Consider that the average American reads at an eighth-grade reading level.

That's a problem when you consider how complicated and dense the actual Patients' Bill of Rights one typically receives at health care institutions.

There is no federal bill of rights, so the document's complexity can vary by state. A recent study showed that almost half of the states' bills required a level equivalent to two years ...

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A study showed that nearly all of recent Boston firefighting recruits were either overweight or obese.

And, of those who were classified as obese, nearly half failed the required treadmill test. Ordinarily, this probably wouldn't make news, as it's well documented how slovenly American society has become.

But, because firefighters do serve a public safety function, it should be noted that they "depended on one another ...

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Do words matter, or is it just semantics?

A recent article in the USA Today highlights a study showing that nurses, student nurses and people with no health care backgrounds all "reported a greater likeliness to forgo resuscitation if 'allow natural death' was used."

Palliative care physician Christian Sinclair sheds more light on the topic, noting the ambiguity of "Allow natural death."

"What did it ...

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Patients in need of a kidney often wait years for a suitable donor.

Instead of waiting, more patients are taking matters into their own hands by arranging private kidney transactions, through internet classifieds on Craigslist or social networking sites like Facebook or MySpace. Those who seek organs outside the traditional system can potentially save up to ten years of waiting.

But ninety percent of the transplant centers in ...

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Lost in the zeal of those supporting electronic medical records is how computers can depersonalize the patient encounter.

In a nice op-ed in The New York Times, pediatrician Anne Armstrong-Coben talks about how doctors now have to make a concerted effort to look up from a computer screen simply to maintain eye contact with a patient. "I advise teenagers to limit computer time," she writes, "as I ...

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A recent study on hospice care has been making mainstream media headlines, and, of course, doctors are cast in a negative light.

The study, from the Archives of Internal Medicine, concluded that patients felt abandoned by their primary care doctors upon transfer to hospice care, and that the "feelings of abandonment resulted from lack of closure for patients and families."

Palliative care physician Christian Sinclair gives ...

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Patients don't choose the days they get sick.

There are several studies, specifically dealing with heart attacks, showing that the mortality rate increases when a patient visits the hospital during the weekend.

It appears that the same goes for upper GI bleeding. MedPage Today discusses a recent study showing that "patients with nonvariceal upper gastrointestinal hemorrhage had a 22% increased mortality risk on weekends, and those ...

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That's exactly what's happening in this case in San Francisco.

Angered by a billing dispute with his chiropractor, a patient posted a negative review on the online review site, Yelp. Now he has to defend his review in court, which is, even if the case is thrown out, not a chance many patients are willing to take.

Indeed, if the medical profession really wants to shut ...

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A study released last week reported doctors found that one in six patients were "difficult."

In addition, physicians who reported these difficult encounters tended to be young and female, leading to a 12-times increased risk of burnout.

Like any relationship, be it a marriage, job, or one between a physician and a patient, not all encounters are going to go smoothly. The editorial commenting on ...

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Initially skeptical of using seemingly commonsense checklists in the intensive care setting, an infectious disease specialist is now a convert supporting the practice.

In his regular Washington Post piece, Manoj Jain writes about his hospital's initiative in conjunction with patient safety guru Donald Berwick. The program, instituted in 2002, required checklists to be followed prior to common ICU procedures, such as the insertion of central lines, endotracheal ...

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