Illness is the night side of life, a more onerous citizenship. Everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick. Although we all prefer to use the good passport, sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify ourselves as citizens of that other place. - Susan Sontag, Illness as a Metaphor Words are important. ...

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Jewish history has all too often been written in tears … I am fascinated by people and groups with the capacity to recover, Who, having suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Are not defeated by them but fight back, Strengthened and renewed. - Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, PhD,To Heal a Fractured World In some situations, the whole idea of complete recovery from bereavement makes no sense.  Bereavement can be fully expected to last a lifetime.  ...

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I have been a victim of diagnostic overshadowing by a primary care physician.  I’ve been dealing with major depressive disorder, recurrent, severe and anorexia for twenty-five years -- practically my entire adult life.  However, I work full-time and I’m a published writer.  At the time I saw this PCP, I was on hefty doses of Cymbalta (an antidepressant) and Abilify (an antipsychotic which can also be used to boost the effects of an ...

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shutterstock_134903705 My illness has been as hard on my caregiver-husband as it’s been on me. I know how fortunate I am that he’s stuck around and that he never complains about the extra burdens he’s had to take on. My heart goes out to those of you who don’t have someone to care for you in this way. This piece covers several ways ...

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The e-patient movement represents everything that is positive in medicine today.  This grass roots force has introduced shared decision making and empowered both physician and patient.  The quality of health care dialogue has risen meteorically both in the exam room and out.  Today's health care "consumer" is more engaged, more intelligent, and more agile at wending their way through the confusing maze of sickness and health. It's awfully sad that it ...

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Many of our patients are besieged with unsolicited Internet advertisements offering them unbelievable solutions and cures to most of mankind’s medical maladies.  Patients come to and ask for advice about these promises to magically restore their health. Since I receive so many requests from patients to evaluate these offerings, I have put together five questions that patients should ask themselves before proceeding to buy from websites offering outlandish claims, including restoring ...

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Just a few years ago it seemed that advocates for health care transparency had scored a big victory. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that they would rate nursing homes by awarding five stars to the best and fewer stars to lower-quality facilities. Families searching for care for loved ones would have access to a familiar rating system to help them make choices. After all, star ratings for ...

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Everyone involved in health care, and particularly hospital care, has witnessed a sea change over the last decade. Things that were never even thought about, let alone formally taught to frontline doctors and nurses, have now come to the forefront. Chief among these is the drive towards improving patient satisfaction and delivering a more optimal hospital experience. True, a large part of this is due to federal incentives and tying reimbursements ...

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shutterstock_186576560 Ink is everywhere these days, and I don’t mean on newspapers or in magazines. Tattoos are far more pervasive than I can ever recall in my fifty years. There was a time, when I was young, that boys were awestruck by the old Navy veterans, whose arms bore anchors, and the Marines with Semper Fi across their battle-scarred chests. Occasionally, when ...

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I wish I had a dollar every time someone gets misty-eyed about the physician-patient relationship -- and two dollars every time they say protecting it is the key to health care. That might be true, if you thought health care was awesome circa 1960. Hereʼs what the physician-patient relationship meant back then: Physicians say, patients pay. We have seen little progress since then. The claim that the relationship is now symmetrical ...

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