"Mens sana, in corpore sano," goes the old Latin saying. "A healthy mind in a healthy body."  It’s vital that way pay proper attention not only to our physical existence but to our minds and souls; to the intangible but essential part of who we are. While I write a lot about things we need to do to keep our bodies healthy, it’s important to remember that our eyes and minds ...

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If you ask people if there is evil in the world, a lot of them will smile politely at such an obviously Medieval (or Neanderthal) view of the world.  Which, of course, is a bit of an insult to both groups who were from all evidence quite intelligent folks. Some might rattle off some examples of evil.  Things like intolerance, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, and assorted others.  Disregard for the imminent ...

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There are a lot of unhappy physicians in a lot of bad situations. I know because I write for them, and they write to me. The thing is, we deal with patient satisfaction all day long. Why not work harder on physician satisfaction? I want my colleagues to have a higher "physician satisfaction score." So first off, what makes us dissatisfied? What lowers that score for the hard-working physicians of America, ...

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"Remember that patient you saw?" What a horrible question that always was. You came to work, and a friend would come up to you quietly and take you aside. "Remember that guy yesterday with the chest pain?" "Mr. Hayes?" "Yeah him." "What happened?" "He came back with a heart attack." "Oh wow, I feel terrible." It wasn’t always bad news. Occasionally it went like this: "That child with leukemia you diagnosed last month? His mother stopped by to ...

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I was working a few days ago and pulled a tooth.  Mind you, it’s not something I do with any regularity.  However, it was a very sweet little lady who was too weak and ill to get to the dentist and had other issues.  That lower incisor was loose, and constantly in the way. Furthermore, it was painful. I had seen her for something else in the emergency department.  I took ...

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I write for several publications, and I’m always pitching to new venues.  Recently I pitched an idea to an editor.  I wanted to write about gun research from the perspective of a rural physician. In particular, I wanted to ask what might physicians say if researchers found answers that were uncomfortable.  What if they found that intact families, strong fathers, religious engagement or familiarity with guns were factors that reduce ...

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My friends and family used to say that I was born 30 years old.  I get it.  From the time I was young, I was controlled, risk-averse, studious, and polite.  In addition to the fact that I was naturally reserved, I learned over time to do my best not to make anyone uncomfortable.  I frequently refused to stand up for what I wanted, always deferring to the wishes of others. ...

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I use social media.  Specifically, I use Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  In the beginning, I did so for utilitarian purposes.  As a columnist and aspiring writer of books, these were (and indeed are) useful marketing tools. I have, in the past, carried around a note-pad to jot down ideas.  I was never without my note-pad.  I always wanted a small legal-pad with a blue or black gel-ink pen.  It was my ...

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Does anyone in medicine, particularly emergency medicine, understand why we lose money? Why we have to push those metrics so hard to capture every dime? I mean, we’re constantly reminded that satisfaction scores, and time-stamps and time to door, time to needle, time to discharge, reduced "left without being seen" scores are connected to the money we make. Medicine now is far less about the wonder of the body, the ravages of ...

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Dear Lord Jesus, I just finished my shift in the ER. Of course, you knew that.  But I was thinking about how often I’m ungrateful and irritable.  I know that I complain about rules and regulations, about time-stamps and metrics and satisfaction scores and all the rest.  I know I’m that guy.  I get annoyed by people who are annoying.  (I’m glad you don’t.)  I get annoyed when I’m tired, and ...

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