"If you do not cooperate, doctor, we will have no choice but to label you as being 'disruptive' and take whatever steps are necessary to remedy the situation." What physician does not dread hearing these words? Over the past several years, the term "disruptive" has been increasingly used to characterize and intimidate a physician who is perceived as not being a "team player." With hospitals increasing the difficulty in navigating a ...

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Not long ago, I overheard a frustrated hospital leader ranting about the poor performance of a physician. It was not that the doctor was screwing up surgeries, ordering the wrong drugs or missing obvious diagnoses. Actually, the physician was rather adept at healing his fellow man. The doctor’s failures concerned length of stay (far too long), sloppy medical records (incomplete, loaded with cut-and-paste) and a temper, which while not directly abusive ...

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I often avoid putting my politics on my sleeve, as I don’t want that to get in the way of our relationship. I want you to know that I treat you as a fellow human being, no matter your race, gender, sexual orientation. With the election results, what will change about how I treat you at the bedside? Nothing. I may know about your criminal past. I see that tattoo underneath ...

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Today I saw a news story about Walnut, an 18-year-old whippet in the UK, who had his last "walk" on the beach with his owner who had asked social media followers to join them. Shortly after that walk, surrounded by hundreds of family, friends, and supporters (human and canine alike), Walnut was put down. His last moments were spent as near to Heaven on earth as his owner could create ...

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While visiting a family member in the hospital recently, I noticed the unkempt attire of one of the lab people coming in to draw blood. As she knelt down to better reach my family member’s arm, I noticed her scrub pants were frayed and dirty from her walking on them. Shortly after I made note of this, one of her co-workers came in the room to see ...

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Part of being a resident or fellow is to be on call overnight and on the weekends. As any new resident, you’ll be nervous the first time because you think you don’t know anything. Over time, you’ll gain the knowledge and expertise to be able to ask the right questions, improve your exam skills and make the right clinical decisions. Trust that you know more than you think you do. Throughout your ...

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Performance in the practice of medicine has always drawn scrutiny and evaluation. Lives are at stake and years of education, practice and certification are required, simply to have the chance to be a physician or nurse. But today we’re witnessing an unprecedented rise of ranking, rating, and scorekeeping of performance in our hospitals. And there’s growing evidence that more patients are making their hospital choices based on these ratings and ...

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“It won’t be the last sacrifice you make for medicine.” These were the words my surgical intern said between yawns as I expressed regret at having to miss a distant cousin’s wedding. The digital wall-clock read a blurry 3:15 a.m. as we sat together in the on-call room, the coffeemaker dripping black gold into the pot. She had three pagers affixed to her scrub pants which would beep intermittently in turn, signaling anything ...

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There are so many insightful stories out there about what happens when physicians experience life as a patient or family member. They always make sobering reading for everyone in health care. Over the years I’ve heard dozens of these stories from fellow physicians, describing experiences when they’ve unfortunately been sick themselves. It’s an inevitable fact of life for everyone that they will be the patient one day, but it’s often ...

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We were a team of women. A strong, intelligent female attending, a fellow, me as the resident, and the eager intern. Gunners in the ICU. Throwing in lines and throwing out numbers and grilling newly published papers for truth. Then I got a call from the head of the department. I was asked about another fellow in the program. A male fellow. His behavior was in question. I was asked if ...

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