My mom was beyond vulnerable to the virus. May of 2020 marked two years since she'd become a nursing home resident—receiving care for several chronic illnesses. She died of failure to thrive due to Coronavirus 2019 on June 1, 2020, at the age of 75. As her oldest child, her health care proxy, and a health care writer for more than 15 years, I knew that a positive result in a ...

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“Time is generally the best doctor,” according to the Roman poet Ovid. But these days, in the middle of the pandemic, what doctor has time? Health care professionals already have 29-hour days. In many places, hospitals are at or near capacity because of Covid-19 cases. Some hospitals and staff are functioning in crisis mode; chaos reigns, particularly in areas where the surge came on suddenly.  As a result, clinicians are stretched ...

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Modern medical practices are assisted by advances in technology but remain challenged by the costs of doing business.  Physicians and surgeons are meeting the need to deliver care to large caseloads by employing nurse practitioners and physician assistants and using patient portals to report test results, answer questions, and arrange appointments, including telemedicine consultations.  These systems are designed for efficient care-giving that enables the physician to personally address only the ...

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In March, I began receiving photographs on my social media apps of my daughter’s Match Day celebration seven years ago at Tulane Medical School. It was a glorious day, in particular, because my daughter got her first choice: Not only would she be an internal medicine resident at a top-tier hospital in New York, with a reputation for excellent training, but she would be in the same city as her sister ...

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In cancer language, it’s not unusual for the medical or scientific meaning of a word to be different from the way the same word is understood in everyday language. Sometimes the difference reflects a focus on populations vs. individuals, and in that case, the context in which the term is used is critical. Media reports often add to the confusion by failing to clarify these differences. Here are five frequently used ...

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Recently, I made a doctor's appointment with a new physician at a different hospital system. During my last encounter with our family's primary care doctor, his angry, unprofessional and unnerving behavior not only scared me at the time — it scared me away for good. So forced to navigate away from crazy — I found myself with this new doctor. Upon entering the front door of the new medical center, I ...

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February is a short month. Even this year with leap day. So short. Maybe that is why I am so mad at what Company X did to me. My health insurance company stole eight hours and six minutes from me in February. I will never get it back. This is my story of trying to get Company X to pay its part of two drugs I take for seizures. Very important drugs. ...

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I am a retired union plumber with the state of Illinois. I've had laparoscopic surgery on both knees, a lower back surgery that required two stainless rods, and I'm not sure how many screws, and three cervical fusions. I now suffer from neuropathy (nerve dysfunction) in my feet. They're painfully numb: A shoe could come off, and I wouldn't know it. I find it difficult to get around — not to ...

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A radical change is emerging from within our health care system: Rather than deny or defend medical errors, some hospitals are acknowledging them upfront. This enlightened response has been gaining ground since 2001 when the University of Michigan Hospital introduced one of the first medical error disclosure programs: the Michigan Model. Hospitals that adopt the model also promise to explain why the error occurred, apologize, offer fair compensation, and learn from ...

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Ed is not from Kentucky. I believe he told me he is from West Virginia and from a very low-income family. At about 15, he was hit by a car and paralyzed from the waist down. He's now about 30. But for a guy in a wheelchair, he is nothing short of remarkable for what he gets done. He goes everywhere, either by his own strength or by bus, even on ...

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