“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind." - Rudyard Kipling I read Drs. Dhand’s and Carbone’s post with great interest: Physicians are not providers: An open letter to the AMA and medical boards. I began writing a comment; it turned into an essay. I support Drs. Dhand and Carbone in this endeavor. The word "provider" diminishes the people who cure, treat, and heal, whether they're physicians, nurses, nurse ...

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asco-logo The past year had been a tremendously exciting time to be an oncologist, and to be a lung cancer oncologist in particular. It seems we hardly have time to get used to one newly approved agent before another one becomes available. In 2015, we have seen gefitinib (don’t I know you from somewhere?), afatinib, nivolumab (twice), pembrolizumab, necitumumab, and osimertinib all ...

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At some point in our lives, and it probably happens more often than we’d like to admit, we fake it. Let’s get real, shall we friends? Think about it. Your mother is having heart surgery in a small town across the country. You are, frankly, worried sick. Do you tell anyone in the operating room, especially your patient? What would you do? If you’re like me (OK, this was me recently), you fake it. You smile at your ...

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A presentation given to the bioethics committee, Sacred Heart Hospital, Pensacola, FL. My presentation today is about the challenge, professionally and emotionally created by certain external forces, which encompasses bioethical issues when one's roles merge. I am privileged and blessed to have many roles in my life: physician, wife, daughter, mother, now grandmother, sister, aunt, friend, and colleague.  At times, these roles blend, other times, they are murky and can cause intense ...

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"How much experience do you have with human suffering?" It was a question asked of me at my first medical school admission interview, and it took me by surprise. I was expecting to be asked about my volunteer experience, my research, or my desire to become a physician. The simple truth is that most of us really don't have that much experience with human suffering when we're in our 20s. The ...

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As a pediatrician and future mother of black children, I am worried. I am worried about my patients who face possible death if they appear threatening to the wrong police officer, like Tamir Rice. I am worried about my patients who might be sleeping peacefully in their families’ home when law enforcement officials burst in with grenades like the ones that killed Aiyana Stanley-Jones. I am worried about my teenage ...

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There was a time within my professional lifetime when old records would arrive on the medical ward in a wheeled wire basket, multiple volumes with shabby pages. And in the VA of the 1980s, which still had veterans of World War I who never lived anywhere else the previous half century, the forklift could deliver not only the charts but the x-ray films that had not yet been sent to ...

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As the awareness and recognition of concussion in sports continue to increase and the frightening long-term outcomes for frequently and severely concussed athletes are realized, as a physician I cannot help but advocate drastic changes in football.  Of the major sports, it sees the highest rates of concussion, and for every highly publicized Greek tragedy of a broken NFL star (Jim McMahonJunior SeauDave ...

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Valley Medical Center was an iconic hospital and a great place to learn the craft of emergency medicine.  It was an old TB hospital that eventually became Fresno’s county hospital.  Sitting at the corner of Cedar and Kings Canyon avenues VMC was nothing to look at.  However, the combination of rampant poverty, violent gangs, and severe shortages of both doctors and nurses, made it an ideal place to do residency. In ...

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Incident reports are frequently submitted by hospital personnel. Did you ever wonder what happens to them? I have. Over the years, I estimate that I’ve heard of hundreds of such reports being filed, but rarely have I heard of a problem being solved or for that matter, any action being taken at all. In fact, I don’t even know where they went or who dealt with them. When I was a department ...

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