Why doctors treat patients as drug addicts Fact: Doctors want to help people. Fact: Some people take advantage of doctors. A doctor in Oregon shares this case:

I had an old man with cancer. He kept complaining of pain as I was increasing his opiate pain medication, Oxycontin. I was at, I forget, about 40mg four times a day or some fairly substantial dose. I ran a urine drug test. Negative for ...

Read more...

The shocking ingredient in natural medicine So you think your medicine is natural. Ever wonder what’s inside? A product can be labeled “natural” if the main ingredient is from an animal, plant, or mineral. Arsenic, horse urine, and cow brain are natural. But are they natural for you? Here are four drugs whose origins may surprise you. Insulin was discovered in 1922. Until the 1980s, all insulin was “natural” ...

Read more...

The surprising way patients get drugs Tom is diabetic, asthmatic, and broke. He’s back for a checkup. “I take my metformin every morning with my grits,” he says, “but I don’t need no refill. I just got me some metformin XR.” “How did you get extended release? They’re super expensive.” “Well, my neighbor runs a tattoo shop. We live behind her store. Her doc switched her up to insulin, so she ...

Read more...

People die without love: Why I prescribe the love drug As a doctor, it’s my job to figure out what patients really need. Some need antibiotics. Some need pain pills. But everyone needs love. During medical school I cared for burned children. One of my patients was a 3-year-old with severe burns over most of his body. His roommate, an older boy, had just burned one arm. Yet the older child withered in the corner ...

Read more...

How to save hundreds of dollars on your medical bills Rob got a cat bite. Then a swollen hand. He goes to the ER, gets antibiotics, then develops itching. So he calls me for advice. A few days later, I get this email: “The itching from the antibiotics went away as you said it would. But what is NOT poised to go away is the $624 bill from the ER for talking to ...

Read more...

Why doctors commit suicide I’ve been a doctor for twenty years. I’ve not lost a single patient to suicide. I’ve lost only colleagues, friends, lovers -- all male physicians -- to suicide. Why? Here’s what I know: A physician’s greatest joy is the patient relationship. Assembly-line medicine undermines the patient-physician relationship. Most doctors are burned out, overworked, or exhausted. Many doctors spend little time with their families. Workaholics are admired in medicine. Medicine values ...

Read more...

Are you a victim of patient profiling? Ever felt misjudged by a doctor? Or treated unfairly by a clinic or hospital? You may be a victim of patient profiling. Patient profiling is the practice of regarding particular patients as more likely to have certain behaviors or illnesses based on their appearance, race, gender, financial status, or other observable characteristics. Profiling disproportionately impacts patients with chronic pain, mental illness, the uninsured, and ...

Read more...

Be emotionally intimate with your patients A new patient calls for an appointment. I ask, “What would you like to come in for?” “Depression. Two weeks ago my doctor put me on antidepressants.” “Why don’t you see your current doctor?” I ask. “I feel weird discussing my emotions with someone who doesn’t have any.” When doctors are fully present, vulnerable -- even emotional, patients are more likely to be honest, transparent, and ...

Read more...

The unidentified cause of one mans hypertension: Racism Meet Damien, my Facebook friend, photographer, and IT guy. This morning, he messages me: “I would like to make an appointment.” I reply: “For?” “High blood pressure.” I offer to see him, but he never comes in. Weeks later, he writes, “I got busy Pam. How are you? High blood pressure pills keep making me sick. I am doing the best I can. On bad days ...

Read more...

I can’t always cure, but I can always care I started kissing patients in med school. And I haven’t stopped. During my third year pediatric rotation, I used to stay up late at night in the hospital, holding sick and dying children. I’d lift them from their cribs, kiss them, and sing to them, rocking them back and forth until they fell asleep. One day the head of the department pulled me ...

Read more...

3 Pages