Whenever he meets with a new patient, Harvey Chochinov likes to ask one important question: “What should I know about you as a person to help me take the best care of you that I can?” It’s a question every doctor should ask, says Chochinov, author of Dignity Therapy and director of the Manitoba Palliative Care Research Unit; a question he has found helps patient and doctor alike dial ...

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I recently watched the movie Sully. It was the first time I’d ever watched a movie on its actual release date. Knowing what a legendary actor Tom Hanks is, and what a fascinating and near-tragic story unfolded on January 15, 2009, I felt confident that my choice to venture out to the cinema on a beautiful Boston September evening, would be a good one. The movie sure didn’t disappoint. Brilliantly directed ...

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Jim Morrison of the Doors once sang, "Petition the Lord with prayer ... You cannot petition the Lord with prayer." But we did that. We petitioned. On one side of the ICU, we had an 18-year-old girl, upper middle-class family, had everything. Beauty, brains, money, supportive parents, and she was off into this new bright world, choosing her college of choice. A simple surgery led to sepsis, severe sepsis that raged through ...

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OK, I’ll admit it. I’m a doctor “I work at a hospital.” Those words had left my mouth a hundred times before, and yet on this late summer day, I paused to actually think about them. Why I was saying them, what I really meant, and what I should have said instead. I was making conversation with someone I had just met. The inevitable question, “So, what do you do?” was asked, and ...

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We have all heard the grumblings regarding the 80-hour resident workweek.  This is due to the opinion that jobs after residency typically require hours that surpass 80 hours a week. But, why?  Why does medicine have to be this way? I have worked 100 plus hour weeks for over 20 years, and I am exhausted.  I am burned out and I can not catch up because of the sleep deprivation. This ...

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Dear Dr. Wible, I am writing to you with great sadness, but with relentless determination to ignite change. I am a doctor with a disability. Two years ago I began residency training in pediatrics. The privilege was overwhelming as I stood a doctor in the very halls where I had been wheeled in as a patient with a brain tumor. I couldn’t believe that I had actually made it, that I ...

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On the way to work the other day, I heard a radio commercial advertising a local hospital network’s cardiac care services. In it, a patient’s daughter related her overwhelmingly positive experience with the hospital team that treated her 90-year-old father with a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR), a minimally-invasive alternative to open heart surgery. It was a good commercial. It had all the elements: “I was worried at first, the doctors ...

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She squeezes her eyes tightly shut and holds her breath. Her head is bald. Her belly round and taut. Her daughter stands over her, clasping both hands in hers, her own eyes tightly shut, softly singing a song of hope and redemption. Her husband sits quietly, barely present, in the far corner of the room. She tenses when I slide the needle into her skin, gasps at the sting of ...

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Cleveland Clinic published an article that cited the work of Cynthia Kubu, PhD, a neuropsychologist in Cleveland Clinic’s department of psychiatry and psychology. She examined the potential of focusing on relationship center care to help provide good care and long-term care giving for physicians. Cleveland Clinic uses the REDESM (relationship, establishment, development, and engagement) which focuses on the provider-patient relationship as the premise for care. The idea is a physician ...

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“Doctor, why can’t my mother breathe?” he asked, eyes full of concern as he watched his mother’s chest heave like someone who has spent too long underwater. I turned up her oxygen as we discussed the possibilities we were testing for: infection, a reaction to chemotherapy, blood clots. Her breathing eased as we spoke, and in turn, I saw some of her son’s anxiety dissipate. As our conversation came to a ...

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