Religion and spirituality play a role in both patient’s and provider’s lives. Despite this, medical school is usually an atheistic experience. I went to a state-run medical school. No consideration of religion happened throughout my entire medical school or residency curriculum. It was a long apprenticeship to the god(s) of science. A survey in 2015 found that although a majority of people felt doctors asking ...

Read more...

Since childhood, I have suffered from severe stabbing headaches. Then in my first year of medical school in anatomy, as we peeled back the scalp of our cadaver, I saw a nerve poking out of a muscle on the back of the skull. With a flash, I knew that I was seeing the source of my pain. But despite identifying it, it would be another five years before I ...

Read more...

Stigma towards health conditions interferes with access to compassionate care. Both social stigmas from friends and family and medical stigma from professionals are issues. Perhaps the worst recent example of medical stigma is how people with HIV/AIDS were treated in the 1980s. They were isolated physically and spiritually. While in medical school a professor related that on the HIV floor the food trays were left outside the door like ...

Read more...

Some children present to me with complex problems or multiple problems that fail to resolve after the typical interventions. I recall a child with severe abdominal pain. He had tried numerous medicines and had had scopes and studies galore. It had reached the point where he was being scheduled for exploratory surgery to try and see the cause of his pain. I lost track of his case when I rotated elsewhere ...

Read more...

I have had a complex relationship with music. As a child, I had several instances of feedback that I was “bad at music.” When my class would sing at assemblies, I would get side glances and subtle and not so subtle clues that I should be at the edges and sing quietly. I played the viola from second to ninth grade. I had fun in orchestra class. For the rehearsals, I ...

Read more...

I spent the summer between the first and second years of medical school in the emergency department at Cincinnati’s major trauma hospital. More specifically, I spent summer nights there, studying the effects of interpersonal violence. Cincinnati is both a friendly city and a violent city. People say “Hello” when you pass in a corridor. At first, coming from Boston, this mid-West style of friendliness took me aback. At the same ...

Read more...

Unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, overeating, or lack of exercise lead to chronic health conditions, and many patients wanting to make positive changes to their health may seek the advice of their doctor to do so. But our insurance payment system works against supporting people when they want to act in a healthy way, and some of these payment decisions seem rooted in prejudices against those suffering from certain conditions. Smoking ...

Read more...

I have been working in pediatric primary care for nearly 5 years post-residency and truly love my work. I currently am dealing with very painful post-herpetic neuralgia and many people with this quit working. At some personal cost, I have continued my practice because I find my work day so rewarding I simply can’t imagine not being a practicing pediatrician. On a given day I might see a newborn fresh from ...

Read more...

Six months ago, I had severe right flank pain. In the ER, I had an ultrasound showing a possible kidney stone. I deferred a CT scan and went home with medication. I fit the textbook picture: I had abnormal imaging, and I was given a treatment and discharged. I was advised to return if the pain worsened or failed to resolve. I briefly improved, but then the pain returned much ...

Read more...

“Paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and nonjudgmentally.” That’s how Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, describes mindfulness. In the book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, another thought leader in mindfulness, Shunryu Suzuki, says that, “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” In my experience, I’ve found that cultivating a beginner’s mind opens doors and improves clinical diagnosis. Medical training has ...

Read more...

1 Pages
Join 150,000+ subscribers

Get the best of KevinMD in your inbox

Sign me up! It's free. 
close-link
✓ Join 150,000+ subscribers 
✓ Get KevinMD's 5 most popular stories
Subscribe. It's free.