In medicine, we speak of “seeing patients” when we are rounding in the hospital or caring for those who come to our clinics. But what about those people who may be sick but do not seek care? What is our responsibility to the patients we do not see? The Conversation This question takes on greater urgency in the current political climate, as patients face the threat ...

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Physicians have the best job in the world. Sometimes that's hard to see, but let's not forget it. Thank you, Jamie Katuna.

A free moment to read my favorite health care blog is hard to find. The days are packed with complex and time-intensive patients. In between them, I struggle to complete documentation and take care of a myriad of tasks, making phone calls and plodding through cumbersome electronic medical records. Then, there’s still actual paperwork to review and complete. I still have to make time to read clinical literature in addition ...

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I think a lot about quitting medicine lately. A lot. Then I have a morning like yesterday morning: I see a patient I've known for more than twenty years, caring for him through an adrenal tumor, a major gastrointestinal surgery and now renal failure, for which he needs a kidney transplant. As we review his last set of labs (stable, thank goodness), he is sanguine, hopeful. He may have found a donor, ...

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Walk with me, why don’t you? It’s time, don’t you think? We have been avoiding this for quite a while. But it's best to bring this out from the shadows and into the light. Let’s take a walk through part of my day. Be careful. You won’t like what you see. I don’t like this much, but I just keep moving forward, one foot in front of the other. Don’t stop. Can’t ...

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This is an open letter to everyone everywhere, especially people who live in small communities such as mine: If you drive to work, you are missing out. If someone offered you an opportunity to improve your health, enhance your happiness and creativity, boost your self-esteem and even make you richer, what would you say? Many might think it would be an offer that was too good to be true — a ...

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The consultant note read:

Weight 250 lbs. BMI 40.3.  Patient is morbidly obese.  Counseled on the dangers of excess weight.  Counseled to increase exercise and decrease calories.
I walked into her room.  She smiled at me as I walked in, a lovely smile that reached her eyes.  I scanned her record.  She was in my office for an ankle injury.  Blood pressure normal.  Weight 248 lbs., BMI 40. When I looked back at ...

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Recently, our three-year-old wandered into our bedroom around 4 a.m. waking me up, saying he was scared. As I did the previous few nights when he did this, I muttered a curse word to myself and picked him up to carry him back to his room. Upon lifting him, a wrinkle in the routine emerged — he was naked below the waist. At some point, before he entered our room, ...

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Patient-centered care (PCC) seems to be a popular buzzword among policymakers and administrators in recent years. Indeed, many physicians see our health care system as payer-centric, many patients see it as physician-centric, and no one seems to see it as patient-centric. While putting the patient at the center of what we do as physicians is critical to improving the triple aim of better care, better health, and lower costs, it ...

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Recently, I watched a disturbing video of a fellow physician being dragged out of an airplane. I find it hard to understand how these events unfolded despite Dr. Dao being a customer who chose to fly United, paid hundreds of dollars for his ticket and legally boarded his flight. Whether blame belongs with United or the Chicago Department of Aviation, this was an unsettling occurrence. Yet somehow — I wasn’t ...

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