Are you tired of waiting fifteen minutes only to spend ten minutes with your psychiatrist? Do you hate rearranging your busy schedule, fighting traffic, and trolling for a parking space just to spend a few minutes with your doctor? Wouldn’t it be easier if you could take care of your mental health according to your schedule, instead of someone else’s? We are pleased to introduce the Automated Psychiatrist Machine (APM). The ...

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“I HEAR THEM! THEY ARE CALLING ME A CHEAP PROSTITUTE!” Her shouting is like a gas: It completely fills the space, regardless of the size of the container. The sound originates deep in her abdomen and bellows from her mouth before reverberating throughout the room. “THESE DISGUSTING MEN,” she shouts, “KEEP CALLING ME A WHORE! I AM NOT A WHORE!” Her wrinkled hands flecked with liver spots loosely hold a fashion magazine open. ...

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shutterstock_100033454 I want to wake up feeling restless and uncomfortable. It’ll be neat to drag myself out of bed to open that first bottle of wine. I’ll drink all of it within an hour. Then I’ll go to the liquor store. The guy behind the counter will know that, everyday, I will buy a pint of vodka from him. He will look at ...

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A sample agenda as the consulting psychiatrist with a homeless outreach team: 8:17am. Arrive at the office, which is in a tall building that is a short walk from the New York Stock Exchange. Speak with the case managers and social workers about who should be seen that day. 8:55am. Walk with a case manager to the ferry terminal meet Paul (note: all patients described here are composites of people ...

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Radiolab recently aired a show called “The Bitter End” that discusses the end-of-life care preferences of physicians and non-physicians. Physicians are much more likely to decline “heroic” measures, such as CPR, mechanical ventilation, feeding tubes, etc. This comes as a surprise to the hosts and, presumably, to other non-physicians. It’s a good show. I recommend it. (Full disclosure: I like Radiolab.) In the show, Ken Murray argues that physicians ...

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A sample agenda as the consulting psychiatrist at a geriatric adult home: 8:20am. Arrive at the concrete building. Wave through the locked glass door at the woman sitting behind the desk. She pushes a button and the door buzzes. Pull the door open. Say good morning. She never sounds cheerful when she replies, “Good morning.” Because there is no open stair access, take the elevator up one floor. It travels ...

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Dear Patient(s), Thank you for educating me. Thank you for letting me shine bright lights into your eyes and place Q-tips up your nose. Thank you for not shooting me a dirty look when I ask you to lift up your pendulous breast so I can listen to your heart. Thank you for letting me ogle at your protuberant belly—whether it contains a baby, a liver tumor, or liters of fluid inside. ...

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It had been about two years since I last saw a primary care doctor. I was still living in New York City. My initial—and only—appointment with that physician lasted nearly an hour. The front desk clerk had a round, pale face. Behind her was a textured wall over which ran a thin sheet of quiet water. Lush leaves spilled over the brim of the planter onto the marbled countertop. “I’ll let the ...

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Two weeks had passed before I learned what happened. I hadn’t seen him in several months. At our last meeting, the trees were full of red and orange leaves. He, as usual, was not interested in talking to me. He was sitting in front of a closed shop. “Hi. How are you?” “Fine.” People in the neighborhood took care of him. Surrounding him were several plastic bags holding neatly stacked styrofoam containers filled with soup. ...

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Editor's note: Please read Dr. Yang's entire Red Herring series for background prior to reading this post. *** The patient really is fine. She returned to the gastroenterology clinic several times for treatments to widen her esophagus. (It’s a neat procedure: The GI doctors insert a small balloon into the esophagus. They gently inflate the balloon to stretch the stricture a few millimeters. With repeated stretching, the esophagus will remain open.) The patient ate ...

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