Dr. Tom Price may become the first medical doctor to lead the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 24 years. One might think that having completed medical school and practiced orthopedic surgery before entering politics might give him some extra insight into what works and what doesn't in medicine. But judging by a letter to then-HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that he signed in 2011 objecting to the ...

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Politicians and policymakers are discussing what parts of the Affordable Care Act to change and what to keep. While most of us have little control over those discussions, there is one health care topic that we can control: what we talk about with our doctor. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) released the landmark publication Crossing the Quality Chasm 15 years ago. The report proposed six aims for improvement in ...

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Danny rarely came to the clinic. He paid a sliding scale fee for the visit but this, in addition to the money he paid for his medicines, was already too much for him to afford. Now, in early November 2013, he had become concerned. Danny had previously owned a jewelry boutique with his wife, Jacky. She made her own pieces and sold them in the store. Over time, the economy had ...

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I recently reported on Stephanie Waggel, the doctor fired by a prestigious U.S. hospital for getting cancer (story also the Washington Post). In a transcription of her whistleblower video, Stephanie describes how she nearly died due to obstruction of medical care: It started during my intern year of residency. Which, bizarrely, was the happiest year of my life. And all my friends are like, “You’re an ...

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I recently consulted a specialist at a major medical center in New York, and a few days later, here came a questionnaire in the mail. "How much time did I spend in the waiting area?" it asked. How long was I kept waiting in the examining room? How close to my appointment time did the doctor see me? The one thing it didn't ask was whether I cared. There's no mystery about ...

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Cancer. The ominous word instantaneously triggers fear and anxiety. According to the American Cancer Society, cancer is the second most common cause of death in the United States, accounting for one in four deaths. Despite the attention cancer has garnered, an inequality exists. Patients without Internet access may not learn about possible therapeutic interventions. As we proceed with the “Moonshot” to better control cancer, we must assure that all patients ...

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asco-logo One of the privileges of medicine is the chance to meet people from every walk of life — many of whom you might never get a chance to know otherwise. Of course, such meetings are never spontaneous. In medicine, we are brought together by illness, and the people coming to see me are seeking advice on treatment for ...

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In 2000, my husband Brian was diagnosed with Stage III B Hodgkin lymphoma, which has since become a prominent part of our lives. My children and I belong to Gilda's Club, a cancer support community. And recently, we were asked to help record a promotional video to be featured at a fundraising gala for the local chapter and on the club's website. I'm not a "spotlight" kind of girl, and I ...

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In high school and college, I waitressed in a Dunkin’ Donuts shop that sat between Boston Common and the Combat Zone’s porn shops, strip clubs, and bars. The wages paid for school, clothes, rent, and food. At the time, I didn't realize this job would provide useful skills for my later medical career, an early pre-med training of sorts. Look the part. I donned the bubblegum pink polyester uniform that clearly identified ...

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I first met her in the urgent care at the cancer center when I was on call one night. She was beautiful: 53 years old, four adult sons, and in incredible pain. She had stage 4 breast cancer, and unbeknownst to her, she had a metastatic lesion in her femoral neck, which she had fractured about four weeks ago. But she'd just had a spine operation for mets in her ...

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