Behind every doctor is a little boy or girl who once watched helplessly. Maybe it was her father or grandfather who suffered under the weight of a disease that was deemed all but incurable. Perhaps her own skin was battered and bruised by the repeated trauma of an unrelenting tourniquet.  She swore that when (if) she got older she would protect the innocent from such things.  Her vow was the ...

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I understand that there is a difference between perception and reality.  I also get that the kind of people one meets on a tropical vacation in the middle of March are of a certain economic and sociopolitical status. Nonetheless, I am amazed at how history seems to repeat itself.  Year after year, while sitting in the shade and relaxing by the pool, I strike up a conversation with the vacationers sitting ...

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Loss is something all humans face in their everyday lives.  As a physician, the effects are often magnified.  People die, they move away, they graduate from your services, or occasionally they pursue care elsewhere.  Parting can sometimes bring relief, and others a deep sense of failure.  But with Clara, I'm not sure we actually parted.  Mostly, I was left with confusion. Clara came to me by way of the nursing home.  ...

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Neither of the two most important people in Aaron's life could stand to be in the same room with each other.  There was a long colorful history between his ex-wife and his brother, and as his disease began to accelerate, the feuding became quite intense.  They argued over Aaron's advance directives.  They both tried to coerce and manipulate themselves into commanding positions.  The shouting became louder, the fury more fierce.  ...

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shutterstock_146645084 Physicians are docile.  We are programmed to put the greater good above our own.  We train mercilessly, work tirelessly, and bend faithfully at the alter of those we have vowed to heal.  This is our birthright.  This is the covenant we signed in our own blood when we took our healing oath.  Decry us as they will, no one becomes a ...

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shutterstock_172067600 It seems everywhere you look in health care today; some consultant is telling you that "less" is actually "more."  Less care leads to more quality.  Less expense brings better outcomes.  Nurse practitioners with less training are more cost effective.  Fewer work hours for residents builds a safer hospital environment. Never in our entire history have we gotten so much for so little. Arshya ...

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Her heart was failing; her ejection fraction was unmeasurable.  Her hip was broken, and she developed a pulmonary embolism post-operatively.  She was painfully close to death.  Yet at some point, the hospital finished and spit her out at the nursing home. She was confused. I tried to take the best history that I could.  Her answers where usually no more than a single word.  Her physical exam revealed a desperately weak woman, ...

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I assumed many things that morning.  For instance, I thought it was likely that Ronald's fatigue was from lung cancer that had metastasized to the liver.  Or that he decided to stay in his room in the nursing facility because the decision to elect hospice had finally taken its toll. I was sure that he was both physically and emotionally spent.  I reasoned that I wouldn't want to get out ...

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It was a rather unlikely place to begin my clinical career. Shortly after starting medical school, I signed up to volunteer in the hospice unit of my academic medical center.   The first few visits I relegated myself to fairly banal activities.  I shredded old medical records, or I might do a load of laundry for a family member who had been waiting tentatively by their loved one's side and was ...

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shutterstock_154990457 The truth is, I know it's easy to go to the Minute Clinic.  I know the enticement of not needing an appointment, of being able to shop while you wait, of having the prescription ready to pick up by the end of your appointment.  Who doesn't like convenience and a friendly smile to add?  Who doesn't like the customer service offered ...

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