I started November 8th so hopeful. The polls were a comfortable 78. I wore my new berry colored pantsuit purchased especially for the election. I even wore my suffragette sash to work. The last face I saw before stepping into my office was a young woman in her 20s who gave me a thumbs up and that knowing smile that said, I’m with her too! Every woman I met had ...

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The day after the 2016 election I went to work, and from medicine, I better understood the outcome of the election and the next goal of America. Driving into the hospital, I called the ICU of an acute rehabilitation hospital to check on a patient. He had sepsis from a very complex urinary tract infection which exacerbated his chronic hypotension. He already had renal failure on dialysis and was on chronic ...

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Guess what America?  If you pay for health insurance, you’re giving billions upon billions to health insurance CEOs, hospital administrators, pharmaceutical company CEOs.  So, if you’re obeying the law, you’re contributing to their astronomical salaries. In fact, Cigna’s CEO made around $49 million this past year, if you read the various reports on the Internet.  The CEO at a non-profit hospital in New Jersey (Morristown Medical Center) made some $5 million ...

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Guns and gun control are divisive topics. Talking about them often ends in frustration and both parties walk away feeling unheard. A not-so-debatable point, however, is that there are over 30,000 gun deaths per year in the United States. About 80,000 people are non-fatally injured. Gun violence in this country is a public health crisis. This public health issue is caught up in political fervor, often being controlled by politicians ...

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Spend time talking with non-medical friends and acquaintances. Ask them about their medical experiences. Imagine what they want, or ask them what they want. People want to feel that their physician has spent adequate time talking, examining and explaining. They want to look into the physician’s eyes. They want the best possible care, but caring matters. Our “system” discourages such care implicitly. Physicians do not get paid to spend time with patients. ...

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In a recent PBS interview, Mayo Clinic CEO Dr. John Noseworthy suggested patients should “change physicians” when faced with non-empathetic doctors suffering from burnout.  His cavalier resolution to our occupational struggle feels like a betrayal, to both his esteemed colleagues across the country and our profession.  In my opinion, firing your physician is a risky proposition in light of the looming physician shortage. Burnout is an overwhelming sense of ...

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According to recent research, a hug a day could keep the doctor away. According to another study, Twitter can predict the chance that people will experience heart attacks. A normal blogger would look at these two findings and tell a story about the relationship between stress and health. I’m not normal. I looked at these two studies and came to a different conclusion -- that we ...

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"If my father dies, you're going down with him." The words pierced the air, and suddenly there was silence. I hadn't noticed Frank’s son at first. He'd been pacing in the back of the family group gathered in our ICU waiting room. Now, up close, I could appreciate how large and intimidating he was. And I'd just had the thankless job of telling him, along with the rest of his family, a ...

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Burnout is a popular topic of discussion among health care professionals, but preventing it often eludes us.  While burnout is common in many professions, it is particularly present in health care.  It is estimated that about half of all physicians in the United States suffer from burnout with numbers rising rapidly.  Burnout is associated with detachment from those around us and feelings of isolation.  Burnout can lead physicians to lose ...

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“Doc, I’m tired.” This is a refrain that we hear from many of our patients who have been incarcerated in California’s prisons for decades. Now past the midway points of their lives, our patients describe how the absence of autonomy -- what they eat, how they dress, how frequently they bathe, how they spend their day, and when they communicate with their families -- has taken its toll, making them weary ...

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