As a patient who has had extensive dealings with five prestigious Manhattan medical institutions, I have taken the liberty of writing this letter from the perspective of one who has spent many long and arduous years in the underbelly of our deeply troubled health care system, and one who has seen firsthand how the doctor-patient relationship has steadily eroded over time. This relationship, so foundational to the practice of medicine, ...

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A thought, a word, a story. Simple concepts in a complex world, but they can have a profound effect on how we live our lives. Today's world may seem, at times, a blur. We are inundated every day with headlines of natural disasters, man's inhumanity to man, and simply, just life slapping us in the face. How can we maintain a sense of sanity and security when the world around ...

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Informed consent is the cornerstone of medical ethics. And every physician must defend this sacred principle from every form of evil that would seek to dismantle, degrade and debase it. If informed consent is the sun, then privacy, confidentiality, dignity, and trust are planets that go around it. For without informed consent, the descent of health care into amorality is inevitable, and the doctor-patient relationship is doomed to ruination, oblivion, ...

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I sit before you and others like you, in silence, anxious about what I might be told. You deliver a litany of questions to my countenance as I sit in a chair beside you. Your attention is diverted to the cold and detached computer screen where my responses are entered without you ever noticing the fear in my eyes. There is no acknowledgment to indicate a level of understanding of ...

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One day I found out that it was National Limerick Day. I didn’t even know there was a National Limerick Day. I investigated other "days" and found out that September 7th was National Grateful Patient Day. So, this grateful patient will start her post with a limerick: There was a patient in a flimsy gown, Who was also wearing a frown. She was getting a bad cold, And feeling cold and old, She wanted another ...

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Darkness covers the sky so that no light can enter the soul. Only a silhouette of life is possible — only a shell devoid of existence, devoid of meaningful experiences. Living is like walking in a dense forest where its canopy envelopes all who dare to enter. The falling rain is black. It covers everything like a shroud. The air is so heavy, breathing is, at times, too much to ...

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After many years of being mostly housebound by chronic illness (which includes chronic pain), here are a few of the dilemmas I’ve faced over and over. I’m confident that I’m not alone in my “should I/shouldn’t I?” world. Do I accept an invitation from a friend to get together or do I refuse it? If I refuse the invitation, depending on who issued it, it may be the last one I’ll receive ...

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What if it is your parent? Your spouse? Your child? Imagine supporting a loved one through a journey of serious illness. You go to all the appointments, know all the medications, almost feel the aches and pains as if they were our own. You repeat the same thing over and over again to one doctor after another making sure nothing slips through the cracks. Did somebody write this down? Isn’t this ...

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If one more person tells me to be sure to take care of myself, I'm going to bury my face in a pillow and scream. "Go for a walk, take a vacation," they advise. I know they're trying to help, but really? Giving me one more thing to do? Oh well, they're just doing the best they can. I moved my folks across the country, from Florida to Washington State, and into ...

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I remember reciting a phrase during my childhood that goes something like this, "Step on a crack, break your mother's back." So as I would walk back and forth to school, I would make a conscious effort to avoid any and all cracks in the sidewalks for fear of bringing unwarranted harm to my mother. This was a pretty difficult task to accomplish since in my small hometown, cracks in ...

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