by an anonymous physician I am a physician now in recovery. I don't like that term. The correct thing to say is, I am sober.  I am going on a year sober without any problems. Recovery suggests some disease state and I don't think it is that simple.  It also suggests an ongoing daily struggle or effort to remain sober, and I don't find that the case, either.  I know this ...

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by Mary Lynn Summer I am a nurse. Like most medical practitioners, I am afraid of malpractice attorneys and view them as a threat to my nursing license. Every hospital has a system in place to deal with medical errors and patient complaints. I used to think they worked, but now I don’t. My mother, in her late 80s, recently broke her hip. She has dementia so is unable to appropriately express ...

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The waiting area in Bellevue Hospital was full. Every chair was taken. But the people kept streaming in. More chairs had to be brought in. It wasn't clear if the room could accommodate everyone. This wasn't the emergency room or the clinic waiting area, however. It was the scene of the Bellevue Literary Review poetry and prose reading. More than 100 people poured into Bellevue Hospital on a Sunday evening to ...

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by Daphne Swancutt Two people in the United States just died in the last hour. Seventeen more will die in the next 7 to 8 hours. Over a year, that number will accumulate to about 7,000. The reason? Medical errors that include misread or otherwise misinterpreted handwritten prescriptions. Believe it. This means that doctors are being sloppy, pharmacies are making mistakes and people are getting dead. Even more ...

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Being a physician always has been a busy job. This is especially true for primary care physicians who set as their goal the delivery and coordination of comprehensive care for patients. Achieving such a goal requires availability, a broad spectrum of medical knowledge, effective use of the local health care system, and attention to both the “big picture” and the details of a patient’s life and ...

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shutterstock_81843283 Emergency physicians, nurses, and paramedics are a superstitious lot. I thought it might be interesting for those not in the business to read about some of our superstitions. In no particular order, here are my favorites. 1. The "Q" word. "Quiet." it's truly the kiss of death. The "S" word, "slow," carries the same jinx. Usually some newbie nurse or clerk who is ...

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My father suffered a mild heart attack last year. In his 80+ years, he has never had any indication he had a problem with his heart!  A variety of other health issues have arisen over time, but Dad’s heart was always thought to be as strong as could be. In fact, despite protestations (“I don’t really think these chest pains are a big deal… let me just ...

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When I first stared hearing about the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) concept, I perceived it to be a euphemism. For whatever reason, the concept of primary care or family medicine hasn’t resonated with politicians, corporate benefits managers, or the general public. To me "medical home" was just a warm fuzzy term that at least gave an unknowing listener a sense of the benefits of a strong relationship with a competent primary ...

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It has been reported that up to 60% of doctors suffer from symptoms of psychological job-exhaustion, or physician burnout, leading to diminished career satisfaction, substance abuse, divorce, quitting the profession, and suicide. An article in a recent Journal of the American Medical Association by Helen Riess, a Harvard psychiatrist, attributes much of this psychosocial carnage to the loss of an empathic connection between doctors and their patients. The author summarizes a ...

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Ethyl alcohol kills large numbers of Americans every day (about 200), almost all legally. Tobacco kills large numbers of Americans every day (about 1,200), almost all legally. Americans also use many illegal psychoactive drugs and some of these also kill, but the numbers are much smaller. We don't know what the effect on American mortality figures would be if these illegal psychoactive drugs were legalized or decriminalized, but it is a topic ...

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