Long-time “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek announced in March that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Within days, he offered thanks to “the hundreds of thousands of people who have sent emails, texts, tweets, and cards wishing me well regarded my health.” Then last month, Trebek reported that his cancer was in “near remission,” saying that his doctors “hadn’t seen this kind ...

Read more...

Medicine need not be confined to the role of cultural bellwether, a sheep with a bell on its neck that reveals where the whole flock is headed. Along with other professions such as law, clergy, and education, medicine can and should play the leadership role of a shepherd, helping our society to develop more thoughtful, balanced and generous approaches to the challenges that face us. After all, the word
Read more...

Gratitude may be more beneficial than we commonly suppose. One recent study asked subjects to write a note of thanks to someone and then estimate how surprised and happy the recipient would feel – an impact that they consistently underestimated. Another study assessed the health benefits of writing thank you notes. The researchers found that writing as few as three weekly thank you notes ...

Read more...

You can tell a lot about a job and the people doing it by asking them to describe their best day at work. For Ali, a 28-year-old pediatric cancer social worker, that day occurred one year ago. A 17-year-old cancer patient who had been given two months to live made a bucket list. On her list were graduating from high school and getting accepted into college. So Ali and her ...

Read more...

The news was bad. Mimi, a woman in her early 80s, had been undergoing treatment for lymphoma. Her husband was being treated for bladder cancer. Recently, she developed chest pain, and a biopsy showed that she had developed a secondary tumor of the pleura, the space around one of her lungs. Her oncology team’s mission was to share this bad news. Mimi’s case was far from unique. Each year in the ...

Read more...

Many Americans have never visited a predominantly Muslim country and may know relatively little about the faith of Islam. This is relevant in light of the Trump administration’s recent executive order attempting to reduce terrorist threats to the U.S. by halting the issuance of visas to travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries. Having returned this month from Sudan, one of the countries affected by the ban, I wish to ...

Read more...

A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association concludes that 27 percent of medical students around the world exhibit symptoms of depression and 11 percent have thought of taking their own lives. Equally troubling is the fact that, among students experiencing depressive symptoms, only 16 percent seek psychiatric treatment. Other studies have suggested that the prevalence of depression in medical students may be as ...

Read more...

A decade ago, electronic health records were aggressively promoted for a number of reasons.  Proponents claimed that they would facilitate the sharing of health information, reduce error rates in health care, increase health care efficiency, and lower costs. Enthusiasts included the technology companies, consultants, and IT specialists who stood to reap substantial financial rewards from a system-wide switch to electronic records. Even some health professionals shared in the enthusiasm.  Compared to the ...

Read more...

Many hospitals around the nation have been stung by dreadful physician engagement scores. Engagement is a problem not only for demoralized physicians, but for health care organizations, their employees, and everyone they serve. They should take note, because low levels of engagement are associated with higher physician turnover, increased error rates, poorer rates of patient cooperation in treatment, and lower levels of patient satisfaction. Definitions of engagement vary, but it generally ...

Read more...

shutterstock_261978071 Dr. Melos is a gastroenterologist in solo practice in a medium-sized Midwestern city.  One day she hears a knock on her door. When she answers, she finds two representatives of Athenian Health System, who request a few minutes of her time.  She invites them to take a seat in her office. After exchanging pleasantries, the visitors get down to business. They extend Dr. Melos an ...

Read more...

shutterstock_125996114 As kids growing up in the Midwestern United States, my friends and I loved baseball.  We spent many hours each summer day playing the game, and when we weren’t out on the sandlot, we were reciting the stats of top players, arguing the merits of our favorite teams, and trading baseball cards.  Baseball is more than America’s pastime.  It is a sport ...

Read more...

shutterstock_169107956 I can’t mention the physician by name, because he is currently in contract negotiations.  But he lives and works in a Midwestern town of several thousand people, a town where the major social event of the year is a fall festival that features a parade down Main Street.  The physician, let’s call him Dr. Smith, has been practicing there for nearly ...

Read more...

shutterstock_150490757 Do physicians in training take better care of patients or perform better on their exams when their work hours are restricted?  Two recent studies in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggest that the answer is no.  In one, patients of surgery residents showed no difference in morality or postoperative outcomes after duty hour restrictions were implemented.  Their test scores ...

Read more...

shutterstock_160740506 It is estimated that approximately 14 percent of U.S. physicians in training are depressed and another 10 percent experience suicidal ideation.  Some 400 U.S. physicians take their own lives each year.  Hampering efforts to deal with such problems is the stigma associated with them.  I knew a top medical student who was reluctant to seek mental health care in part because ...

Read more...

shutterstock_132834815 The competition to get into medical school is fierce.  The Association of American Medical Colleges just announced that this year, nearly 50,000 students applied for just over 20,000 positions at the nation’s 141 MD-granting schools -- a record.  But medical schools do not have a monopoly on selectivity.  The average student applies to approximately 15 schools, and many are accepted by more ...

Read more...

shutterstock_202560031 Each year, over 20,000 U.S. students begin medical school.  They routinely pay $50,000 or more per year for the privilege, and the average medical student graduates with a debt of over $170,000.  That’s a lot of money.  But for some who pursue careers in medicine, the financial cost has been considerably greater.  Melissa Chen, 35, a final-year radiology resident at the ...

Read more...

shutterstock_146880725 One of the top students at one of the nation’s largest medical schools, Ishan Gohil has made an unusual -- and to many of his colleagues -- inexplicable decision.  Instead of seeking to train in one of medicine’s most highly specialized and competitive fields, he says, “I elected to pursue a career in family medicine.”  Many view his choice of primary ...

Read more...

shutterstock_145172908 Americans tend to like fast things: instant coffee, sports cars, and speed dating. Many share a fascination with record holders, such as the world’s fastest runner or texter. And increasingly, the same goes for medicine. The number of minute clinics is exploding. Some emergency rooms now post their current wait times on roadside billboards. And increasingly, physicians and other health professionals ...

Read more...

On September 28, 1864, the first meeting of the International Workingmen’s Association (IWA) was convened at St. Martin’s Hall, London.  Among the attendees was a relatively obscure German journalist by the name of Karl Marx.  Though Marx did not speak during the meeting, he soon began playing a crucial role in the life of the organization, in part because he was assigned the task of drafting its founding documents. The work ...

Read more...

shutterstock_199118204 Not accustomed to visiting hospital executive suites, I took my seat in the waiting room somewhat warily. Seated across from me was a handsome man in a well-tailored three-piece suit, whose thoroughly professional appearance made me -- in my rumpled white coat, sheaves of dog-eared paper bulging from both pockets -- feel out of place. Within a minute, an administrative secretary came out and ...

Read more...

1 Pages

Most Popular

✓ Join 150,000+ subscribers
✓ Get KevinMD's most popular stories