As of September 15, 85 children from 33 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have died due to infection with the flu during the 2015-2016 season. Piper Lowery, who was a healthy and vibrant 12-year-old girl died from H1N1 Influenza almost one year ago.  Her mother, Pegy Lowery, has gone public with her daughters’ story, to urge more parents to get flu shots for their children.  I ...

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In a recent PBS interview, Mayo Clinic CEO Dr. John Noseworthy suggested patients should “change physicians” when faced with non-empathetic doctors suffering from burnout.  His cavalier resolution to our occupational struggle feels like a betrayal, to both his esteemed colleagues across the country and our profession.  In my opinion, firing your physician is a risky proposition in light of the looming physician shortage. Burnout is an overwhelming sense of ...

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Prior to her death, a courageous young woman named Jess Jacobs, who suffered from POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome), wrote about the worst health care experience of her life.  It is a somewhat horrifying account of hospitalization in Washington D.C.  Her goal was to work toward meaningful health care changes in the system for the better. When I came across the story of another young woman afflicted with this ...

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Independent physicians are at the beginning of a challenging movement as we fight to stay relevant and solvent during the transition of health care from independence to “regulation without representation.”     In 1773, British Parliament passed the Tea Act with the objective to help the struggling British East India Company survive. Opposition to the Act resulted in the return of delivered tea back to Britain.  Boston left the ships carrying tea ...

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Recently I wrote about empowerment and the importance of letting patients make their own health care decisions.  Our job is to make sure patients are given information and then allowed to choose the best option for them.  Maybe we should even embolden patients; give them confidence and encourage them to take more control. Physicians tend to feel more comfortable advising according to the “standard of care” and ...

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Growing up during the 1970’s and 80’s, Little House on the Prairie was an iconic part of my childhood.  Doc Baker was the physician and veterinarian for all of Walnut Grove, in spite of limited resources.  Medical lessons were everywhere in the beloved television series:  Mary experiencing onset of blindness (most recently attributed to viral meningoencephalitis, likely from measles), the death of Laura’s infant son by unknown cause, and Rose’s ...

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Referencing a recent New York Times article “What Kids Wish Their Teachers Knew” got me thinking about both sides of the coin.  Physicians are human beings and sometimes this fact gets lost when a patient is angry or frustrated seeking help from the medical system.  Here is a primer on what I wish my patients knew. (This is a companion piece to "I wish my doctor ...

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Recently the New York Times published an article, "What Kids Wish Their Teachers Knew." As a pediatrician, I have spent a good part of my lifetime fighting for the health and welfare of our young people.  They are the future.  We owe our children a safe, caring, stable childhood whenever possible. Outside of a supportive family, a long-term family physician or pediatrician can be an important role model ...

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Give me technology which improves my life and that of my patients, or give me death. Medical records must be informative, efficient, and flexible; like the physicians they serve. For me, a medical record does not contain just a collection of problem lists, prescribed medications, and immunizations; it is a noteworthy account of the health care provided to another human being over a lifetime. Recently, I attended a baby shower of ...

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In 1978, the Institute of Medicine published A Manpower Policy for Primary Health Care: Report of a Study where they defined primary care as “integrated, accessible services by clinicians accountable for addressing a majority of heath care needs, developing a sustained partnership with patients, and practicing in the context of family and community.” The four main features of “good” primary care based on this definition are: 1. First-contact access for new medical ...

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