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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Victor Frankl is an Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist, and Holocaust survivor, who survived three years in the concentration camps of Dachau and Auschwitz. He once told a story about a woman, his patient, who called him in the middle of the night saying that she wants to commit suicide. Viktor Frankl kept her on the phone, giving her many reasons to keep on living, until she promised not to take her life. ...

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Lying in a hospital bed while awaiting heart surgery, I looked at my teen daughter and my parents, then smugly pointed out the irregular slashes on the cardiac monitor. "See these?" I said. "They're called PVCs. My doctor is going to fix them. Make them all go away." The asymmetrical rhythm, a frequent and annoying pattern of multiple skipped heartbeats, had plagued me for the last three years, despite my swearing off ...

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There is a haze lurking overhead clouding rational thinking. Thoughts wander back to times when my body was unencumbered, and I felt nothing was out of my grasp.  Maybe that was an unrealistic thought, but it is how youth and inexperience protect one from the somewhat harsh realities of growing older. Coming to terms with chronic health conditions is perplexing. There are days when everything goes just right. The sun is ...

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Some weeks ago, this writer visited with a friend who had been admitted to an inpatient psychiatric unit of a New York hospital. The friend had been there for a few weeks. Other patients have been there for longer. After spending approximately an hour with his friend, this writer was not allowed to leave the unit at the conclusion of his visit. It wasn't until 15 minutes later that one of ...

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I was an RN for more than 40 years and am now retired. As a recent hospital patient, I documented my experiences. This resulted in a letter to nurses everywhere. *** Dear Nurse, Please be kind to me. I am frightened, alone, and in pain. I am way out of my comfort zone and need every bit of encouragement you have to offer. I arrived at the emergency room a short while ago, was ...

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