“You’re a doctor; focus on being a doctor.” This piece of advice was recently given to me by my own father, in regards to my multiple ambitions outside of the medical field. He himself only recently retired from a long career as a surgeon, so his opinion is the result of years of experience. His advice got me thinking. What makes for career longevity in our field? Statistics show that more than half ...

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More than anything, Willie needed a place to pee. Elaine needed help walking. Willie is homeless; Elaine is affluent.  They both needed someone to listen to them and help them find solutions to their most pressing everyday challenges.  That’s called “co-production of care.” When Willie found out he had congestive heart failure, his doctor put him on beta blockers with diuretics. The medications made Willie feel better, but there was one problem:  Because of ...

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Approximately 18 months ago, I was asked to serve as the surgical director for operating room (OR) services at our children’s hospital. The opportunity has been an eye-opening experience in understanding how a hospital functions. ORs are like the economic engine room in a large ocean-going vessel. Without them functioning optimally, the boat stops moving, and is batted about by of waves economic disruption. If surgical admissions drop below a certain ...

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As Sen. Bernie Sanders prepares to introduce a universal health care bill in the next few weeks, many progressives who support a universal single-payer program worry about its effects on abortion access. Can we win Medicare-for-all while protecting hard-won reproductive rights? As a woman of color, a reproductive rights advocate, and graduate student of public health, I recognize the importance for marginalized groups to stand in solidarity for ...

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An executive summary of "A radically patient-centered proposal to fix health care in America." The political theater over health care reform has quieted after yet another ugly show. A productive dialogue about big ideas seems impossible in our hyper-partisan climate. No matter which party holds power, any significant proposal is quickly met with fierce opposition from a variety of political and business interests. So, for many decades, America has ...

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I am happy to be part of The Thinking Podcast at HVMN. We talk social media, the evolution of the doctor-patient relationship, and health care reform. Enjoy!

I know, I know, I spend way too much time ranting about work in the emergency department. But after some recent shifts, my box of rants is full once more. And what I want to point out is the enormous struggle of the mid-sized emergency departments in America today. I know this is a problem; I work in them, and I know and talk with people who work in them. It’s ...

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On a particularly sultry day in a hospital of the Peruvian Amazon, I found myself with the task of telling a group of parents that their babies, who had been waiting in the hallways for days without eating in preparation for surgery, would not be able to have their cleft lip and palate fixed. We, a group of American doctors and medical staff offering this procedure free of charge to ...

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I took a great continuing education course recently, and had an opportunity to review some useful skills and fascinating cases. Because health care knowledge areas expand more quickly than most and keeping current is an integral part of doing these jobs well, it was easily worth the time. The cost seemed unreasonable, but I was only superficially interested in that anyway; like most, I'm fortunate that my employer offers a generous ...

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One day a man decided to open a pizza shop. The first week he sold pizzas and collected money from his customers; the happy customers ate hot pizza, and the man made some money. The next week many of his customers who came in had pizza insurance, and had already paid Blue Wall Insurance for their pizzas. Since so many of his customers had purchased pizza insurance, the man signed a ...

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