The other day while having my lunch in the doctor's lounge, I ran into one of the older physicians who works at the hospital. He had a weary look on his face, and so I inquired if he had a tough call night. “Actually, I haven't slept well in a few months,” he quietly responded. It turns out he was being sued by a family who had only seen him once ...

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As part of my pediatrics rotation, I recently spent a week taking care of patients at juvenile hall. The patients were physically healthy for the most part; I saw them for screening physicals that they receive while incarcerated. However, these encounters were far more than a typical physical. Instead of focusing on medical issues, we primarily talked about health behaviors and general well-being. It was a rare opportunity to interact with ...

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On January 5, 2016, emergency crews were called to Our Kids Daycare and Learning Center in Middleton, Idaho. The reason: concern for carbon monoxide poisoning. The daycare center’s director Robin Hagaman noted that some of the 12 toddlers in the classroom were acting strangely when they awakened from their naps and were also noted to have dilated pupils. In addition, two of the teachers were simultaneously experiencing headaches and ...

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As a child and adolescent psychiatrist, I have the privilege of working with many children who are victims of severe abuse, neglect, and trauma.  Some, in turn, become perpetrators of violence. One adolescent, let's call him Steven, told me that he wants to be an electrician, but he is struggling to earn his high school diploma, which he needs in order to enroll in technical school. When I inquired about ...

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Potential patients -- usually parents -- occasionally ask me if I am "vaccine-friendly." After having this question posed to me numerous times, I’m prepared for the conversation that follows. I’ve tried to ease into it in various ways, but none has proven universally comfortable. The question's phrasing is telling about a person's perspective. It implies that their previous experiences with physicians were perceived as "unfriendly." Also, my defensive side infers it ...

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Men, we need you. We -- mothers, daughters, and sisters -- need your help in raising healthy young women. We need every ounce of masculine courage and wit you own because a father, more than anyone else, sets the course for a daughter’s life. After more than 20 years of listening to daughters -- and doling out antibiotics, antidepressants, and stimulants to girls who have gone without a father’s love -- I ...

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If you’re like most parents, you want your kids to be healthy. And if your kids are like most kids, that isn’t always the case. The most frequent illness of childhood is the common cold, and children -- especially those in daycare -- can get several of these infections per year. While cold viruses rarely result in significant complications, they certainly cause their share of discomfort, lost sleep, ...

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Wow. For those who think MOC isn’t a big deal, my open letter to the American Board of Pediatrics just hit 70,000 views.  That’s stunning. For those commending my bravery,  realize efforts like this are not done in isolation. I am not alone. I have the most amazing partners. I can’t even express how blessed I am to work with the ten doctors in our private practice. Not only do we share ...

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(The following story was told to me by a friend; details have been changed to protect privacy.) An early winter snowstorm left Janet with an unexpected whole day alone with her 17-year-old daughter Ally. As was typical for the pair, they spent the morning in comfortable separateness. Janet took advantage of the opportunity to catch up on paperwork, while Ally stayed in her room working on college applications. In Janet's view ...

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I have a new hero. Her name is Mona Hanna-Attisha, MD, MPH. Dr. Hanna-Attisha is a pediatrician in Flint, Michigan. She grew up in a suburb of Detroit. She graduated from the University of Michigan before attending medical school at Michigan State University. During her clinical years (the 3rd and 4th years of medical school), she spent many months at Hurley Medical Center in Flint, which serves as a clinical ...

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