Influenza has arrived refusing to be ignored or be the ugly step-virus to Ebola any longer. This influenza season is officially an epidemic. The Washington Post's Wonkblog reported earlier this month that December 2014 was “one of the worst flu months in years.”  In fact, they found that it was “the worst December since the polling organization started tracking flu season in 2008.” As of January 3rd, the CDC reported widespread ...

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Between 1991 and 2010, opioid drug prescriptions increased from 75.5 million to 209.5 million.  How can we stop prescription drug abuse? Let's start in the ER.

To critics who admonish emergency physicians like myself for our excessive use of CT scans, I’ll ask them to consider the leaf blower. I’m sipping my morning coffee on our front porch, a bright, idyllic autumn day in New England, the tranquility ripped apart by the landscapers across the street. For many jobs, a powerful leaf blower might prove superior to a rake or broom. But in my neighborhood known ...

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As more doctors work for hospitals and large conglomerates, patient satisfaction rules.  And these physicians are saying, "My boss is CEO!"

“Blessed. I’m so blessed.” She kept repeating this, from her seat on the examining table. “I’m so blessed.” I unwrapped the bandage holding on the splint that had covered her arm for the three weeks since the bullet went in above her elbow and came out through her forearm, hitting no bone, touching no major artery. “Blessed.” Homeless. With diabetes that needed insulin, which needed a refrigerator, that she didn’t have. Vulnerable. A few years earlier, ...

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shutterstock_223911598 I have issues with the customer satisfaction paradigm, but it’s not generally hard to make patients happy. Sometimes, though, it can be nearly impossible. It all depends on our own inner life as physicians and human beings. The key to medicine, to being a beloved physician, is to love our patients. This can be a tall order. Human beings are remarkably difficult ...

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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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shutterstock_181449266 I truly love my job as an emergency physician. I think it's the best job there is in the house of medicine, melding the most ancient of medical traditions (abandoned by many modern practitioners) with the most cutting edge tools of medical technology. And really I never love it more so than at this time of year. I went into this field ...

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One of the things that I love about my job as a hospitalist is the ease with which we can develop friendships with colleagues from other disciplines. Since I am an inpatient physician, it’s not surprising that some of my good friends are cardiologists, nurses, endocrinologists, physical therapists and, of course, other hospitalists. In fact, I met my neurosurgeon husband while co-managing his patients at the hospital. While thinking about ...

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shutterstock_208236568 I tried to order an echocardiogram yesterday at work.  But it turns out, they only do them on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  Fair enough.  It’s not an unknown phenomenon.  Some places, surgeons are only available on Tuesdays and Thursdays, cardiologists on the second Wednesday of months with an R. After hours, most hospitals now struggle to have ultrasound at all, unless, of ...

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