An excerpt from A Quiet Death. Even as I lay perfectly still in the near-complete silence of my car, I could hear Dr. Tierney’s adenoidal voice in my mind. He always seized every opportunity to assure us that his diagnostic or therapeutic approach to patients was firmly supported by the ...

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One of the obligations of a medical or surgical specialist is to communicate with the referring primary care provider.  This can take many forms: a phone call, texting via smartphone, email, messages sent via EMR, and dictated letters.  The format is pretty standard no matter what medium is chosen.  You thank the referring doc for the consult request, you give some brief background info about the patient in question, and ...

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shutterstock_233214331 In the busy world of hospital medicine, where doctors and nurses find themselves rushed off their feet for most of the day, time to sit down and actually listen to patients is at a premium. Every doctor knows that our primary focus has to be on the most important aspects of the history and clinical examination in order to get to ...

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I came to hospital medicine from the land of pulmonary-critical care. I had spent ten years dealing with septic shock, respiratory failure, and acute renal failure. I had intubated, withdrawn life support, placed central lines, performed thoracenteses, and even placed a couple of chest tubes. I had changed tracheostomy tubes; I ran codes. In short I was a critical care bad ass. I thought I was hot stuff. But I ...

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Many of the patients that I treat have brain injuries. Whether caused by a stroke, car accident, fall, or drug overdose, their rehab course has taught me one thing: nobody likes to be forced to do things against their will. Even the most devastated brains seem to remain dimly aware of their loss of independence and buck against it. Sadly, the hospital environment is designed for staff convenience, not patient ...

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american society of anesthesiologistsA guest column by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, exclusive to KevinMD.com. The health care landscape is changing, and now more than ever we as physicians should be focused on quality of care and ensuring the safety of our patients. Anesthesiology was the first medical specialty to champion patient safety as a specific focus. Over the past century, physician ...

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shutterstock_224345509 I have a unique perspective as a physician. Having traveled to many hospitals in the past two years, working as a locums emergency physician, I can comment on a variety of issues with a reasonable amount of experience. One of those issues is EMR, or electronic medical records. I have spent plenty of time writing about this in the past, and I ...

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Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic. This is one of the main tenets of Alcoholics Anonymous, and it serves to encourage its members to commit to absolute abstinence. It is also a belief, I have come to realize, held by the many medical residents I have encountered. When an alcoholic patient is admitted to the hospital, it is no secret that he (or she) is an alcoholic. This is because it feels ...

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shutterstock_154083233 Please choose one: The three words blink in front of me on the computer screen. Please choose one: Patient is-Male     Female  I click FEMALE. I watch as the auto-template feature fills in the paragraph for me based on my choices. Patient #879302045 Patient is: 38-year-old female status post motor vehicle accident. Please acknowledge you have reviewed her allergies, medications, and past medical history. I click YES. Have you counseled her about smoking cessation? I click NO. A little, animated icon of a ...

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shutterstock_203129515 I am sorry that you are in the hospital. You are feeling ill. The noises are loud, people are walking in and out of rooms, and you aren’t sure of what to expect.  You are probably nervous.  This whole situation is a disturbance to your life. You would rather be at home -- I can understand that. Few people want to ...

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