In a prior post, I shared my heretofore reluctance to prescribe medications for my hepatitis C (HCV) patients.  In summary, after consideration of the risks and benefits of the available options, I could not persuade myself -- or my patients -- to pull the trigger.  These patients were made aware of my conservative philosophy of medical practice. I offered every one of them an opportunity to consult with another ...

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I am against all forms of bodily pain, both foreign and domestic. I wish the world were pain-free. When I am suffering from even a routine headache, I want immediate relief just like everyone else. The medical approach to pain control has changed dramatically even during my own career. When I started practicing a few decades ago, the strategy was pain reduction. We gave narcotics for very few indications such ...

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A patient came to see me with lower abdominal pain.  Was she interested in my medical opinion?  Not really.  She was advised to see me by her gynecologist who had advised that the patient undergo a hysterectomy.  Was this physician seeking my medical advice?  Not really.   Was this patient coming to see me as her day was boring and she was bored and needed an activity?  Not really. After the ...

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People with liver failure and cirrhosis die every year because there are not enough livers available. Who should receive the treasured life-saving organ? There is an organ allocation system in place, which has evolved over time, which ranks patients who need liver transplants. Without such a system, there would be confusion and chaos. How can we fairly determine who should receive the next available liver? What criteria should move a ...

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I have written previously about the raging opioid epidemic in Ohio.  Attacking and reversing this tidal wave will require many weapons, resources and time.  Opioid addiction is a crafty and elusive adversary that will be difficult to vanquish.  Our battle plan will have to be nimble and adjusted over time, much as military leaders must do in actual armed conflict.

Here in Ohio and elsewhere, physicians must abide by new ...

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We’ve all heard the excuse or explanation that "it’s society’s fault," to explain someone’s failure.  We hear expressions like this often when an individual has committed a crime or simply failed to succeed.  Personal accountability is diluted as we are told that this person came from an imperfect home, had no role models or ample education. These arguments are often wielded by those who have been favored with society’s blessings and ...

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"I can’t stand the site of blood!" We’ve all heard that adage. Blood can provoke emotional reactions from even steely muscle-bound bodybuilders. We gastroenterologists routinely receive fearful phone calls from patients who have observed even minor rectal bleeding. Fortunately, in most of these cases, there is a benign explanation for the sanguinary seepage. If blood repels you, then gastroenterology should not be on your short, or even long list of professions under ...

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Eons ago, there was a television show where a non-human character would yell out, "Warning, warning," when he sensed imminent danger. The series was called Lost in Space where we were entertained by a set of quirky characters on a cheesy set. We loved that stuff. It’s hard to imagine today’s millennials and younger folks being transfixed, as we were, with the deep television dramas of our day. Who could ...

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A few weeks ago, I saw a patient some gastro issues. So far, nothing newsworthy here since I am a gastroenterologist. I ordered a CT scan colonography, a special CT scan that is designed to view the colon in detail. It’s the CT scan version of a colonoscopy. Why didn’t I simply perform a colonoscopy, which, unlike a CT scan, would contribute to my retirement fund? That’s an easy one. ...

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I recently opined about a decision by Anthem to deny paying for emergency room (ER) care that it deemed to be non-emergent.  My point was that insurance companies should not be obligated to pay for routine, non-emergent care, recognizing that we need a fair and reasonable method to define a medical emergency.   In my view, payment should not be denied to a patient who reasonably believes he needs ER care, even ...

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