The pediatric emergency department’s fluorescent light cast its glow on our heads, drifting and drooping, at 3 a.m. Torn between taking a chance on rest and anticipating the next fever, headache, abdominal pain, wheezing or rash that came through the doors, we sat suspended. The nurses tried to stay awake with a parade of old cat videos and Kardashian memes, their Facebook feeds stale - no one really posts much at that ...

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I often wonder what it was like before patient-centered care became a mainstream catchphrase. Was there a poor relationship between the patient and physician in the outpatient setting? Were hospitalized patients’ feelings, desires, goals, and therapy options ignored? It amazes me that we were able to care for patients more than ten years ago without using a “patient-centered” approach. According to NEJM Catalyst, “Patient-and family-centered care encourages the ...

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Are you or a loved one aging, perhaps with a chronic heart or lung condition that limits daily activities? Do you have an older parent in a nursing home or who needs assistance with daily living activities? If so, read on and make the pledge. As physicians, we see death every day. We see death made worse and more painful by poor advance care planning. Yet, despite the certainty of death ...

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For the past several years, I have been befuddled by patients calling me by my first name (Sara) instead of my professional title (Dr. Jones). At first, I ignored this, but as it became more common, I started telling some of these patients that I preferred being called Dr. Jones rather than by first name. This took some patients aback — probably thinking I was a snob — while others ...

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I’m an ER doc. I care for patients. All patients: Those who need to be in the ER; those who don’t; those who wouldn’t be there if they knew better. For them, for you and for fun, I’ve got some tips to keep you happy, safe and away from my ER. Enjoy. 1. Never, ever say “hold my beer and watch this!” Besides “I do!” they are the most dangerous words ...

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Studies show that when people know what palliative care is, they want it. Marketing genius Seth Godin talks about offering services that are “remarkable” — so good that a person would cross the street to tell a friend. Palliative care has that kind of value, so why doesn't our message travel upstream through word of mouth? Would-be evangelists are often flummoxed by the fact that the phrase has still has different ...

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Sequels generally disappoint. Jason couldn’t match the fear he generated in the original Friday the 13th. The sequel to the “Parachute,” a satirical piece canvassing PubMed for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing parachutes to placebo, matched its brilliance — and even exceeded it, though the margin can’t be confirmed with statistical significance. The “Parachute,” published in BMJ’s Christmas edition, will go ...

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First, the cancer diagnosis. Then, the barrage of trite encouragements: You can beat this! Don’t give up. Keep fighting! It’s not only friends and family members who utter these clichés — usually at a loss of what else to say. Health care providers also attempt to bolster patients’ morale with well-intentioned but well-worn phrases too. Unfortunately, these sentiments frequently fail to have the intended effect. Instead of conveying comfort and ...

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A career in health care provides an incredible life full of experiences, challenges, and heartbreak, mixed with incredible satisfaction. With the rapidly shifting global economy, health professionals retain a large degree of flexibility and geographic independence. That said, it takes a unique proposition from a recruiter to pull one away from a satisfying position. I have, on a rare occasion, taken the bait and enjoyed great rewards as a result. ...

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My elderly patients miss the days when, in an emergency, they could call their family doctor at home, and they’d be cared for. Retired doctors reminisce about the “good old days” when they were in charge of their own schedules and could prescribe whatever drug or test they felt necessary based on years of experience. While there was a strong doctor-patient relationship in those bygone days, it was not necessarily ...

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