shutterstock_99170549 In a field filled with history, data, and very smart people, it can be difficult to do anything with confidence. And yet, this is one of the most desirable traits a doctor can have, that and a light hand when it comes to handing out narcotics. However, I have never been a fan of over-confidence. I feel that if you are going ...

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shutterstock_114520012 In the late 19th century, Dr. William Halsted, a pioneer of modern surgical techniques, performed ultra-radical mastectomies for women with breast cancer. The procedure, soon named after him, involved the surgeon removing not only the breast itself but also surrounding musculature and the associated lymphatic system. Halsted believed, and taught generations of medical students, that the more radical the procedure, the higher the ...

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shutterstock_173882891 Patients are entitled to receive medical advice 24 hours a day. If you call your doctor at 3 a.m., you will reach a physician who will advise you. Of course, it may not be your own personal physician as this individual cannot be expected to be available 365 days a year until he retires. Physicians partner with colleagues who share on-call responsibility ...

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Money-640x480 I’m a physician entrepreneur. In 1998, I opened my first clinic. My malpractice: $500 per year. Then I tried life as an employed physician. Hated it. So in 2005, I opened my ideal clinic. Best. Job. Ever. My malpractice: $1,230 per year. Want low premiums? Here’s how I did it. A quick tutorial. New malpractice policies mature over five years. So the first ...

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Mid-November, and Christmas music is already blaring from speakers camouflaged in silver holiday tinsel. Frank Sinatra’s croons reverberate throughout the barren expanse that is Somerset Mall at 8 a.m. “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas…” It’s raining outside. I begin to laugh and try to explain the apparent irony to my grandmother, but my attempt gets lost in translation. My Chinese is poor. Her English, poorer. ...

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shutterstock_174773759 If someone was sitting on a veranda somewhere in the Alpha Centauri system, reading about health care in America of planet Earth, one would most likely conclude that the family of viruses known as the common cold are destroying a health system already crippled by a glut of poorly educated physicians practicing their miserable craft on a slow-moving ...

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shutterstock_206417596 acp new logoA guest column by the American College of Physicians, exclusive to KevinMD.com. In the spring of 2009, I represented the American College of Physicians (ACP) at a meeting in Washington of health policy experts discussing payment reform. When I arrived at the cocktail reception the night before the meeting, a ...

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shutterstock_124029454 Jim almost convinced me.  The burning in his chest, after all, could have just been gastroesophageal reflux.  He assured me that the sensation was nothing new; that he got it from time to time after a large meal and took Tums.  I couldn't, however, ignore that it seemed to worsen with activity.  The pain was bothersome enough to drag him into my ...

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When a doctor makes a mistake, it’s rarely out of ignorance.  We usually have the knowledge we need. Instead, most medical mistakes happen because we’re tired, distracted, hurried, or indifferent -- or maybe some combination of those things. Since physicians rarely publicize their personal frazzled-and-frenzied, pooped-out or burned-out quotients, health care consumers shopping for a doctor often consider Board certification as a kind of Good Housekeeping seal of approval. The “board” ...

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shutterstock_239583778 A few months ago, the father of one of my best friends was diagnosed with cancer. He had to have surgery to remove the tumor. His father, being someone I’d known since childhood was like an uncle to me. After the surgery, I sat across from him in an otherwise empty hospital room on a sunny day in beautiful San Diego. It ...

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