The best part of my job is interviewing residents and watching as gears begin to turn in their minds when I ask:

  • What made you decide that you wanted to be a doctor?
  • What is your purpose in life?
  • What legacy are you creating?
  • Which position in your field will truly fulfill you?
  • What type of community do you seek in order to meet your wants and needs?
  • Are you ...

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I am an emergency medicine physician in an inner-city emergency department, and I would like to start by stating a simple truth: coronavirus is not going away any time soon.  Cases are climbing in practically every state and show no signs of slowing down. From my personal perspective, things are getting worse. Every day I am treating more and more patients who are ill with COVID-19 ...

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If a core goal of our nation is to have the healthiest population possible, then we need to rethink, regroup, and restore our commitment to health practices and processes that are aligned with this mission. We are currently investing our precious social and economic capital into a health care system that is wildly inefficient, too expensive, confusing, and failing most of us. As costs continue to spiral upward, the patient ...

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Twenty-five years have passed since I finished my residency, and a lot has changed. Back then, we hand wrote all our notes, and the only time we looked at a computer screen was to obtain laboratory results. Now, residents spend more time in front of a computer screen than at the bedside. I contend that electronic health records (EHR) are an obstacle to learning the art and practice of medicine during ...

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I have written, or more accurately ranted, about electronic medical records (EMR) systems throughout this blog. While the systems have clearly improved since their mandatory introduction into the medical universe, they have still not delivered on many of their promises. Of course, EMR has brought tremendous advantages to the medical profession, and we are all grateful for the technology. But this progress has exacted a cost. Many of them are clumsy ...

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"When doctors ignore the evidence showing that a support system doesn’t have to be traditional in order to be effective, that’s not a medical judgment. It’s a personal prejudice that puts singles at serious risk. Classifying patients as married or unmarried when studying the effects of social support undoubtedly makes research easier, with groups determined by a simplistic either-or. But since social ...

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Care. I do not believe we have ever heard more about care at a presidential nominating convention than in this year's Democrat convention. "Patriotism," "justice," "bravery," "strength"?  For sure.  But "care"? Scarcely a word. Yet we now hear that the role of the president is to "care about and for the people" he governs. Socrates spoke of the task of a ruler to care for his subjects as the shepherd who cares ...

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COVID-19 caused the nation to shut down and wreaked havoc on everyone’s daily lives. International travel has been halted, restaurants and businesses have been closed, and large gatherings and celebrations have been forced to be postponed or canceled. After six months of quarantine and social distancing, however, people are developing pandemic fatigue. Over 150 candidate vaccines for COVID-19 are currently being investigated in different phases of study. With a few entering ...

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My favorite patients were the older physicians who came to me as patients. I was humbled, grateful, and awed by each of them. For some reason, I had quite a few physicians as patients, and caring for this group is interesting. It was not until I got old enough and had issues needing a doctor for myself that I learned how hard it is to walk both sides of that ...

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In the hospital, hand washing is critical. Studies have repeatedly shown that handwashing reduces hospital-acquired-infections with impressive magnitude. But how do you motivate hospital workers to wash their hands? In a study, professors Adam Grant and David Hoffman demonstrated that the phrase “Hand hygiene prevents patients from catching diseases,” increased handwashing over the alternate phrase, “Hand hygiene prevents you from catching diseases.” An appeal to altruism was more effective ...

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The number of women going into medical school has risen to top the number of men admitted. Harvard has its first Black woman student body president. I am seeing more and more women sharing their experiences and uplifting other women in my physician coaching groups. “It’s like, we’re not going to take this anymore,” said Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, referring to sexist comments made by a colleague in Congress. You have to admire ...

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"Single payer is the solution. And the time for it is now. A single-payer system would guarantee health care coverage immediately to every American. So whether a loved one gets sick from COVID, has a heart attack, or gets in a car accident, she will receive the care she needs without it causing financial hardship. A single-payer system will eliminate employer health insurance ...

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Optimal results are achieved when the patient takes an active role in the wellness plan. This is a phrase published in a brochure describing the details of my work. As a specialist in neuromusculoskeletal medicine and osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMT), patients often present with pain, which is usually multifactorial in nature. Given that the majority of evaluations result in the use of osteopathic manipulative treatment (OMT) to address mechanical dysfunction, there ...

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Judging from the shortage of canning jars and lids in grocery stores recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has spurred fresh interest in home canning (a potentially dangerous practice that has declined since its peak in 1943); and because the public expects doctors to know everything about health, it may be educational for physicians to consider the tragic case of the unpeeled potato.

I recently read a Facebook post in a ...

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In the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic, getting a flu shot has never been more important. Many people are staying indoors, wearing a mask, and washing their hands frequently. In this environment, patients ask me, “With all this social distancing, do I really need a flu shot this year?” The answer is unequivocally, “Yes!” Even the safest practices do not guarantee that a person won’t catch the flu or the coronavirus. ...

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, a glaring trend has emerged, one that has long helped forge the American religious cultural landscape, but has now blossomed in full force, particularly within many Christian fundamentalist circles. As a physician who is also an evangelical Christian, I constantly live with the tension of balancing the practice of my faith and the results of sound scientific investigation with the opinions of patients and others within ...

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After three months of physical therapy, her doctor told her that it was time to get an MRI. She had already paid off her annual deductible, meaning the imaging test would “only” cost her the $150 co-pay. An imaging center near where she worked charged $1,500 for the test. Just two miles away, another facility would have just charged only $900 for the same test. She arranged to go to ...

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"Doctors are people, and people are capable of prejudice and discrimination. But, in medicine, there is no place for prejudice and discrimination because a patient’s life is at stake. Stereotyping a customer and assuming that they cannot afford a certain product is emotionally hurtful, but it is far less dangerous than stereotyping a patient and misdiagnosing a life-threatening condition. The nature of ...

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Work-related stress causes 120,000 deaths and results in $190 billion in healthcare costs yearly, and U.S. businesses lose up to $300 billion yearly as a result. Stress, depression, and anxiety are, unfortunately, part of the modern human condition. Busy and ambitious healthcare professionals especially are burning out at record rates while experiencing severe mental trauma during this pandemic. On Patriot Day, Medscape published a study showing that 64 percent of U.S. physicians ...

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Do you know how much your time is worth? Those of us who are 1099ers can easily tell you our hourly wage. Now, what about everyone else? Well, there’s a quick trick. Take your yearly salary and divide it by 2,000. So if you make a salary of $200,000 per year, you are making roughly $100 per hour. Now there are a few assumptions. To start off with, there are actually 2080 ...

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