"Death comes for all of us. It is our fate as living, breathing, metabolizing organisms. Dealing with the fact of death is unsettling. Yet there is no other way to live." - Paul Kalanithi, MD Recently, first-year students of the medical and physician’s assistant classes completed their seventh and final practical exam in clinical anatomy. Through fifteen weeks, 117 students learned the structures of the human body organized by region, working from ...

Read more...

Kahlil Gibran writes, "In friendship or in love, the two side by side raise hands together to find what one cannot reach alone." What types of outcomes can physicians and patients achieve in healing, living, and life when Gibran's message is incorporated into the physician-patient relationship? Can humanism in medicine become even more humanistic? "Humanism in medicine" is characterized by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation as respectful ...

Read more...

I’ve just discharged a kid with a cough, and there are no patients waiting to be seen. “I’ll be back,” I tell the nurse, as I slip away to the hospital kitchen and unlock the door. I steal two frozen grilled cheese sandwiches from the freezer and throw them into the microwave. Minutes later, I’m in the call room. I take a couple of bites and can already feel acid rising ...

Read more...

Consuming too many potato latkes and Christmas cookies has left its mark on our waistlines. Unfortunately for Americans and their medical care, the seasonal overeating seems to last all year. Indeed, the American Medical Association has declared that obesity is a disease. It may be more accurate to describe obesity as a contributor to certain diseases. Obesity raises the risk of premature death, heart disease, high blood ...

Read more...

Americans are not fans of socialized medicine. Sure, some people want socialized health care payment, including many people who are fans of Medicare for all. But even most Bernie Sanders supporters probably aren't in favor of socializing the entire U.S. health care system, thereby making hospitals and medical clinics into government property. Americans are proud of the high quality of care offered by non-government providers, from their local community ...

Read more...

Anita is 37 with blonde, wild, disheveled hair. She is overweight, has bad teeth, wears too much make-up, and is severely depressed — sometimes psychotic. She tells me she often hears voices. And she constantly complains that the medicine she gets from our clinic (and she gets a lot), does not take the edge off her feelings. She has severe anger and is in an anger-management group at our offices. Each ...

Read more...

First, you have to call up your daughter to pick you up and take you to the lab. It’s hard for the nurse to find your vein. The pain from his fishing around in your arm is not nearly as bad as the pain you always have in your hip, and back, and shoulders, but it’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back, and you cry a little bit. The ...

Read more...

I knew Friday was not going to be a good day. A leak in the ceiling of my family room.   A pet who would need surgery.  I was already stressed well before Friday. But at work, the issues started on Thursday with an osteoporotic patient for whom I had recommended Forteo, six weeks earlier.  It was denied by her insurer who wanted Tymlos instead.   No big deal.  We simply precerted Tymlos, but ...

Read more...

One of the largest problems in our ER, it seems, is that there is a subset of patients who visit us on a routine basis. Commonly known as "the regulars," these familiar faces are sprinkled throughout our day between all our other patient visits. Whether it be for chronic pain, for chronic illness, for companionship, simply to have a place to hang out for a few hours, or to get ...

Read more...

I, along with some others, take Presidents Day as an opportunity to celebrate the lives and contributions of all U.S. presidents. Amid the praise, however, perhaps I alone feel compelled to describe their skeletal maladies. I have gleaned the following information from several websites and books that carefully detail the reported injuries, diseases, bad habits, and addictions experienced by U.S. chief executives throughout their lives, starting with George Washington’s ...

Read more...

As we embark upon this new decade, many of us are committed to improving our finances. We may have vowed to stick to a budget or have a general goal to live below our means. While these are noble goals, let’s challenge ourselves to do even more. Here’s my six step-money challenge for 2020:

1. Buy 1 or 2 finance books to read. There are many different ways to ...

Read more...

Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer diagnosed in men in the U.S. According to statistics gathered by the American Cancer Society, approximately 191,930 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in this country in 2020, with one in nine men at risk of being diagnosed with this cancer during his lifetime. While advanced or aggressive disease can lead to death from prostate cancer, most men ...

Read more...

Egotism is a common trait among doctors, although most of us keep it under adequate control when dealing with patients. The ideal doctor-parent encounter has been described as a collaboration among equals, each of which brings expertise to the exchange; the doctor knows medicine, the parent knows the child. This is the ideal, although sometimes the reality falls short of it. The way our medical system is now structured gives ...

Read more...

My uncle died last year. As physicians, we are all too familiar with death. Even if we are practicing primary care, we are touched by death and the line between life and death. That patient who had what statistically should’ve been acid reflux, but who you found to have stomach cancer. That breastfeeding mom who thought a little lump was a clogged milk duct, when it actually turned out to ...

Read more...

Karen smiled nervously, her swollen belly peeking out from under her stretched silver tank top. Six months pregnant with her first child, the eighteen-year-old had come to the WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) office for help with getting enough to eat. As a medical student with a background in nutrition advocacy and a future in pediatrics, I had asked to observe the WIC enrollment process.

Karen and ...

Read more...

If you asked me five years ago what my career goals were, I may have said something about getting more grant funding and writing more manuscripts so I could eventually become an independently funded physician-scientist. But honestly, at that time, I had no concept of the nitty-gritty details and emotional support that it would take to accomplish those goals. My primary research mentor was a notable figure in our field ...

Read more...

The patient was well over 6 feet tall and looked like he had recently lost weight. When he took off his winter coat and hung it over the back of the chair, I could see his scapulae like wings under his sweater. He folded himself into the chair and carefully crossed his legs. He sighed softly as he arranged his ...

Read more...

Experience and skills are not enough to assure the highest levels of success and sustainability with improvement initiatives in healthcare. The reason this is true has to do with ... quicksand. When I was a kid, quicksand seemed to show up in movies quite a bit. People would be on the beach or in the jungle walking on what seemed like solid ground and suddenly get stuck. In quicksand, you lose ...

Read more...

In an earlier post, I pointed out that there is no better chance of passing a Medicare for all health care plan through Congress in the coming years than there was in 1977, or 1993, or 2009. Then Elizabeth Warren showed us just how politically unrealistic single-payer health care is when she released her funding plan and then quickly backtracked to the public option ...

Read more...

When I first saw Jea-Hyoun, in a medical meet-cute straight out of a romantic comedy, she was being evaluated for thyroid cancer. I was an allergy/immunology fellow harried by a pile of paperwork. She was a patient, in the same building where she saw patients of her own as a psychiatry and family practice resident, preparing to see the specialist. We made awkward small talk in the hallway before she ...

Read more...

896 Pages

Most Popular

Join 150,000+ subscribers

Get the best of KevinMD in your inbox

Sign me up! It's free. 
close-link
✓ Join 150,000+ subscribers 
✓ Get KevinMD's 5 most popular stories
Subscribe. It's free.