I was a work today and I was given this message, “ —–'s husband called and wants you to call back right away!  He sounded very upset.  His wife died.” Uh oh, I thought to myself, this is never good.  It was a patient I remembered well, that I had seen repeatedly for a chronic problem, and who always came with her husband.  We seemed to get along well.  I didn’t ...

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I can’t tell you that the “patient satisfaction obsession” is suddenly going to focus on patient health over profits and start being applied fairly to doctors and nurses. I can’t tell you that someday politicians, administrators and insurance companies will wake up and see things the way you and I do. I can’t tell you that someday, all the demands for inappropriate medications, tests and treatments will end. I can’t tell you that ...

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All patients should be treated with professionalism and respect.  We all want our patients leaving our care happy, healthy and satisfied, if at all possible.  However, sometimes patients don’t leave an emergency department very happy or satisfied.  Sometimes the doctor could have prevented it, but many if not most times, such dissatisfaction has little if anything to do with what the treating physician did, or didn’t, do. The reasons for a ...

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I open my car door to walk in to work. I’ve never heard crickets as loud as the ones this summer in Georgia. A wall of steam-heat blasts me simultaneously as a giant bzzz! bzzz! dive-bombs my ear. Man, it’s hot in Georgia. And the bugs! I think to myself. I walk slowly towards the ED doors, barely moving, but still breaking a sweat. I walk through the double doors now ...

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Don’t ask me nothin’ about nothin’, I just might tell you the truth.  – Bob Dylan I just read an interesting post by Dr. Jennifer Gunter. Apparently, the entirety of what we are doing here at Dr. Whitecoat, and on internet communities and blogs like Student Doctor Network and Sermo, is unethical, according to the General Medical Council in Britain. How dare we not use our real names on social media as physicians and physicians-in-training? According to ...

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My shift is over and I’m ready to head out the emergency department door.  When I walked in 12 hours ago, the department had 20 waiting patients.  I look up at the monitor and after 12 hours of trying to wrestle the department under control, not only is it not under control, now we’re 25 patients deep in the weeds.  My partner Dr. Jim looks at me and says, “Get ...

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Off I go to work a few shifts at a desperately understaffed rural hospital in a state far away.  The rental car GPS leads me to the ED address and it’s not there.  All that is there is what looks like a small supermarket with a funeral home next door.  I see a security guard in the parking lot.  He has a lump in his cheek and a badge that says “Sam.”  ...

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My kid and I are outside in the front yard blowing bubbles, enjoying the blue skies and 70 degree weather when she says, “Cool Daddy! Look, there’s a police car coming down the street. Oh, cool! I think he’s coming to see us!” Uh, oh, I think to myself. Despite my kid’s excitement, I know that rarely does anything good come delivered by a policeman. My wife is inside, my one ...

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The baby had a seizure: Why was the mother smiling? My first night shift in a stretch of 7 was almost over.  It was 6:15am and I had to keep moving otherwise the minute I would stop, my eyelids would drop like two ton shades and I’d fall asleep.  That never makes for a good drive home after a night shift. “Got time to see one more?” asked Jenny the nurse. “Do I have ...

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Since the massacre of innocent school children and those that gave their lives educating and trying to protect them this past Friday at Newtown Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School, I've struggled to make sense of this calamity as much as much as anyone. As a physician who has worked to save the lives of sick and injured children, and as a father of children the same age as those massacred in ...

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