On a daily basis, I am introduced to new people from all walks of life. Some sit on the board of directors, some are CEOs, some are presidents, some are middle managers and other administrators, some are investors, others are entrepreneurs, and some are physicians, nurses, case managers and even patients. I listen to people talk about the big challenges in health care. It costs too much, we have a shortage ...

Read more...

“He is the best physician who is the most ingenious inspirer of hope.” - Samuel Taylor Coleridge I was a third-year medical student on a Sunday morning when the reality of what I had chosen as my life career truly hit me in the gut. At that moment, I realized how intimate the practice of medicine was and that I would have to bring not only my brain and skills to work ...

Read more...

This is the patient's eight admission over the course of two weeks. The patient is a heroin abuser and has bacteremia and endocarditis. Their heart valve is failing and they are in and out of congestive heart failure. Every day, dozens of medical professionals converge on the patient to give treatment and advice. And every day after hearing that advice, the patient leaves the hospital against medical advice and goes ...

Read more...

In 1996, I had an illness that nearly killed me. I was exhausted, felt awful, could barely stand up and had trouble remembering things. Yet, I somehow had to find the energy not only to take care of my newborn and 5 year old, coordinate our upcoming move, consult with doctors and other medical providers on my condition and treatment, and receive treatments that might or might not help me ...

Read more...

A commencement address delivered on August 5, 2017, to the 2017 class of anesthesiologist assistants (AAs), Emory University. Distinguished faculty, graduates, honored guests: It is a great pleasure and an honor to be here, and to congratulate all the graduates of the Emory University Class of 2017 on your tremendous accomplishment. Just think about all you have learned in the past two years. You’ve transformed yourselves into real anesthesia professionals, able to ...

Read more...

I read something recently that shocked me. Despite working in health care for 15 years, I had no idea that nearly 80 percent of the U.S. health care workforce is comprised of women (according to the Bureau of Statistics.) I did know, however, that women make up less than 20 percent of executive boards and less than 40 percent of middle management in health care. Those that do exist in the ...

Read more...

The Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine has on its website this quote:

  • 1 in 10 diagnoses are incorrect.
  • Diagnostic error accounts for 40,000-80,000 U.S. deaths annually -- somewhere between breast cancer and diabetes.
  • Chances are, we will all experience diagnostic error in our lifetime.
The current focus on diagnostic error raises an interesting question:  Is this a larger problem in 2017 than in the 1970s and 1980s? In this post, I ...

Read more...

“Hello Dr. Payne, thanks for calling back, there’s a consult I’d like you to see.” “What’s going on?” “Well there’s a patient up on 7 East who ...” “Wait a minute. 7 East ... isn’t there some other specialist covering there?” “No Dr. Payne, the schedule says you on Wednesdays.” “Oh, I’ll check that.” “OK, Dr. Payne, well we have this 72-year old, Mrs. Jones, who originally got admitted with pneumonia. She now has unusual inflammatory ...

Read more...

I spent the week in meetings discussing logistics and hospital preparations for the alt-right’s “Unite the Right” rally to be held this weekend in my hometown of Charlottesville, VA. We discussed the likely injuries that would occur, how we were going to decrease the hospital census to deal with potential overflow, methods of securing the campus, and the latest police updates. On Friday afternoon I summed up our discussions with my ...

Read more...

On a normal Tuesday, one of my fellow residents did the same things we all do. She woke up before sunrise, put her best face forward, came to work, saw patients quickly, wrote notes, said "good morning" to everyone at morning conference, saw more patients, wrote more notes, then went home. She said "good night" to her loved ones  —  her parents and siblings at home  —  and went to ...

Read more...

Most Popular