Tammy Fox wanted to help after a friend took ill with a rare and difficult-to-diagnose autoimmune disorder that required many trips to the Mayo Clinic. Although Fox couldn’t do anything medically, she knew there was a way to ease some of the burden of medical bills and costs associated with doctor visits. She turned to the website GoFundMe and set up a site for her friend. “You’ve got meals; you’ve got hotel ...

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During the recent winter break, I went home and visited my yearly slew of doctors for check-ups: vision, dental, gynecology, etc. In the exam room, my new gynecologist instructed me to put my feet up in the stirrups. I had recently learned in a seminar at school that new guidelines on Pap smears suggest spacing them every three years for women at my age, and I wondered, “Do I even ...

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Last week I had a patient with mild kidney disease and a high potassium. I thought that it would be easy to take care of. We called around to all the pharmacies from Bangor to Ellsworth to Belfast, and nobody had Kayexalate, the time-tested antidote, in stock. It happened to be on a Tuesday night with my Suboxone group starting at 5 o’clock. The patient had been there since 4; his ...

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Anybody who has even a passing interest in health and wellness knows the sobering fact that a large number of medical problems that plague society today are the result of unhealthy living habits. Conditions such as heart disease and diabetes, which are reaching epidemic proportions, are directly linked to poor eating and inactivity. Official statistics show that around 70 percent of Americans are overweight or obese. We live ...

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No one wants to be sick, especially when no one can tell them what is wrong. In the U.S., we live in a culture where we want instant results; we want easy answers for complex problems. However, in medicine, there are often no easy fixes. Adverse medical events happen, despite our best efforts. For example, a young child was recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes mellitus. While he and his ...

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Every time I call a friend, all I have for them is more work. I’ve never yet called to say: “I hope you’re having a great day. Why don’t you take a break and have some fun? You’ve worked enough.” Nope. I only call to give them extra work. Whether it’s 2 a.m. or 2 p.m., I need you to get away from your bed/lover/high horse and come take my patient. ...

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The chief complaint was belly pain. He described the pain as both dull and crampy. It came and went, but bothered him the most on the same night of each week. The notes from the primary care doctor show a thoughtful search for the underlying cause. There were comments about activity logs, blood tests, and imaging studies. Months later, it remained a mystery: He still had belly pain. The investigations did ...

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Imagine you’re a CEO in charge of a health care organization with thousands of physicians and 19 hospitals. Overall, the quality of care delivered is good. Prices and costs are low. But there is a problem: Patients rate your service below average. Making matters worse, a swarm of low-priced competitors have moved in, challenging your market share. You’re going to need to improve patient satisfaction to survive. What do you do? About ...

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We all have either experienced the fears of starting our first job or will eventually do so at some point in our careers.  It only happens once for everyone.  Those of us who are in the market for a job change will end up reliving some of the challenges in job hunting; hopefully, we all have learned from our past mistakes. As I am advising upcoming graduates during their job ...

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My friends and family used to say that I was born 30 years old.  I get it.  From the time I was young, I was controlled, risk-averse, studious, and polite.  In addition to the fact that I was naturally reserved, I learned over time to do my best not to make anyone uncomfortable.  I frequently refused to stand up for what I wanted, always deferring to the wishes of others. ...

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Just because something is legal, doesn’t make it right. Just because we enjoy a right of free speech, doesn’t mean we should be verbally insulting people. Just because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a treatment or a test, doesn’t mean we should pursue it. The FDA has given approval to 23andMe, a private company, to provide genetic testing directly to individuals. The results provide genetic risks of contracting several ...

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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a common diagnosis in children today, and is increasingly a diagnosis assigned to adults, too. ADHD is a real thing, despite some having some skeptics and a few outright denialists; differences in brain scans between persons who have it and who don’t show there is a definite physiological basis for the disorder. But in practice, we don’t do brain scans. We base the diagnosis on ...

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Congratulations to ZDoggMD's latest, One Sikh, an ode to all the immigrant clinicians who care for our most vulnerable patients.

One of the major challenges of being on medical school rotations is the necessity of changing rotations every four weeks, and how adapting to each new specialty feels like going through the first day of school all over again. I want to share my experience on other side of the coin. About a year ago, I started participating in Stanford’s Continuity of Care program, a clerkship in which I am excused from ...

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An August 2018 paper in Academic Pediatrics found an unsettling conclusion: Breastfed newborns have about double the risk of needing to be hospitalized in their first month of life, compared to babies who were formula-fed. The numbers are solid, and they jibe with the real-life experience of many pediatricians, including me. So what should we do about it? The study itself looked at about 150,000 healthy, normal newborns born in ...

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Most don’t realize how easy it is to become debt free. Instead, they envision a horrible drop in lifestyle and great sacrifices that include turning back the clock to medical school days where they were living on peanut butter and ramen. When in fact, no sacrifice is required to become debt free. All it takes is to decide that becoming debt free is what you want and then stop borrowing ...

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There is a lot of grousing in the financial independence community. Especially from those of us above the age of thirty. We look at the young people in this community and shake our head knowingly. We grumble some version of the same slogan. If I only knew then what I know now. We repeat this refrain often but put little energy it to consider if it is true. Would I do ...

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Not only is an audit unlikely to happen — if it does, it’s rarely a huge deal. Few words inspire such fear in the hearts of Americans as “IRS audit.” But one of the biggest mistakes that taxpayers make is letting fear of the IRS stop them from taking advantage of tax savings they deserve. Especially for locums tenens docs and other 1099 income earners since the 67,000-page tax code favors ...

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Here’s what most medical experts agree on: People 50 and older should be screened for colon cancer. Here’s what is more controversial: Whether that screening should start, routinely, at age 45. Recently, the American Cancer Society (ACS) recommended that colon cancer screenings start at age 45. Their recommendation was based in large part on an uptick in the number of people 45 to 50 years old who are being diagnosed with colon cancer ...

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I could hear the scream from across the room. It was shrill and filled with panic. Any parent can identify the difference between the cries of normal toddler discomforts and a true emergency. I dropped what I was doing in the kitchen and found my three year old lying motionless on the ground, unable to move his left arm. My five year old was looking sheepishly down at the carpet, afraid ...

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