Most of us would agree that there aren't enough valid and meaningful health care quality measures to guide patients' choices of hospitals and physicians. While the federal government has steadily expanded the number of publicly available measures on its Hospital Compare website, it still falls short of what many patients, payers, and providers would like. This is particularly true in the realm of outcomes such as ...

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If only being in the OR can be as smooth as the singing from Gary Corzine's group, the Laryngospasms.

Resurge In the arms of every parent who waited on the long line outside the clinic in Mexico was a child born with a facial deformity, usually a cleft lip or palate. Many of these mothers and fathers had walked long distances, carrying their child. Some families included grandparents, aunts and uncles, and others, just a mother, and her baby. Most of these ...

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"For Me There Are Mountains." This is the title of a poem written by a college friend. It’s been almost 30 years, and I have yet to come across words that better define my life, words that immediately resonated with my soul and “understood” me -- understood that for me, mountains symbolize at once life’s challenges and rewards, and understood that “there are” is neither choice nor conviction, there just are. For ...

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Medical oncologist, Dr. Ranjana Srivastava wrote on the subject on how doctors treat doctors may be medicine's secret shame in the Guardian back in February 2015. About a month later, vascular surgeon Dr. Gabrielle McMullin used a book launch speech to expose the problems of sexual harassment in the surgical profession.  She highlighted a story of where a neurosurgical trainee had refused sexual advances and subsequent to launching a formal complaint, ...

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In medical training, one of the main things that is emphasized is the importance of acting professionally. We encounter patients who have a particular idea of how doctors are supposed to act during the patient-physician encounter, and for the most part, I expected that they would want a doctor who is caring, but serious, at the same time. In those encounters, we are focusing on the health of patients, a very ...

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I walk into a tiny ER room and shut the glass door behind me. The smell is dizzying. I look down and see a frail man lying on a stretcher. A soiled bandage on his left leg is halfway unfurled. He is diaphoretic. He sleepily opens his eyes when I say his name. For me, I have barely begun my assessment, but the writing is on the wall. This man ...

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“Why aren’t you treating this patient?” Over the phone, the pediatrician’s voice crackled with disdain.  I had just spent the last 5 minutes explaining why I didn’t think surgery was necessary for a patient whom the pediatrician had referred to me (unwillingly, as she pointed out during our conversation -- the patient’s insurance wouldn’t cover visits to the much bigger competitor hospital that she normally referred to).  I remembered the little ...

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A Finnish group randomized patients with acute appendicitis to surgery and antibiotics and found that antibiotics were successful in 73 percent of patients. Depending on how this is framed, you can celebrate a 70  percent success or lament a 30 percent failure. Much of the debate in health care is a battle of framing.  The study has limitations. Finland is not just a land of the
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“A good surgeon has the eye of an eagle, the heart of a lion, and the hand of a woman …” – 15th century English proverb #ILookLikeASurgeon, a hashtag on Twitter and the movement it has inspired, has resonated deeply with me. I look like a surgeon. There is so much more behind this seemingly simple statement of fact. I am not just stating that I have excelled and I have achieved and ...

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