When we think of pollution, we think of our planet: stripped forests paved asphalt black, sterile red rivers, brown-gray skies and creeping slums over once virgin land. We imagine massive dumps of civilized waste, the extermination of species and temperatures which bake the earth like a neglected oven. We mourn the global home in which we live, neglected, abused, in ruin. Do we ever think about ourselves? That is one of ...

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STAT_Logo We have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak,” said Epictetus. It’s clear that the Greek philosopher wasn’t a physician in 21st century America. If you watch doctors — and many researchers do — they speak more than listen. Studies have shown that doctors interrupt or redirect patients within the first ...

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In these strange days of unsure future health care policies, shrinking budgets, and significant belt-tightening, as we look for ways to improve access for our patients, we need to reevaluate how we to get them into care, making sure we see them in a timely and efficient manner. We have always said that in this topsy-turvy time, in the crazy state of health care, what we really need is more primary ...

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My colleague, Dr. L.T. Kim, was off this week and I covered for him. On Friday afternoon, I dealt with two of his patients and learned — or relearned — two important lessons. I saw a man with thoracolumbar back pain. He had fallen off a ladder a few years earlier and suffered from recurring bouts of back pain — sometimes with tingling in both legs. He had been to the emergency ...

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Knowledge is power. Increasingly, patients are demanding and receiving access to levers in the medical machine that would have been unthinkable a generation ago. The informed consent process, which I support, can overwhelm ordinary patients and families with conflicting and bewildering options. Television and the airwaves routinely advertise prescription drugs directly to the public. Consider the strategy of direct-to-consumer drug marketing when millions of dollars are spent advertising a drug that ...

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U.S. physicians continue to struggle to maintain morale levels, adapt to changing delivery and payment models, and provide patients with reasonable access to care. This finding from our biennial physician survey reverberated amongst the members of the Physicians Foundation. But what amazed us the most were the over 10,000 physicians who took the additional time to provide written comment on the concerns they felt most passionate about. That act ...

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2016 closed around a continued effort to "salvage" the medical profession's reputation, but the notion that it's broken continues to be counterproductive. The brightest students, for example, question the long journey and delayed gratification being a physician entails. They do the math and continue to engage in other professions that are medical but not specifically Medical Doctorate degrees or Doctor of Osteopathic degrees. These same students conclude there is no longer ...

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As I struggle with how best to respond to recent events, one thing has become clear to me: narrative matters. People’s stories matter. Words and how they are presented in written and spoken form matter. I am just a mother, just a doctor, just a writer. My daily life consists of changing diapers, getting my kids to school, managing diabetes in my patients, picking up scattered toys, treating depression, doing ...

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To say that there is no fear in the examining room is an inaccuracy. I'm not only talking patients here. Physicians may harbor just as much worry and discontent. There are the old standbys of course: The swat team of malpractice attorneys lounging in the waiting room ready to pounce or the old demon of misdiagnosis and the consequences that may follow. Few of us talk about that sinking feeling which ...

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When I read a case report in a journal or whenever a patient comes in to see me about a new symptom, all my senses are tuned in, and I know there is a diagnosis to be made. But on regular clinic days with “routine” follow ups, I find myself not being as tuned in as I would like to be. I know my patients well; we are all growing older ...

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