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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Access to care, patient advocacy, health disparities: These are all buzzwords in health care now. We, as health care providers, understand that we must do the best for our patients in the hopes of providing a positive outcome. So, despite our perceptions that we may be doing a good job, we may find ourselves in a bad position. Or worse, causing significant pain to those we have vowed to protect. I ...

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Jacob is just past 30 by a year or two. He is, as I like to describe him, a little boy trapped inside a man's body and very much mentally ill. He started off with fetal alcohol syndrome, which means his mother drank heavily when she was pregnant. I am not sure I believe that diagnosis is correct, by the way. Fetal alcohol syndrome is a much more complicated condition ...

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Comical cartoons about medicine and doctors help to alleviate patient fears, make doctors laugh, nurses think, and everyone else involved in the medical field ponder the value of comics. I have been involved in creating medical cartoons for 40+ years and have created custom cartoons for doctors and hospitals. Have you ever looked at a poster in a doctor's office and felt ...

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As people, we often have multiple stories to tell, from different perspectives. Multiple stories and perspectives can be wed or braided together around the same themes. Here we braid together two separate perspectives of a patient author and a physician author, respectively. From both perspectives, this is a story about the power of care, cancer, and quality of life. Following my cancer diagnosis of nodal marginal zone lymphoma, I struggled with my ...

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asco-logo I am a firm believer that medicine is best practiced as a team, with the one undergoing treatment at the center participating fully. It’s a belief embedded in the multidisciplinary care model. I have been fortunate to have been exposed to multidisciplinary clinics in my fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and have worked ...

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