” and “voice of physicians.”  I joined because I thought it would be a great place to continue to interact with my peers, after I’d left the collegiality of medical school and residency behind for private practice. I’m not sure what subset of physicians participates, but ...

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I burned out, big and bad.  I can see that now.  My practice environment had become gradually untenable and every attempt I made to change it was blocked.  My call schedule was inflexible and a lot more frequent than when I started my job.  The hospitalists and ED kept sending me cases I didn’t feel qualified to manage, but as it was usually the middle of the night and I ...

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For those who are not avid followers of President Trump or his decisions, often his decisions have far-reaching consequences that affect lives and people.  As a health care provider, I understand quick decision making, but also the importance of risk versus benefit and consequences of your decisions.  I would like to tell you my story and how his actions have affected my life, the lives of my patients and their ...

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So let’s step outside our traditional arguments when discussing the health care problem of gun violence in this country. We all know the entrenched opinions of both sides: The second amendment is inviolable vs. there are over 30,000 deaths from guns per year in this country, and why on earth does anyone need an assault weapon? But the city with the strictest gun laws, Chicago, has the most gun deaths, ...

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