I always wondered what the saying "the apple falls so closely to the tree" meant. I never bought into the concept of similar cliché sayings of “like father like son” or “mother like daughter.”  I viewed these ideas as being founded upon by poorly defined concepts of traits and inheritance. Such notions completely undermine the ideology of “I think, therefore I am” as coined by Rene Descartes. I maintain that ...

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An excerpt from Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor's Reflections on Race and Medicine. On a humid Tuesday morning, Chester arrived at a busy Durham emergency room. While the other patients around him made the usual requests for pain medications, diagnostic tests, and reassurance that they were not ...

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An excerpt from 11 out of 10: A Collection of Humorous Medical Short Stories. When I was 16, I got a job as a “standardized patient." My neighbor worked for a medical school, and they needed standardized patients for their medical students to practice talking to. Because apparently you can ...

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A colleague recently told me of a patient encounter he had in an emergency room. When he picked up the chart, it described the patient as a 62-year-old woman complaining of epistaxis, or a nosebleed. He walked into the room and saw a perfectly well appearing 62-year-old woman. There was no blood on her clothes and none on her face. Her nose was not bleeding. When he asked her what could he do for her, she said ...

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Resurge In the arms of every parent who waited on the long line outside the clinic in Mexico was a child born with a facial deformity, usually a cleft lip or palate. Many of these mothers and fathers had walked long distances, carrying their child. Some families included grandparents, aunts and uncles, and others, just a mother, and her baby. Most of these ...

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shutterstock_166815872 When the daytime soaps As The World Turns and All My Children went off the air, I stopped watching any daytime TV. So before their infamy this week, I’d never heard the name, Joy Behar. And maybe I’d heard the name Michelle Collins, but I’m thinking that name was my niece’s friend’s cousin or someone-or-other. And certainly, I’m not familiar with the ...

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Theresa arrived in a cloud of noise and commotion. She had called after four o’clock the day before, but I hadn’t noticed the new message in my electronic inbox before I left the clinic. Her almost brand new alprazolam bottle and her pain pills were missing, and Theresa was reeling. As she walked down the hall to the exam room, I heard her explain to Autumn how she had been to Walmart ...

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He had been educated at the finest universities.  He had graduated cum laude, or whatever the term is they use nowadays to signify distinction.  His pedigree was squeaky-clean. But as he haltingly entered the dark building at the end of an otherwise unexceptional suburban street, he felt more like a criminal than a scholar.  His office was drab.  Each room was glowing with the artificial light provided by an incandescent bulb. ...

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“I’ll never forget the look in your eyes.” Uh oh, I thought to myself. “You had this look that you wanted to help but just didn’t know how,” said my patient. Apparently I have very expressive eyes, and she was right. The event she was referring to was what we call a rapid response. This is when a patient’s status suddenly changes and the team wants her to be evaluated immediately. When I ...

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October 1, 2015 is a huge day to the medical community.  It is a day that will live in infamy.  It is the object of dread, of diaphoresis, of doom.  October 1 is ICD-10 day.  This view was further bolstered when I went to the CMS (Government Medicare) website; there was actually a doomsday countdown timer at the top of the page. For those still unaware, ICD-10 is the 10th iteration of ...

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