There I was, an awkward 13 year old sitting in the doctor’s office. For the past two weeks, I had been complaining to my mom about rib pain, and she had scheduled a visit to the pediatrician. I was very active -- I played softball constantly -- and she wanted to be sure I hadn’t broken a rib. “Where does it hurt?” the nurse asked me. “Right here,” I said, pointing to ...

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During a recent Las Vegas performance, an intoxicated concertgoer got on the stage and stood next to singer Celine Dion.  This situation could have been handled in multiple ways, but Ms. Dion never lost her composure and handled the situation with grace and kindness. She brilliantly was able to diffuse the situation without anger while maintaining her dignity and that of the fan. The way she handled the situation and ...

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As many readers are undoubtedly well aware, the doctor-patient relationship has a place of profound significance in health care. The critical importance of this relationship becomes magnified in oncology, where life hangs in the balance, and fear hangs over every soul that walks the invisible line between life and the everlasting night of undrawn death. In the winter of 2015, a needle biopsy was performed on a mysterious tumor in my ...

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The current state of health care in America, in my opinion, has been negatively impacted by Big Pharma, health insurance corporations, health care corporations and a plethora of governmental mandates. All have placed an immense burden upon our practicing physicians who spend much of their day doing paperwork and inputting into computers rather than face time with their patients. Some find it necessary to leave the profession. Please give us ...

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There is a strange and peculiar place in American society. Some say that when one enters this place, there are many odd-looking people walking about wearing white coats and wearing funny looking shoes. This place has a name. It is called Medical Zombie Land. Entering into Medical Zombie Land for the first time, it is hard not to feel that one has been enveloped in a mysterious dimension of irrationality. Home ...

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According to Hesiod’s version of an ancient Greek legend, because Pandora has opened a jar stuffed full of evil by the Olympian gods, “countless plagues, wander amongst men … earth is full of evils … Diseases come upon men continually by day and by night, bringing mischief to mortals silently.” Curiously that jar was closed before hope was also allowed to escape. Is the legend an expression of how bleak the ...

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Healthy or not, everybody has his or her share of frustrations in life. The chronically ill don’t have a corner on that market! This piece focuses on frustrations that are unique to those with ongoing health issues. I’ve experienced all of them as a result of being chronically ill with a debilitating illness that settled in after I contracted what appeared to be an acute viral infection in 2001. Here are ...

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My job as a standardized patient (SP) at several different medical schools means that I spend a lot of time being interviewed and examined by students at every stage of their education. Occasionally, the interview is of such a nature that the SPs are told to dress in a certain “costume” because it signifies to the student that there is something about our cultural representation that affects our medical care. ...

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Until genuine rights are extended to all patients, the ongoing health-care-reform saga perpetrated by Congress and executive leadership will continue to fail the American people. Many Americans have suffered and died because of a broken health-care-delivery system. One of us lost a 19-year old son due to lack of certain patient rights – specifically the right to evidence-based medicine and the right to a complete discharge plan from his hospital. ...

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It is not enough to know that a patient’s medical condition warrants an MRI. For most insurance companies, a diagnostic test of this sort requires what is known as a prior-authorization. But, the doctor saying the patient needs this test often fails. The insurance company has a certain guideline the patient must travel first before they will consider the test. For example, a patient with back pain and numbness in one ...

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