shutterstock_240724267 Like so many other medical professionals, I felt voiceless in the face of a gargantuan health care non-system built to do things to people, rather than for people. But after a decade of hospital practice, my “cry for help” looked slightly different than the typical midlife crisis: It involved the creation of a somewhat ridiculous blue-scrubbed rapping doctor alter ego. “ZDoggMD” could ...

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“What is the meaning of life?” A perfectly reasonable question, albeit a strange one considering that I was in the third grade, it was recess time, and I was having a philosophical conversation about death with a grasshopper I had just caught. Ever since I could remember, I was fascinated by death. But my life was characterized more by loss than by death. When I was three, there were no funeral processions ...

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shutterstock_287499203 “Either way, no matter what we do, you’ll live less than 12 months, probably less than nine. Even if we were in the United States, your disease is incurable.” He nodded slowly in understanding. Jean Dominique was only in his 40s and had teenagers at home. “We can treat your pain and other symptoms, but we can’t do anything to treat the ...

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You need to watch ZDoggMD's latest.  This is one of the most powerful videos you'll see.  Ever. From ZDoggMD himself: "Here’s Ain’t The Way To Die, based on the Eminem and Rihanna masterpiece Love The Way You Lie. It’s the first video we’ve made that is not funny -- well, that is not funny on purpose, in any case. We initially planned to use blatant comedy to break down taboos around the process ...

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shutterstock_277885379 Doctors and nurses said patients and their families created the largest obstacles to end-of-life decision making in the ICU, in a large survey published in JAMA Internal Medicine. About 1,300 staff at 13 academic hospitals in Canada rated barriers to end-of-life goals of care on a 1 to 7 scale. Doctors and nurses considered the largest barriers to end-of-life decision ...

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shutterstock_114519565 How is it that, in this day and age, a talented teenager treated for lymphoma emerges cured but with a life-threatening eating disorder? How is it that, in our nation’s capital, a boy dying at home from neuroblastoma experiences excruciating pain in his final moments? How is that, when we develop new drugs to treat children with cancer, we do not, at ...

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A hospital can be full of discomfort. My patients tell me that the food is unappetizing. The beds hurt their backs. The noise echoing through the hallways at night makes it impossible to sleep. And for those patients near the end of life, the treatments being offered may no longer be of benefit, causing more pain than good. The answer to discomfort for those who are very ill is comfort care, ...

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Draping a shroud of 30's Depression on any dust bowl child can thicken the skin, so my 88-year-old patient learned to be fiercely independent with a “talk to the hand” attitude, and “don’t get in my way” personality.  Even after her husband passed away, she remained autonomous traveling and golfing in her social circuit. Living life as a smoker was always a threat to her health, and this year became a ...

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Somewhere along the way I learned to believe that if a declaration is written down on physical paper and signed, it carries with it an almost magical certainty of follow-through: it can be framed, cited, stored in a safe, and, if need be, brandished in a court of law. This is an interesting idea in the realm of advance directives. Well-intentioned advance directives The goal of an advance directive is to protect ...

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shutterstock_150470876 I became a doctor because I was excited by the idea of helping people every day. Following a lifelong fascination with science, I found myself in medical school, surrounded by bright classmates. We bonded over late night study sessions at the library and kegs of beer after each exam. As all medical students do, we memorized the 640 skeletal muscles that ...

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