Being in a hospital is a scary and frightening time, and it’s easy for those of us at the frontlines — doctors and nurses — to forget that as we go about our busy work days. Patients are at a very low point in their lives and will remember everything about their hospital stay, including all their interactions, for a very long time. As someone with a keen interest in improving ...

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When Barbara (name changed) recently underwent her fourth Cesarean section, she was appalled by the care she received during her recovery.  Her catheter overflowed, and a CNA asked her to check her own incision.  When the CNA asked if she was breastfeeding her baby, Barbara replied tearfully that she couldn’t lift her out the bassinette.  Rooming-in is a great idea. Unless you’ve had a 36-hour labor or major abdominal surgery. Pregnant ...

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Telemedicine is often in the news and until recently I had only casually glossed over the latest articles. The details I paid little attention to, but the headlines I would remember. “Great for rural areas” I would read! “Extend physician reach!” “Get specialists to greater numbers of patients with unique conditions!” As a nearly graduated anesthesia resident in a large city with an abundance of doctors, I didn't think telemedicine would have ...

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Recently, I wrote a letter to hospital executives, urging them to deliberately invest their own personal time and effort in fostering hospitalist well-being. I suggested several actions that leaders can take to enhance hospitalist job satisfaction and reduce the risk of burnout and turnover. Following the publication of that post, I heard from several hospital executives and was pleasantly surprised that they all responded positively to my ...

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Recently, one of the biggest mistakes ever observed on live television occurred when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, presenters of the award, announced the wrong film as winner of the Academy Award for best picture.  Not since Janet Jackson's costume malfunction has, live television caused such uproar. How could this have happened?  How could it have been prevented?  Moreover, what can this error teach us about how we care for patients? A ...

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Sometimes it feels like the great unspoken secret between doctors and nurses. The words that we dare not utter to patients and families. Perhaps it is our hope that we're wrong. Perhaps, we dread providing unwanted news. Perhaps, we don't want to face reality or extinguish our patients' hope. As a daughter, I felt that sense of sadness and dread, waiting to hear the news that would not be told. It was September ...

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Recently, the ACGME (Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education) made the reckless decision to increase work hours to 28-hour shifts for new doctors. Here are the catastrophic consequences of their decision. Here are actual quotes from physicians (de-identified with some patient details changed to protect confidentiality): “I did my internship in internal medicine and residency in neurology before laws existed to regulate resident ...

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It would never have gone down this way ten years ago when length of stay was all the buzz. The CT scan would have been done in the emergency department, and the patient would either have been discharged or admitted for a quick observation stay. Bing, bang, boom. One, two, three. Instead, the CT was pushed until morning. A resident saw the patient at midnight and then not a single practitioner ...

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A few years ago, I was in a position where I was quickly going down the route of hospital administration. I thought it was interesting at first, but realized it wasn’t quite my cup of tea, at least in the circumstances that I was exposed to. What I didn’t like about it was the feeling that I was losing touch with the front lines. And wherever my career takes me, ...

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It was my turn to be on call during Christmas. I held the long list of patients signed out to me, and began my rounds early that morning in the hopes that I could be home in time to open presents with my family that evening. I went from room to room on the surgical floor, talking to patients. I knocked on one door and pushed it open. A white male ...

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