When we take our sick or injured loved ones to the hospital, we often hope that they will be admitted. In many instances, this is a very reasonable request. When heart or lung disease are at work, when severe infections, dehydration, fractures or strokes occur, admission may well be the only option. However, sometimes our desire to admit our family members is a throwback to a simpler time in medicine; ...

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shutterstock_85514146 So, there I was yesterday, working frantically to keep myself above the water level of the rapidly rising swamp of patients.  Navigating, haltingly, the onerous and demonic EMR.  So I thought I ordered three nebulizers, but it was only one.  The respiratory tech approached me and informed me that she would put them in, but only this time. That I’d have to ...

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shutterstock_224970232 I have worked in a lot of hospitals over the past two years. Quite a few of the facilities have been critical access hospitals, which is to say that they are very small, typically having fewer than 25 inpatient beds, and are usually somewhere in the boonies. A number of characteristics allow a hospital to qualify as critical access and receive additional ...

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Do you remember Mad Libs from when you were a child? A story is filled with blanks, and as you fill them in with inappropriate and ridiculous words, you laugh until you can't see straight. You laugh until you can't breathe, and your parents beg you to stop! Let's be children again. Share these with the nurses, and give the shift a little levity. Pain medication. You see, doctor, my pain specialist ...

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I recently found something I had lost. Or rather, I found someone I had lost. He was a dear friend from my childhood. We spent days and nights roaming the woods near our homes, catching crawdads and minnows in the creek and turning rocks over to look for banded water snakes. We shot bows and arrows and rode bikes. Standard Appalachian stuff, that. In the winter, we would sled until we ...

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shutterstock_137498780 One of my favorite physician sayings is, "Don’t just do something, stand there!" Which means that it’s better to do nothing than to do something that doesn’t help. As I move through my career, I find myself agreeing. I am endlessly amazed at the number of things we do for no good reason, and that patients come to expect, also for ...

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They say that there may be children, born now, who could live to be 1,000 years old. Can you fathom that? Some humans could continue to live for what would be well more than ten current lifetimes. We aren’t there yet. But this isn’t so far out of the possible. Some medical researchers are already talking about resuscitating those who die up to five hours after death. It involves special ...

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shutterstock_92410900 For my entire life as a physician, from medical school, through residency and now until this 22nd year in practice, I have subscribed to the idea that I should have a chaperone when performing breast, pelvic or rectal exams on women. I was taught to do this from the beginning, and I still do it. Why is this? On some level, the ...

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While working at small rural hospital I was once again faced with the emergency physician’s dilemma.  Admitting  a patient and being told to write holding orders.  In the midst of a very busy department, I sat with a nurse who guided me through the ridiculously complex and counterintuitive electronic orders system.  All this so that the admitting doctor wouldn’t have to log onto the computer, from home mind you, and trouble ...

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shutterstock_117726904 I suppose it is obvious that I am a fan of stories. I like to hear them, read them, watch them, collect them and tell them. I believe I am participating in stories every day of my life. The story of my family is a beautiful epic. The stories I hear at work can break my heart. One of my favorite ...

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