It is a special group, a mish-mash of medical professionals all with a common purpose: Honing the ability to practice medicine in a more empathetic and compassionate manner, which will benefit both the patient and the professional alike. All meet to share viewpoints, share feelings, share the"what might have been." Sessions are first given over to close examinations of selected prose, poetry, art, or music. Reflecting upon what is placed before them, ...

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As a relatively healthy Medicare patient, I do not visit doctors often. I have had digestive issues most of my life — probably from too many antibiotics when I was a child with recurring strep throat, or so I'm told. My husband and I had just returned from living out of state for two months while he was treated with proton therapy for cancer. My stress levels were high. I was not resting well ...

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My husband is a type 2 diabetic with mild chronic kidney disease, which has been well controlled on 500 mg metformin BID plus saxagliptin (AstraZeneca's Onglyza). At the end of last year, he got a letter from his Medicare Advantage PPO, UnitedHealthcare (UHC), advising him that the Onglyza (UHC only uses brand names) would no longer be covered and recommending he have his doctor switch him to another DPP-4 inhibitor, either ...

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The issue of noncompliance comes up repeatedly in patient care. Whether in the context of primary care or allied health care, in most situations, patients seem unreasonable and irresponsible when it comes to taking their medication, attending consultations, adjusting lifestyles, or heeding the advice of their providers. A critical examination presents the term "compliance" as negativistic and synonymous with victimization, powerlessness, and the inability to self-determine. Due to the gravity of some ...

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Mr. Fine is in for the eleventh time in less than a week. I work as a social worker in a hospital emergency psych unit. Mr. Fine is suicidal again. It is kind of late in the evening when I see him, although it is my first time, I am the only social worker on tonight. This is the usual situation, one social worker per shift. The psychiatrist takes me aside, quietly ...

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I knew things weren't right when a nurse called me on my cell phone just a few minutes after she sent me to pump milk in a private room and said that the medical team wants to meet with my husband and me immediately in a conference room. My suspicions were confirmed when we walked into a conference room and saw a long table full of doctors who all stood ...

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The brother I never knew. He was buried in an unmarked grave with other dead babies. 1960. I am now the age my mother died. She was 64 years old: colon cancer. She was a vacant, negligent mother. During one of my psychology classes in nursing school, we learned about the baby monkey experiment (the Harlow experiment), where a baby monkey was laid against a mother made of wires. It was an inanimate object ...

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The pediatrician kept on telling me that everything was fine. What could possibly be wrong? His motor skills were right on time, if not a little early.  He even had emerging problem-solving skills. He did things like push a chair up to a shelf to climb up and get what he wanted.  Three decades later, he still does clever things that make me question why he is so impaired. Unfortunately, there ...

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The afternoon that I went for a walk with Linda* for the first time was one of the moments I’ve been proudest of as a hospice volunteer, odd though that may seem. I’d first met Linda a few months prior to that, when the late fall and winter light made her and her husband Joseph’s small and cluttered apartment dark in the early afternoons. I was there mainly to visit Joseph, ...

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You are there to help bring a new life into the world, comforting and reassuring new parents. You are there in the middle of the night to return a call to a distraught mom whose child is running a high fever and is panicked. You are there to encourage and instruct a diabetic heart patient who wants to make changes in his life and who looks to you for guidance. You are there ...

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