I’ve written a lot about the tough challenges that those of us with chronic illness face (chronic illness includes chronic pain). I thought it would be constructive to take what I tend to think of as negatives and see if I could turn them into positives. Sometimes I had to dig deep to turn a negative into a positive; nevertheless, here are the results of my experiment. Negative: I don’t look ...

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A T-shirt advertised online reads, “Keep calm and let the patient care coordinator handle it.” The shirt must be popular, or maybe just a source of gallows humor, for those engaged in this noble pursuit. But the underlying question of who is coordinating our medical care is a serious one. By one estimate, inadequate care coordination costs between $25 to $45 billion annually. For the individual patient with a chronic illness, ...

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Can you imagine flying home from a family vacation and having a first-time anaphylactic reaction in the air? Did you know that airlines are not required to stock their planes with easy-to-use auto-injectors that any adult or child could operate? Francine's family was flying back home from vacation on American Airlines. Her 10-year-old son, who had no history of food allergy, ate the warm mixed nuts they served and immediately had stomach ...

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STAT_Logo Thanks to a surprising and devastating diagnosis, I know more than most physicians about what it’s like to live with the brain cancer known as glioblastoma, everything from self-titrating my anti-epileptic medications to making sure the right ICD-10 code appears on my MRI referrals. As much as I’d rather not have this expertise, I’ve ...

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A partial excerpt from What Patients Want: Anecdotes and Advice. To complement posts regarding what doctors wish their patients knew, here are some things that I as a patient wish doctors knew: We’re not here for the magazines. We’re here because we’re sick, which often means we’re scared too. We’re often ...

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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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