shutterstock_108593645 It’s 11:00 a.m. when we finish listening to a somewhat pointless series of talks from various medical school administrators on interview day -- one on financial aid, one on the medical curriculum, another on the school’s student organizations. It’s time for the medical school tour. All the applicants rise from their seats in unison, button their suit jackets, pat down any newly ...

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I have been actively engaged in the clinical practice of radiation oncology for the last 40 years, and over the last 10 years have been asked to participate as a radiation oncology expert witness in a variety of medical malpractice cases. Radiation therapy, together with surgery and chemotherapy, is one of the major cancer treatment methods. It is estimated that 50-60% of all cancer patients seen in the USA receive treatment with ...

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Dr. Cheryl Bettigole, a New Jersey-based family practitioner and a National Physician’s Alliance board member, has written an interesting editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine in which she states she is no longer surprised when laboratories charge her patients $1000 or more for a Pap smear. According to Dr. Bettigole, the reason for the exorbitant charges are not the actual Pap smear itself (although she does mention the fact liquid-based preps ...

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As a physician in a rural health clinic, I frequently see patients who complain of anxiety. The majority of these patients are in their 20s to 40s. Some have never been evaluated by a mental health professional, and many of these patients take benzodiazepines on a chronic basis. After current review, I wonder if we as primary care physicians are good at treating anxiety, or are we contributing to drug ...

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The fight for equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender citizens has been a long and storied one. We have fought for rights related to family, marriage, anti-discrimination and service to our country.  We have reveled in the freedom to be openly ourselves in public and have cheered as the fight for equality became a priority not only for ourselves but also for our straight allies.  As Rhode Island recently ...

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Hi. I’m a 44-year old emergency physician. And I’m an addict. My addiction came to light when my Press Ganey scores plummeted after I started to stand up to the chronic pain and frequent ER patients. The fact that I have an addiction was reaffirmed when I went to my state’s Prescription Drug Abuse Summit. When I saw so many professionals from varying fields (medicine, law enforcement, pharmacy, education) assembled, I realized ...

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shutterstock_108241016 A response to Dear lawmakers: This is what it’s like to be a doctor today. With a family and financial background that eerily matches Dr. Moeller’s, please count me as one soon-to-be physician who does not share the notion that lawmakers should spend their time being overly concerned with the demands placed on physicians or physician compensation.  In fact, I find ...

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Growing up, I rarely had a steady primary care physician. Every school-physical, immunization, sports injury, and sore throat was addressed with care and diligence at a family clinic affiliated with a major suburban hospital. I opted to visit the clinic a few weeks ago for a minor concern but as I drove-in, I was attuned to the fact that the clinic I visit—my clinic—is a teaching site. Before entering medical school I ...

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My mom wrote me the following letter during my first semester in medical school. She has been a patient, and a mother/wife/sister/daughter of patients. She has been around countless doctors. Here is her take on what makes a great one. Dear Son, I am so very proud that you are becoming a physician and that you chose this profession, not for the prestige or the financial advantages, but because you want to ...

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After a week of medical school orientation, followed by two weeks in the classroom studying cellular organelles and biochemical pathways, our class was finally going to start the centuries-old rite of passage that is human gross anatomy. For many students, it will be first time seeing a dead body. The anatomy lab is where future surgeons will make their first cut with a scalpel, without the pressure of life and ...

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Why would anyone want to become a doctor?  Seriously.  Think about it, because this is a very important question for the future of healthcare in our country. The future of medicine is somewhat unclear in this age of healthcare reform, but we do know a few things. Physician compensation is currently falling while lawsuits and malpractice premiums are rising.  Doctors must see many more patients in a day to maintain their ...

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Medical residents have fewer labor protections than Chinese factory workers. While labor abuses at Apple’s factories make headlines, few people are as concerned about the lack of protections for doctors and medical students here in the United States. As a resident, I was subject to some of the worst abuses – intentionally misreported time sheets and gender-based discrimination – and after I complained, I was fired, so I sued the ...

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How many students enter college and immediately proclaim that they are  “pre-med?”  Often this declaration is accompanied with an already well thought-out choice for his or her future specialty. This incredible ability to see into the future must be hereditary, as I have had 3 or 4 different parents tell me about how their kids are going to have to choose between medical school A and B, and/or how Johnny ...

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Where is the physician outrage? Right. Here. I’m speaking, of course, about the required-transvaginal-ultrasound thing that seems to be the flavor-of-the-month in politics. I do not care what your personal politics are. I think we can all agree that my right to swing my fist ends where your face begins. I do not feel that it is reactionary or even inaccurate to describe an unwanted, non-indicated transvaginal ultrasound as "rape." If I insert any ...

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All medical students and residents, those with any sense of introspection anyway, wonder if we (they) should be on the front lines. We wonder if we should be meeting, examining, trying to diagnose and treat families and children when we know that an experienced clinician just around the corner or in the next room could see the patient, perform the procedure faster and with more panache than our feeble ...

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Always covered by an employer health plan, I had never given a thought to prescription costs – my medications had been covered by moderate copays. This changed when I retired and enrolled in Medicare (and a Medicare Part D plan). Just prior to retirement, my eyes suddenly began tear and swell so much that it impacted my vision. The eye doctor diagnosed an allergic reaction and prescribed prednisone drops to ...

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I am an enigma.  I always have been.  Some doctors think of me as a challenge while others make it clear they dislike dealing with my case.  I’ve had gastroparesis since I was born.  Idiopathic gastroparesis.  I’ve had debilitating migraines since I was 3.  Idiopathic migraines.  I’ve had several-month bouts of low grade fevers for years.  Idiopathic fevers.  Over the past 6 months I’ve started going into anaphylaxis.  Idiopathic anaphylaxis. Every ...

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The scene was picture perfect, an absolute characterization of a tropical island paradise.  White deserted beach, overhanging palm trees, crystal clear, gentle lapping waters, and a blood red sun sinking slowly into a Fijian ocean. I found no pleasure in it.  Perhaps it was the heat, or that my new wife and I had been travelling for six months?  Or that we had been on many other tropical islands and amazing places in ...

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I was paged by labor and delivery three times during the 10-minute drive from my house. I headed straight from the parking lot to the labor ward expecting a patient of mine to be close to delivery. I was wrong. The chief resident and attending obstetrician were waiting. They looked tired and worried. A woman had arrived on Friday with ruptured membranes. She was 21 weeks along in her pregnancy, and now ...

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