If you follow me for any time, you know that I’m about physicians owning your value, recognizing your strength, and balancing your life. I was doing that before it became popular to talk about. While it has a catchy ring to it, what you don’t know is that it was not always that way for me. And no one knew.  It was one of the ways that I struggled in medicine. There ...

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For weeks, the news has been all about COVID-19 and its impact beyond Wuhan, where it emerged. Just two days ago, in fact, the first case reports surfaced in the county where I live. Overnight, preparations have leapt a notch. Many will work from home. Students will learn online. Even the gym where I climb with my son e-mailed regarding steps to minimize transmission. Like most of you, however, by ...

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The elevator area on the ground floor of our hospital is split. As you enter, the common elevators are on the left, and to the right is a set of double doors, with a sign posted reading, “AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY.” And behind those doors are the employee elevators, elevators for hospital beds, and large elevators where we can run a code while traveling up or down. The employee elevators are private, ...

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An excerpt from Health Design Thinking: Creating Products and Services for Better Health. Design is the ancient practice of shaping materials to achieve goals and express beliefs. Human beings and other creatures make tools and build structures in order to survive, thrive, and dominate their surroundings. Unlike ...

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Serving others My career path has been non-traditional, but my mission and values as a psychiatrist emerge from the traditions of medicine and religion. Although I studied visual arts in college, I was drawn to the challenge and meaning of a career serving others. Understanding patients During residency at Hopkins, I was trained in a psychiatry that recognizes that similar distressful mental symptoms can emerge from several different sources and that psychiatric disorders ...

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Obesity is a topic that literally hits home for me.  For the past two years, the website WalletHub has voted the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission TX metroplex as the “fattest city in America.”  As a health care provider, this is deeply disturbing because it puts my community at high risk for a wide variety of health problems, including but not limited to coronary artery disease, diabetes, stroke, and several cancers such as liver, kidney, breast, ...

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I am a geriatric psychiatrist and am an osteopathic physician. The art of touch is a major part of my practice. I am the medical director of an inpatient geriatric facility. The patients that I see on the unit are typically suffering from dementia with behavioral disturbance. They are often agitated and anxious. For me, touch is an integral part of their care and healing. I find that when interviewing these ...

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The rapid advances of medical science, patients’ expectations, the loss of autonomy, insurers’ regulations, fears of litigation, and the documentation burden of recording patient data on electronic medical records all contribute to widespread physician dissatisfaction, and cynicism with medical practice referred to simply as “burnout.” Some have reduced their hours, some have quit medicine. Some just suffer in silence. But of the many causes, inputting information electronically is the number one “pain ...

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First, do no harm. For physicians, these are hallowed words. Within religion, they are akin to the Golden Rule and are, in fact, quite similar. In the realm of ethics, Kant’s categorical imperative, to only do what you would have seen done universally to all people, comes to mind as a suitable comparative axiom. Other professions have curious and interesting maxims as well. In politics, when you strike at a ...

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I recently attended a cardiology conference where a dear friend of mine was presenting on the topic of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. She discussed how fibrosis within the ventricle causes diastolic dysfunction, an inability of the myocardium to relax. My ears perked up. Just the week before, while on vacation, I personally experienced the inability to relax. Though I was free to lounge around New Orleans while my husband attended the annual CHEST ...

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