Eye contact is one of the most basic mammalian traits that signals an interaction. Anybody who has a dog or cat at home sees on a daily basis how much animals value eye contact (and with dogs, it signals you’ve lost the battle!). In the case of health care, during frequent emotional exchanges between two human beings, it naturally follows then that simple eye contact has to be at the ...

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John and I met as young children and were high-school sweethearts. We married and put him through college and had four children during the process. He joined the Air Force to pay for medical school, and we spent four years overseas to help pay off the costs of his education. We recently counted how many years of his life were spent being educated. If you go back to the beginning and ...

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When you enter the doors of an emergency department, what you are entering is the realm of the unknown. Needles, blood, blaring alarms and all-nighters with nurses are about to become your new norm. For your whole life, you thought good food, sleep, and TV reruns could fix anything. But those are in short supply in a place you need it the most. Oh, and when else in your adult ...

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My local hospital in an affluent suburb of New York City displays its Outstanding Patient Experience Award 2018 and Magnet Recognized status on its website. My experiences tell a different story. This hospital is located approximately five to seven minutes from my home and is my go-to in an emergency. I have multiple medical conditions, which despite my best efforts sometimes require emergency care and unfortunately admission. I was working ...

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As we have moved into the 21st century, we have witnessed a deterioration in our perception of our doctors of medicine. This has been a gradual, eroding process, quite possibly by the design of those in powers of authority in our government, health insurance corporations and the plethora of health care corporations. The assumption might have been to make these changes in the mode of operation gradually so that they ...

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Part 1 of a series. The battle I walk into my parents’ home to pick my mom up for a family gathering. And like most days over the past few weeks, palpable sorrow greets me at the door. Our old dog lies sleeping on the couch, heavy with years, she’s difficult to rouse. She finally welcomes me with a geriatric tail wag and labored breathing. I glance at the ...

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Health care safety efforts have long focused on improving the behavior of providers and improving the systems of care. A proven model of safety is in the airline industry. There are undoubtedly many parallels between airline safety and health care working toward common goals. This work should continue in both industries to ensure the safety of the people they serve. The airline safety model, though, can only look at health care ...

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“The dermatology profession exists for the primary purpose of caring for the patient. The physician-patient relationship is the central focus of all ethical concerns.” - American Academy of Dermatology, Code of Medical Ethics. The doctor-patient relationship is one of profound importance and complexity. And while doctors in training often receive quality mentorship regarding their chosen specialty, many lack good mentors to guide them in the art of the doctor-patient relationship. This is ...

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Doctors are regularly deluged with advice on how to engage patients. But how can you, as a patient, get your doctor to engage with you as a person truly? Your health — and even your life — could depend upon it. A perceived absence of empathy can significantly harm physical and mental well-being. At a recent Society for Participatory Medicine (SPM) conference (I’m a member), three ...

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Dear Lord Jesus, I just finished my shift in the ER. Of course, you knew that.  But I was thinking about how often I’m ungrateful and irritable.  I know that I complain about rules and regulations, about time-stamps and metrics and satisfaction scores and all the rest.  I know I’m that guy.  I get annoyed by people who are annoying.  (I’m glad you don’t.)  I get annoyed when I’m tired, and ...

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