Picture this. You walk into your doctor’s office for an urgent visit for new distressing symptoms.  He (or she) takes your blood pressure, temperature, heart rate.  All within normal limits.  He asks you several questions pertaining to your symptoms, does a thorough exam and perhaps orders a quick in-office lab or two.  You ask him what he thinks is going on. The quandary If it’s a slam dunk diagnosis, the branch point in ...

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Recently, I had the fortune of hearing the tale of Bob and his bum knee.

It all started when Bob picked me up at the end of a busy clinic day in his neon orange Subaru.  Given that this particular shared car service promotes friendly conversation, Bob started up the gab by asking me what position I held in the medical center.  After describing my work as a ...

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If you haven’t already, you will someday see a primary care physician (PCP). It’s practically unavoidable. The reason for this self-declared truth is that PCPs are the shape shifters of medicine, assuming various roles at different stages of an adult’s life and wellbeing. These responsibilities range from treating various health conditions, ushering patients in and out of hospitals, coordinating long-term medical decisions, and consulting with other specialists to better optimize patient care. Given that ...

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I get it.  It’s not rocket science.  But sometimes everyone in the field of medicine needs a bit of a refresher when it comes to keeping our patients happy. After all, it’s a two-way street with medical providers and patients: we provide and support ways to improve and maintain the personal health of our patients while our patients provide and support the health of our careers and livelihood.  We depend on ...

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Since the beginning of it all, since that exact moment where I shot up from my friend’s dorm room cot with a revelation to pursue my ancestral calling in medicine, I have been continually questioned by family and friends on exactly where I sit in the totem pole of physicianhood.  And I get it. With terms like sub-intern, intern, senior resident and attending, it must be confusing to ...

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Ms. A was a sweet older lady with a bad heart who was transferred all the way from Montana in order to get expedited workup for cardiac (heart-related) surgery. Her story of her symptoms and disease course was the story told by hundreds of patients seen at any given hospital every year.  It started with a few weeks of chest discomfort while walking, followed by a day of chest pain, nausea, ...

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Last month marked the first anniversary of two very important milestones in my career in medicine: I began training as a physician and started writing about medicine.  Although perhaps not equally as demanding, both of these new activities in my life required overcoming steep learning curves and involved constant self-reflection and personal change. Writing medical humanities pieces for different media outlets has been and continues to be a source of personal ...

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Full Code.  Do not resuscitate.  Do not intubate. Ask anyone without a personal or family history of a hospitalization on the implication of these terms and you’d likely get a blank stare in response. Unfortunately, this incomprehension often rings true with those who need to know it most: the hospitalized patients themselves. Many clinical reports (see here and here) have demonstrated that most physicians are not only inadequate in discussing code status with ...

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3 business skills doctors need to know Prior to entering the medical field, my preconceived notion of what makes a good doctor essentially compromised of compassion, intelligence, and the ability to think fast on ones feet. Although I continue to believe that these professional qualities are paramount to excellent patient care, I am finding that other, less obvious proficiencies are also required.  Ironically, these skills that I have in ...

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The gall, you might think to yourself as you click on this link in disgust. Before you write that brutal retort which I may/may not deserve, some simple disclaimers before we tackle this subject:

  • This is not a ruthless attempt to crush your dreams and passions
  • This is not an op-ed on our current healthcare system
  • This is targeted towards individuals who are considering medical school in order to practice clinical medicine
  • This is being ...

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