Recently, friends of ours had a frightening experience: They were on vacation, and ordered takeout from an unfamiliar restaurant. They specifically asked about peanuts: "Are the egg rolls fried in peanut oil? Our daughter has an allergy." The server replied: "No, no peanut oil." And so they ordered the egg rolls. Awhile after eating an egg roll, their school-aged child Anna (not her real name) complained of a tummy ache. Then, nausea. They ...

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There have been many times when I have struggled to empathize with the patient. There are certain health care issues, and certain patients, that I have found consistently frustrating over the years. I've written about this, and been pretty well chastised by readers. I don't mind, because I know that 99 percent of physicians have their kryptonite issues, and just don't talk about it. I'll take the heat for being honest. My ...

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