Last year, I retired from full-time practice and moved to a new area. At about the same time, my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, and because she was in good health prior, she had relatively little contact with the health care system as a patient. Before our move she worked as a part-time school nurse, so we were able to share provider horror stories from different perspectives. Since we moved ...

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Another workday comes to an end. 11 a.m. rolls around and freedom from the hospital beckons after another 24-hour call is finished. In the span of the preceding day, it is likely that numerous important decisions had to be made with the expectation that all of your mental faculties would be used, irrespective of what time of day it was or how much sleep was obtained. It is a day ...

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My 66-year-old professional athletic patient had a history of a scar tissue related small bowel obstruction seven years ago related to a previous appendectomy. He now had similar symptoms with cramping, lower abdominal pain, and some nausea. Since his office was next door to his longtime friend and gastroenterologist, he called over there. He was given an appointment with the junior partner since his buddy was out of town. Thirty years ...

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Have you ever had that experience when you think what you're doing is futile, and that thought goes through your mind: "Why am I doing this?" "I'm torturing him." "This feels wrong." For those of us that are physicians, think back to your internship and residency training.  I think we can all remember at least one of these situations, if not more. I remember being in the ICU as a third-year internal medicine resident, being sent ...

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Since undergoing a double-lung transplant at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in December 2011, Podge Reed Jr. has had four medical admissions, two surgical admissions, eight outpatient procedures requiring anesthesia, more than 100 outpatient appointments, and 700 labs and other tests. He's amassed enough experiences with the health care system to write a book. So far, though, he’s mostly kept it to two letters, totaling 12 pages, to our patient relations ...

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It's easy to get lost in the hospital. I'm only an intern, and already I know it like the hallways of my old high school, every doorway, and doorknob. But overnight, as I float between the floors and the units, answering pages, I quickly lose track of where I am, what time it is, what day it is. I am vaguely aware that I'm on the fifth floor, the top floor ...

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Hospital culture is largely influenced by the relationship between administrative and clinical staff leaders. In the “old days” the clinical staff (and physicians in particular) held most of the sway over patient care. Nowadays, the approach to patient care is significantly constricted by administrative rules, largely created by non-clinicians. An excellent description of what can result (i.e., disenfranchisement of medical staff, burn out, and joyless medical care) is presented
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shutterstock_61638394 There’s a new epidemic sweeping American hospitals, and a cure is desperately needed. It’s highly contagious and causes the sufferer much anxiety and psychological suffering. It also costs the health care system millions, if not billions, of dollars a year. You may never have heard of it. You won’t find it in the medical textbooks nor will you hear any of the ...

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One word: gun. That is all it takes to spark a debate between two very different camps. One end of the spectrum feels guns are an evil haunting the nation by their mere existence, and they need to be dealt with by restricting (or even eliminating) everyone’s ability to possess them. The other end believes it is a core right to keep and use firearms for sport, personal defense, collecting, etc., and that no ...

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No one likes being in the hospital. For the most part our beds at home are more comfortable, eating our own food is enjoyable, and sleeping in real pajamas is always preferred. So if this is the case, why do up to 30 percent of us having such trouble staying out of the hospital and not being readmitted after we leave? When we’re first in the hospital, we’re focused on getting ...

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