An excerpt from The Secret Language of Doctors: Cracking the Code of Hospital Culture. When it comes to modern medical slang, there’s Before Shem and After Shem. Shem refers to Samuel Shem, the pen name of Dr. Stephen Bergman, psychiatrist and author of the blockbuster novel The House of ...

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shutterstock_169107956 I can’t mention the physician by name, because he is currently in contract negotiations.  But he lives and works in a Midwestern town of several thousand people, a town where the major social event of the year is a fall festival that features a parade down Main Street.  The physician, let’s call him Dr. Smith, has been practicing there for nearly ...

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shutterstock_162279323 Party Weekend - Joe “King” Carrasco Fight for Your Right (To Party)! - Beastie Boys We Just Wanna Dance - The Flirts My favorite radio station, WHFS, had a ritual every Friday afternoon to start off the weekend, back in the day. DJs Weasel and Bob Here would exchange pleasantries as they exchanged shifts, and would launch the same set of songs at the same ...

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"He's just expired," said the nurse as I approached Ray's room in the large inner-city hospital where I work as a patient advocate. "And his wife has just arrived. Why don't you go in?" I found Natalie bent over Ray's body. His hollow cheek was drenched with her tears. "I'm so sor --" "I told him yesterday to talk to Jesus," Natalie interrupted, speaking quickly. "I told him if the two of them ...

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In my travels up and down the East coast, I’ve worked with a number of health care administrators (and even temporarily been one myself, although quickly discovered that it wasn’t quite my cup of tea). The experiences that I’ve had have been highly variable, and I’ve seen the full spectrum of administrators ranging from the brilliant to the quite dire. As someone who has read many autobiographies of famous leaders, ...

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shutterstock_154685816 I practice gastroenterology in Cleveland in the dark shadow of a large medical institution whose name contains the name of our city.  They are a world class medical institution whose reputation is largely derived from its cardiovascular department.   Presumably, these practitioners, like all doctors, advise patients who smoke that cigarettes have deleterious health effects. The entire campus is smoke-free, as ...

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Mr. U* came to the hospital overnight with severe heart failure. His breathing was supported by a ventilator and he was sedated. Thus, our primary means of communication was via his daughter. His daughter, distraught, stayed awake through most of the night. She appeared suspicious about her father’s care, immediately asking my credentials when I entered the room and demanding that we discuss treatment decisions with her alone. The next ...

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o-SULLY-SULLENBERGER-BABIES-facebook The story of Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger -- the “Miracle on the Hudson” pilot -- is a modern American legend. I’ve gotten to know Captain Sullenberger over the past several years, and he is a warm, caring, and thoughtful person who saw, in the aftermath of his feat, an opportunity to promote safety in many industries, including health care. In my continuing ...

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As the CMS Innovation Center rolls out the Next Generation ACO Model, I wonder what doctors are thinking. The Next Generation ACO model ups the ante on risk and reward and is the next delivery model iteration as CMS marches on to 30 percent at risk Medicare in 2016. Some of the docs will generally acknowledge that medicine is changing, but there is often no corresponding change in behavior. Other ...

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Managing diabetes is all about control: controlling what you eat, when you eat, and the amount of insulin you give yourself. As someone with type 1 diabetes, I understand how control over one’s blood glucose levels is vital to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. When I was hospitalized due to a car accident, however, I saw how the hospital’s desire to control my care ended up costing my insurance company more ...

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