A hundred years ago, the practice of medicine was just that: the practice of professionals specially trained to alleviate suffering and heal the sick. Doctors had a fiduciary responsibility to put the needs of their patients before their own. A small town doctor might be paid for his efforts in chickens — living or cooked. Flash forward. Medicine is big business. Trillions of dollars are spent every year in the health care ...

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When I was an intern the Durham VA Hospital, there was a sign taped to the ceiling of one of the workrooms. It said in big, bold letters: SUBDURAL HEMATOMA/PULMONARY EMBOLUS. This was to remind all house officers, at work in the middle of the night, about likely diagnoses for mysterious or confusing diagnostic puzzles. When you slapped your head in desperation and looked up, you would see the answer. ...

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