On a typical day in a major hospital, patients pass through the emergency room with different ailments. Some of them are coming in to check out minor aches and pains, and others are coming in barely responsive with a life-threatening condition. Outside of the pediatric ward, all of the patients coming in are adults, and the majority of them are advanced in years, showing signs of chronic conditions taking effect ...

Read more...

I’ve written a lot lately about caring for our patients, and about caring for our spouses, and those things make me very happy. But now and then, things rub me the wrong way. I was recently working at TMH, or Tiny Memorial Hospital, my vague name for small facilities since I work at several and wish to preserve their anonymity.  While there a patient checked into the ED for a fairly unremarkable ...

Read more...

38 states currently have an apology act. This means that if doctors feel they owe a patient an apology, they may provide one without any ramifications, if future legal actions are taken by the patient/patient’s family. In 2006, I spent 218 days in the hospital after the healthy birth of my daughter. My chronic autoimmune disease, scleroderma, masked certain signs of preeclampsia, which went undiagnosed. This led to a massive infection ...

Read more...

A road trip from Georgia to New York was going splendid, dare I say, wonderful -- catching up with old friends and family -- when it took an unforeseen and slightly less desirable turn: I got admitted with a small bowel obstruction.  Thanks to truly excellent care from a community hospital, I am home and now subjected to endless computer questions from my father that has me briefly contemplating readmission ...

Read more...

As standardized exam scores increasingly define success for students, teachers and schools, parents worry about the dangers of “teaching to the test” -- and of their children being judged by tests with low or unknown validity. We want our children to perform well on tests, of course, yet only if they measure something that students, patients, and teachers believe really matter. We also want the education system to inspire students ...

Read more...

Most physicians are smart and very talented. They’re skilled clinicians and technically superb. But despite such abilities, they fail to get others to follow them, once they take on the role of leader. As a consequence, they’re unable to get physicians to change or improve performance. Jay Conger, a professor of business at Claremont McKenna College who has devoted his career to the study of leadership, has helped me understand why ...

Read more...

I’ve been following Marissa Mayer’s tenure for nearly four years at Yahoo.  Not just because I was initially tapped to lead athenahealth’s integration of another mature advertising-driven mobile company -- Epocrates -- but because Yahoo, with its complexity and technology legacies, and highly competitive, fast-paced market environment, reminds me of many of the country’s largest health care delivery systems. Both are facing significant headwinds to stay relevant in their respective industries ...

Read more...

It's 2:00 a.m., and the fluorescent bulbs flicker gently overhead along the quiet hallways of the intensive-care unit. Tonight I'm the ICU resident on call, and the weight of that title sits heavily on my shoulders. My team is in charge of keeping our critically ill patients safe from harm overnight. Although the supervising physician is only a phone call away, I'm the acting team lead for any codes called during ...

Read more...

asco-logoI recently finished 2 weeks of inpatient hospital service, and the sense of relief was so palpable it felt like taking a breath after swimming the length of a pool underwater. At first, there is anxiety and a sense of excitement at the challenge, but soon you feel strong and assured that you’ve got this under control. The house ...

Read more...

An excerpt from Road Warrior Physician: Locum Tenens a How-to Guide. There are few things that are more frustrating than to be delayed while en route to your assignment. It happens, so be prepared for it. Keep all travel emergency contact numbers handy. This is one of my prime Evernote ...

Read more...