My father was killed by an Islamic fundamentalist in Cairo, Egypt when he was just 47 years old.  It was October 1993, exactly eight months following the first World Trade Center bombing.  Terrorism was still a new word -- and a new concept -- to many Americans, and so my father’s death was featured prominently on the evening news and in the New York Times. For over 22 years, this has ...

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Maybe it’s just me, and maybe this is a regional/local phenomenon, but I have noticed a sharp increase in the number of non-physicians who sport their white coats on a daily basis around the hospital. First, let me preface this piece by saying I have absolutely nothing against any person who partakes in the care of patients; in fact, I commend all the helping hands that routinely dedicate themselves to health ...

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The practice of medicine has changed dramatically over the last couple of decades, with many of the changes unfortunately not so good for patients. It’s a well-known feeling among health care professionals, that among all the new elements of bureaucracy and information technology requirements and mandates, the one person who is often completely forgotten about is the patient. As someone who has worked up and down the east coast in ...

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ZDoggMD nails it again.  See what Doc Vader thinks about patient satisfaction.

Heart of summer. Early August. All of Holland is on holiday. We are sitting in the flesh-colored morning light, in his back room, stuffed away behind the nurses’ station. He is sick as hell and just 32. I am sitting next to his mother and his girlfriend. The intern and nurse are standing behind me, breathing carefully. He sits with his back to us, at his table. Visibly fighting for air. ...

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Despite the opinions expressed in column, "Here’s why you can’t believe 'top hospitals' lists," Harlem Hospital richly deserved the 2015 Top Hospital distinction it earned from our nonprofit, The Leapfrog Group. Our Top Hospitals committee sets the bar high, selecting only hospitals that perform at or above the level we would want for ourselves and our families. We used data from the annual Leapfrog Hospital Survey, calculating which ...

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Medicine has a fraught relationship with money. Dealing as they do with matters of life and death, doctors are loath to assign a dollar value to human life, preferring to avoid the subject altogether and instead provide the care that they deem appropriate no matter the cost. Insurance companies, on the other hand, make their business in rationing health dollars and have no such qualms: the consensus among them is ...

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Yesterday I caught myself doing something I had told myself I would never do, especially not in residency. I heard the medical student present the patient as a, “35-year-old male with a past medical history of poly substance abuse, noncompliance, and multiple stints in rehab,” and I caught myself rolling my eyes and writing drug seeker in my notes on the patient. This was not my last day practicing medicine ...

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I took a fantastic emergency medicine (EM) job when I finished residency.  There was no question in my mind that it was the best job within a hundred mile radius, maybe more.  When I first started, my expectations were met.  My group held a contract to staff a busy but well-staffed suburban emergency department, and had held that contract for almost 20 years when I signed.  The hospital was independent, ...

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I learned that the 148-year-old community hospital that I did my residency at will be closing, and I am angry. Who am I angry at? Myself. Oh, and you. I’m angry at us because we as a country have turned our backs on one another. And in the end, your relationship with your own doctor is in jeopardy. Pawtucket, Rhode Island, home of Memorial Hospital, used to be a prosperous mill ...

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