A few days ago, my Gmail app flashed an email across the screen of my phone.  By mistake, I swiped in the wrong direction, and it opened up an invitation from a medical survey company.  When I had first signed up with this company almost a decade ago, rates were much better (and admittedly, when you are making a resident salary, you don’t have a lot of pride in your ...

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As women in the medical workforce increase, women physicians are faced with the unique position of training the hardest they ever had in their lifetime cutting into precious childbearing years. Many women physicians seek time off or engage in part-time jobs to address the dilemma of fulfilling the obligations of their careers while enjoying the tender years of their babies. Others pursue non-clinical routes such as medical chart reviews or ...

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When I started treating opioid dependence, I began with high expectations. I was frustrated with what had become a mindless, ineffectual exercise in providing medication for chronic pain. I saw too many patients “circling the drain” on opioids. Most admitted they still had chronic pain despite their high consumption of opioids. Many patients needed their medication just to feel normal and avoid withdrawal. Others wished they could stop taking opioids ...

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As I walked in the room, I noticed it immediately: Norman was worse. The recurrent invasive cancer in his neck was impairing the drainage of fluid from his face making it difficult for him to turn his head, and it had progressed overnight. Despite his alarming appearance, he seemed calm. There were no more cancer-specific treatment options: the surgeons had declined to operate again; he had received maximum dose radiation; and ...

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acp new logoA guest column by the American College of Physicians, exclusive to KevinMD.com. I recently saw a 35-year-old patient of mine who came into clinic requesting brain imaging. Although she had no specific symptoms, she had a friend who was diagnosed with a brain tumor several months ago and is concerned about the possibility that she ...

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During our lifetimes, the role of physician has been shrinking, from healer to technician. You've probably seen the famous painting, Doctor and the Doll, done by Norman Rockwell in 1929. It depicts an old country doc listening with his stethoscope to the heart of a doll held up to him by a worried little girl. Today there's no time for such play, and no pay for it, either. The gradual transformation of ...

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The ancient Greeks were one of the first groups of philosophers to recognize and describe the complexity of love. Eros: an intense, passionate form of love. Philia: a deep friendship or affection. Philautia: love for one’s self. Agape: an unconditional love for humanity. These same complexities in love forms described by the Greeks play an important role in how we treat our patients in medicine. Eros allows us to have the passion ...

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As a boy growing up in a small town in Pennsylvania, I never gave much thought to the concept of a kiss. My family gave and received kisses without hesitation. I continue to give and receive kisses from my wife and kids in the same nonchalant manner. Until one night — on shift. I work in the ER of a medium-sized town in southern Oregon. It was late into my shift. The ...

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This was a momentous week for me. After 14 years of carrying a hospital-grade old-school text pager to receive messages at work, I finally traded it in for a cell phone app. It should have been easy to get rid of my beeper. But instead, I felt waves of nostalgia when I turned it off for the last time. Those 240-character, pre-Twitter, low-resolution LCD messages follow the arc of my ...

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I am a physician in recovery and just celebrated my fifth-year anniversary on October 11, 2017. While in active addiction, my drugs of choice were benzodiazepines and opioids that I washed down with top-shelf alcohol. Near the end of my usage, I was diverting scheduled drugs in order to feed my addiction. After an unsuccessful suicide attempt, I finally admitted myself for treatment. As part of the treatment process, I enrolled with ...

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