“Hello? Hello, Mr. Bertsie. It’s Dr. Robey. I wanted to call you and check on you,” I said into the phone stopping my constant wrestling with papers and resting what was in my hands on my lap. Mr. Bertsie and I were meeting in the equinox. “Oh, hello Doctor,” he said with a little relief, a little surprise, a little delight in his voice. “I’m doing OK. I walked the dog ...

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In July, I found myself needing to step away from social media and news coverage of the recent shootings in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Dallas. Being a psychiatrist has made me sensitive to the toll of pain and anguish that life may bring, even as a bystander. This occurs even more so when I can all too easily imagine myself as a victim of one of these unfortunate events. In the aftermath ...

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I recently took care of a young patient whose case left an impact on me. When I admitted him, he was fighting a lost battle with cancer. A few months prior to admission, he had been experiencing new headaches. When he sought medical attention, he was diagnosed with an extremely aggressive brain tumor that had spread to his spine, and was given a very poor prognosis. Unfortunately, his condition deteriorated quickly thereafter, ...

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I was in the break room at the hospital scarfing down a power bar between three-hour cases. The truth is, I was multi-tasking: eating, writing on a chart, and checking my email on my phone. I had received an email from a businesswoman, whom I have known for a few years. She wanted to know if I wanted to join her for lunch next week. I had to laugh out loud. The rest ...

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"I'm going to the doctor next week for my yearly physical." So normal. Of course you are. Everyone should do that. But the concept of a yearly examination of one's whole body to see if everything checks out fine is a relatively new invention and whether or not it is necessary is a very controversial question. I just read an article by Abraham Verghese, an internist and champion of physical diagnosis, professor at ...

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Let me preface this blog by stating that I write this to stimulate discussion and debate, not to sway opinions. Today, doctors are required to spend more and more time doing administrative work -- including checking off electronic boxes in the electronic medical record (EMR) -- the result is less quality time with patients. Now, those that are in Washington, DC think that requiring physicians to ask about guns in the home ...

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My medical student found it difficult to get any information from a patient. When she presented the patient’s medical history to me, she was quite flustered and did not know what to say. I went with here to talk to the patient and met the same wall. It is not always an easy task finding the patient within. Often, when what a patient is saying doesn’t make sense, or it is ...

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"Why do you want to go into family medicine?" my internal medicine preceptor asked. It was an innocent enough question. I'd known from day one of medical school what I wanted to do, so I answered with confidence, and perhaps a bit of a chip on my shoulder. "I love being with people and getting to know them," I said. "I've always been this way, so it makes sense that's what I ...

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Dear Hippocrates, I want a divorce. Let’s face it, you and I were young, idealistic, and naive when we met. Everyone said we were perfect for each other: valedictorian and humanitarian. We thought we could change the world, one sacrifice at a time. Sleep deprivation, grueling academic hurdles, delayed gratification. We proudly wore those badges as a testament to our commitment together when we started our board certified family medicine profession in ...

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We were the consummate lovebirds. We studied together, exercised together, and went grocery shopping together. When she started medical school, I took a summer job in the school’s maintenance department, just so we could eat lunch together. We couldn’t fathom being separated an entire day. It was a magical time. We worked hard, played hard, and talked late into the night -- yet rose early the next morning, energized and ready to go. ...

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