I have picked up Mr. Reynolds (not his real name). He is a frequent visitor to the ED for alcohol intoxication. He was found drunk on a street making a scene, and a good samaritan called him in. Paramedics bring him in. He is not bashful about showing his discontent for his arrival to the ED. He promptly flips off the charge nurse and continues to verbally berate the paramedics. The ...

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As physicians, our patients generally look up to us as people who make a great impact on their lives and sometimes even save them. But over the last year, I’d have to say that it’s my patients who have repeatedly saved me, starting with a four-month-old baby girl on November 9th, 2016. The morning after election day, I walked into my first patient’s room at 9 a.m. Like most of the ...

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I ran a 5K last weekend. I succumbed to peer pressure. The more others talked about running it, I decided I could be a runner too. My patients describe their HIIT workouts (high-intensity interval training, for those of you not in-the-know), PiYo classes (Pilates-Yoga combination), increasing mileage for an upcoming duathlon/triathlon/marathon, and now I can proudly share my measly 5K experience with them. Of course, I will leave out the small ...

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Years ago, our government had a problem with health care. Medicare and other health care costs were spiraling out of control. It was clear that the problem was rapidly advancing technology and pressure to provide that technology to everyone who was demanding it. But the government, as usual, choose a politically motivated solution. They went after the one group involved who was the most disorganized, least clear on its desires and ...

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You’ve probably heard this story before: a young physician, who has spent all of his or her life succeeding and building goals, stumbles into a career without meaning or enthusiasm. Indeed, my story about burnout is much like the rest. Like so many before me, I entered into a career in medicine motivated and eager to change the world through the care of my patients. I grew up in a family ...

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The United States of America, home of the free and land of the great. So many have died attempting to flee from war, dictatorships, and poverty to gain access. Once a country with such strong influence, it's now divided by bipartisan views and gridlocked actions. As a nation, we struggle to find solutions for our poor outcomes. Why does such a great country rank so poorly in education and health ...

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When I found out my patient was in the hospital again for the third time in six months, I wondered why her asthma had flared. Was the cold weather bothering her? Was her treatment regimen inadequate? When I spoke with her, I discovered the heartbreaking truth: she had been limiting her albuterol inhaler use because she simply could not afford to take it as much as she needed. For many of ...

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Looking at how incredibly expensive the last few months of life are for anyone in this country, I think most would be quite shocked. In 2014, there were approximately 2.6 million deaths in the U.S. According to a Keiser Permanente study, 2.1 million of those deaths were Medicare related. Medicare’s annual budget is right around $600 billion, and it has been revealed that one-third of that total is spent in ...

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Let’s get one thing straight: You already have kick ass skills as a physician, skills that are valuable outside of clinical care settings. So whenever my physician friends turn to me for advice on making a transition in their career, I have to remind them: It’s not about learning new skills, it’s about translating your existing skill set to new business applications. Think digital health startup CEO, chief medical officer, ...

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Recently, I took a few minutes to fill out a survey on physician burnout.   A slew of studies offer estimates of physician burnout of up to 50 percent.  In my field of primary care, the documentation and regulatory burdens may cause the number to soar even higher. I am rounding out my fifth year in a busy suburban private practice and I am not burned out.  These questions moved me to ...

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The key to staying on time in a busy clinic and to finish the day unscathed is to be in battle mode from the get go. The ten rules outlined below will help you to achieve that goal. 1. Make sure your bladder is empty, and that you are well hydrated. This goes without saying. You don’t want to finish the day with ...

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Hospital email is supposed to be secure. This means that when you get an email with possible sensitive information, you receive a link to connect to a secure email product, requiring passwords, sign-ins and maybe even a bit of personal information. Being what they are, hospitals tend to swap software products and we find some new “secure solution” that hits us, urging us to give email, make a password and possibly ...

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"Please walk slowly," cautioned Sunita, my interpreter, as I crept down the stony switchback trail towards the rural Nepali village of Dhulikhel. Sunita, in her petite navy ballet flats, hopped down the rocks as easily as the speckled goats grazing nearby. Emboldened by her speed, I stepped along eagerly, only to catch my size-ten neon running sneaker on a root and splat face-first into the dust. Looking up, I saw four ...

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The patient is a 27-year-old Caucasian woman: slender, well-groomed. She is sitting in the office of her urologist, and she is unconsciously twisting her hands as she interrupts the doctor, having finally worked up the nerve. "I know you told me to expect some pain for a while after the lithotripsy. But I've been having pain in my bladder, even when I don't think there are any stones. It started two ...

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I love my doctors. I have an undiagnosable autoimmune disease. It's mostly manageable, my lab work is perfect, and I rarely get sick. I get allergy shots and take blood pressure medication. I always have at least low level, mostly familiar, physical symptoms. Occasionally a new one appears. Sometimes it is scary. I could have sued any or all of my doctors over the last decade-plus. I could be "livin' large." They ...

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STAT_Logo My grandmother was filled with grief as she told me by phone about life on the island of St. Thomas after Hurricanes Irma and Maria had blasted through it. “Tears keep running from my eyes uncontrollably because everyone on the island is suffering,” she lamented, then paused, too sad to continue. I could picture her in her ...

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I wonder what the best thank you any physician has ever received?  I think this one is mine.  This recent thank you was for our efforts to not save a child but for simply allowing this family to have a few more days with their infant who ultimately passed away.  This amazing thank you has deeply and positively affected me so much ...

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Since the Department of Transportation (DOT) requires an annual checkup, and getting a yearly physical is generally a smart way to take care of one’s health, it’s a wonder why many truck drivers tend to avoid their yearly exams. Are they tired of the long waits, which may seem like more time spent away from home and family? Do they fear that the stress of their jobs, and perhaps ...

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This is a special moment of female liberation, sisterhood, and solidarity. Tens of millions of women have used the #MeToo hashtag to share long-held secrets of sexual harassment and assault. The disgust generated by one extremely slimy Hollywood mogul has triggered a spontaneous worldwide outburst of disgust, righteous anger, and determination to effect social change. The movement is worldwide and includes women from all races, religions, and social classes. It started with ...

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A resident suffering from depression drinks too much and sleeps through a hospital shift the next morning. Another resident walks out of a patient room in the midst of a panic attack. As family medicine educators, how do we best handle these health concerns in our residents? The pendulum in medical training can swing in two directions. At one end, residents are indoctrinated into a macho mentality, where the need for self-care ...

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