Dear lawyers: You got it right. Your operations make sense. I know this is wrong for me to say -- doctors and lawyers are often at odds with one another -- but I have to tip my cap here. I have this unsettling feeling that -- from a professional standpoint -- your billing practices make sense. And the way you do your documentation also makes sense. Your delegation and hierarchy make ...

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Climate change. Global warming. The greenhouse effect. Devastating wildfires, dangerous air quality. Catastrophic weather events and mass human migration. It all sounds like post-apocalyptic fiction except that it's real. Inside our air-conditioned offices and homes, it can still be possible to be optimistic. Maybe it's nothing out of the ordinary. Maybe it isn't our fault and would have happened without human activity. Maybe we don't know what will happen and ...

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“First Aid For The USMLE Step 1 — cost: $45, format: reference book.” “Pathoma — cost: $99 (1-year subscription), format: video explanations + reference book.” “SketchyMedical — cost: $150 (1-year subscription), format: cartoon video memory device.” Our naïve MS2 eyes were glued to the screen as our noble MS3 predecessors clicked through the slideshow, pausing to talk about which third-party study resources were “super high yield” and which were only “moderately high yield” ...

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As physicians, we are constantly faced with a daily barrage of meeting minimum RVUs, while keeping up with EMRs as part of the necessary components to successfully practice medicine. This has resulted in a decrease in personal interactions with patients, which has caused an increase in physician burnout and suicides. Attempts to reverse these negative impacts have resulted in instituting wellness and meditation clinics and debriefing after traumatic clinical events ...

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One of my favorite scenes in the recent Apollo 11 IMAX film was a dramatic panning shot of mission control moments before lift-off. Row after row of mission specialists, engineers, astronauts, communications technicians — all looking ahead in silent, unbreakable focus. All 100 percent dedicated to the three men about to lift-off into history. It was a truly mesmerizing portrait of teamwork. While astronaut safety is the focus of every individual ...

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I recently read an article called "Inefficiency and luxury" in which the author stated that he has never tried to get any frequent flyer rewards, and in fact doesn’t even have a frequent flyer number. This statement left me a bit confused when I first read it. I’m not one who likes to leave money lying on the table. Then he ...

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You’ve probably heard this one in one format or another: kid gets wisdom teeth yanked, dentist prescribes a handful of Vicodin, next thing you know, he’s on the street busking for change to pay the man for the big H. Meanwhile, the dentist is on cruises paid by Big Pharma and taking kickbacks from his local drug dealers. This author is here to tell you that such yarns have probably been verified, ...

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A 69-year-old man with a medical history of hypertension, diabetes, and obesity with a body mass index of 33 was admitted with altered mental status. He and his wife were returning from a 14-day Alaskan cruise. On their return, the wife started noticing that her husband was behaving strangely and acting forgetful and had short-term memory loss. This gradually progressed to generalized confusion and altered mental status leading him to ...

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Self-compassion. Perhaps this sounds like a contradiction in terms. Compassion is expressed for others, not oneself. Compassion, as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is the “sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress with a desire to alleviate it.” Compassion is about allowing oneself to be with the emotional discomfort of someone else’s suffering with the hope of lessening it. Health care personnel do this every day. It is part of being human to have ...

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This eating contest season, there was only one death this year, as far as I can determine. A 41-year-old California man died in August while participating in a taco eating contest at a minor league baseball game. The coroner said he choked to death. In case you were wondering, the Associated Press thoughtfully stated: “It was not immediately known how many tacos the ...

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What is the unspoken fatal epidemic of our time? And the greatest predictor of overall health, happiness, job satisfaction, and resiliency? Loneliness. As a clinical cardiologist, I am committed to the health and well-being of my patients. As a recovering burned-out physician who suffered in silence for years while hiding this so well from others, I am committed to finding solutions to help my partners suffering so often in silence. As a husband, ...

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Head and neck cancer surgeons know when “the questions” are coming. A casual conversation eventually turns to, “What do you do for a career?” The pleasant exchange is replaced with talk of disfigurement and life-threatening illness. The person’s brow furrows. “How can you deal with that day after day? Isn’t it depressing? Why didn’t you pick something happier for a career?” These are legitimate questions. As a medical student many years ...

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I always knew there were disparities regarding men and women in the field of medicine. However, at the beginning of my training, these inequalities seemed so fictional to me, I could only compare them to dragons and unicorns. The fact that this topic was only occasionally mentioned seemed to solidify my belief that inequalities between female and male physicians were rare. My mind was solely focused on the various aspects ...

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As people, we often have multiple stories to tell, from different perspectives. Multiple stories and perspectives can be wed or braided together around the same themes. Here we braid together two separate perspectives of a patient author and a physician author, respectively. From both perspectives, this is a story about the power of care, cancer, and quality of life. Following my cancer diagnosis of nodal marginal zone lymphoma, I struggled with my ...

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Whenever I give a talk about health care, I ask the audience, “What is the worst addiction problem we have in the United States?” The answers are typically the same, and all are good guesses — alcohol, tobacco, opiates, and sugar are most frequently cited. I agree these are all terrible addictions that need to be addressed, but, in my opinion, the worst addiction in America right now is health insurance. That ...

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What is your gut reaction when you hear the words "hospital chaplain?" Maybe it's an eye roll or confused stare about what you believe to be an incoming attempt at religious conversion. As a family member anxious about a loved one in the hospital, maybe it's a sigh of relief. As a patient, maybe it's an overwhelming fear of incoming bad news. Health care chaplaincy is chronically misunderstood, beginning with ...

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I was a brand-new intern in the intensive care unit, and Cassandra was the very first patient I saw there. A petite, slender woman, she was rolled in on a stretcher, accompanied by her tall, athletic husband, Jack. Cassandra was in her 20s, like me — but mortally ill. That grabbed my attention from the start. But the biggest lesson she taught me came about because we got her prognosis all ...

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Residents and fellows around the country have bought into the "medical training myth." The myth states: "Life will get so much better when I finish residency/fellowship." Sadly, too many house staff buy into this false belief and experience tremendous letdown when they graduate. Residents often see their attending stroll into the team room with a cup of coffee at 8 a.m., ready to round. Meanwhile, they think, “I’ve been ...

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The World War II veteran, now in his 90s and receiving hospice for end-of-life care, was playing military anthems on his harmonica for fellow veterans. But the next minute, reliving the horrors of combat, he grew agitated and started to cry.  “Oh, all those bodies!” he suddenly called out. “Terrible, terrible! Oh, the bodies.” He finally blurted out what he had kept to himself for decades. Two days later, he ...

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asco-logo I am a firm believer that medicine is best practiced as a team, with the one undergoing treatment at the center participating fully. It’s a belief embedded in the multidisciplinary care model. I have been fortunate to have been exposed to multidisciplinary clinics in my fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and have worked ...

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