I was about 13 years old. I heard that she had cancer and I went to the hospital to visit her.  Her name was Sister Pat, and she was my former principal and my favorite teacher from elementary school. I don’t think she had reached her fortieth birthday.  I was too young and uninformed to ask about any of the details.  However what stuck with me and I remember so ...

Read more...

The medical assistant swabbed my nose and my throat multiple times. Pricked my finger too. Then, the phlebotomist (or vampire?) drew bottles and bottles of my blood. Along with the physical discomfort, there was emotional discomfort too. What would the test results show? If they were all negative, would I be satisfied without having an answer? Being a patient can be extremely vulnerable. Not only do you often divulge to a ...

Read more...

I spent the evening of the 2016 presidential election and the morning after on an emotional rollercoaster. It began high and then descended into shock, disbelief and grave concern about the future of our country. Now that we have selected a candidate who intends to take the country in a radically different direction, and I worry about the consequences of reversing the Affordable Care Act, reversing economic assistance programs, and ...

Read more...

For a century, the white coat has been the symbol of the medical doctor. Today, the vast majority of medical schools in the U.S. begin with a white coat ceremony. There, the fledgling, future doctors stand together and recite a modified version of the Hippocratic Oath before being called up one-by-one to receive the white coats that they will wear throughout the upcoming trials and adventures of medical school. The ...

Read more...

Physician burnout has received a lot of well-deserved attention lately. Characterized by emotional exhaustion and professional frustration, it's tied to an array of adverse consequences, from physician suicide to poor patient outcomes. Organizations are waking up to the need to measure its prevalence and ameliorate its impact. There seems to be two broad schools of thought about the causes — and by extension, the fixes — of physician burnout. The first focuses ...

Read more...

On November 1973, I had an epiphany.  My first week on my internal medicine clerkship, I realized that I had found my specialty: internal medicine. Prior to medical school, I had worked with emotionally disturbed children in an inpatient hospital.  I really enjoyed the experience, and learned a great deal.  During my first two miserable years in medical school (I disliked how they taught the basic sciences and even more how ...

Read more...

If we, as a country, focused on and invested in prevention as the basis for health care, the system in the United States would be transformed. However, the physicians who provide primary care services tend to have the least status and are paid lower than other specialties. They are often mandated to do tasks and paperwork that are burdensome, time-consuming, and unrelated to their skills as a physician or their ...

Read more...

ZDoggMD's take on mind-body medicine: "Western medicine has historically been appropriately skeptical of so-called mind-body approaches, given our tendency to want to explain causality in terms of molecules, receptors, and other such reductionism. After all, what do we call 'alternative medicine' that actually works? Medicine ... Let’s study it more, and let’s stop being afraid of the hippies."

Dear doctor mom, I’ve been a physician for 13 years.  For the past 7 years, I have also been a mom.  A growing number of experiences made me decide to write this letter.  I hope other moms don’t attack me.  I do not mean to downplay their struggles, or to insinuate that doctor moms necessarily all have a harder time compared to other moms.  I only focus on you, because I ...

Read more...

Two years ago, I wrote about my experience in a London emergency department with my son Victor. That post has since been viewed over 450,000 times. There are over 800 comments with no trolls (a feat unto itself), and almost all of them express love for the National Health Service. I was in England again this week. And yes, I was back in an emergency department, but this time ...

Read more...

Most Popular