Recently, I had what I’d call a true banner day in my office. One late afternoon, after I had finished seeing patients, I had started in on that iniquitous pile of paperwork that awaits all of us doctors after office hours. As usual, I was finding the task alternately arduous (can my patient comfortably carry five-to-ten pounds for five-to-ten minutes?), rewarding (the patient does not have lupus), and monotonous (there ...

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“Never sign anything without me reading it first.” Cautionary words from my husband, an attorney, whose ability to read and interpret the fine print has saved my life, so to speak, on more than one occasion. That all-in-the-family attitude toward a profession is something almost every doctor also knows well. Through me, my husband, relatives, friends, and sometimes acquaintances can get what I call a “healthcare quickie,” a free, two-minute sideline. They can ...

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We’ve all been there. You’re in medical school, sitting in a lecture hall -- maybe the course is pathology -- and for the first time since starting your studies, you’re actually learning about real diseases, not just benzene rings and the Krebs cycle. You’re furiously note-taking, and you reach back to work out a kink in your neck. There it is! A palpable, enlarged lymph node. You have lymphoma. You ...

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The subject heading of a recent email correspondence read “beware, graphic picture ahead!” Obviously this piqued my curiosity, so, with one eye closed, I scrolled down on my iPhone to a picture of my patient’s tongue, which, truth be told, had a certain “you haven’t seen anything yet quality.” The tongue in question? Maybe some white spots, certainly nothing gruesome, and most assuredly nothing I hadn’t seen before in my 12+ ...

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