Decisions about how many children to have (if any) or what type of contraception to use are complex. For patients who are not health care providers, the doctor-patient relationship remains a critical relationship by which these sometimes difficult decisions are navigated. As a practicing gynecologist for 13 years, I continue to be mystified at how many women report to me a nearly complete lack of counseling prior to being prescribed ...

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The debate over the safety of giving birth at home, both for the mother and for the infant, has been debated for years. I’ve written about the issue myself. From time immemorial until about 75 years ago or so most babies were born at home. Now it’s around 1 percent in the U.S., although it’s much higher than that in many Western European countries. The shift to hospital births ...

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You may be aware of Ezekiel Stephan, a 19-month-old boy, who died in 2012, after his parents chose home remedies and naturopathy for the treatment of viral meningitis. The parents currently are on trial in Canada for failing to provide the necessities of life. Over the course of many days, Ezekiel's condition rapidly deteriorated, but his parents chose to "give him as much natural product as possible," including syrup, frozen ...

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There are several Tumblr sites where people submit their actual name and compare it to the name the Starbucks employee writes on the cup.  There’s “Starbucks Name Fail,” “The Starbucks Name Game,” “Starbucks Can’t Spell My Name,” and “That’s Not My Name, Starbucks.” There aren’t Tumblr sites for calling out Starbucks when they biff your drink.  “Starbucks F***** Up My Drink,” “Would You Just Look at This Beverage,” and “There’s No ...

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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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