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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Thanks to the measles outbreak, the news is full of stories on vaccines and anti-vaxxers. The blogosphere and Twitterverse and all the other social media dimensions are buzzing with invective against ignorant unvaccinated savages and their backward science denial. For the record, I’m a pro-vaccine physician. My children have been and are vaccinated, despite being unsocialized homeschoolers. I’ve had my own share of needles; Physicians are mandated to have hepatitis B, ...

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Just a short observation.  Medicine is immersed in the customer service mentality.  We’re always reminded to be appropriate and understanding, especially when patients are frustrated or upset.  I get that. Right now, I’m sitting in the airport in Detroit.  We’re about 3 hours late leaving because we don’t have a flight attendant.  That’s right; it’s not the weather (as it was on one of my earlier flights this week).  And it’s ...

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shutterstock_224345509 I have a unique perspective as a physician. Having traveled to many hospitals in the past two years, working as a locums emergency physician, I can comment on a variety of issues with a reasonable amount of experience. One of those issues is EMR, or electronic medical records. I have spent plenty of time writing about this in the past, and I ...

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The non-medical reader may wonder what I am complaining about.  Of course, many of you have to be credentialed in your fields as well, whether law or accounting, law enforcement or public service, education, nursing or a trade.  But those of you in medicine know how difficult it can be to become credentialed as a physician, either by a state for purposes of a license, or by a hospital in order ...

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