Eye contact is one of the most basic mammalian traits that signals an interaction. Anybody who has a dog or cat at home sees on a daily basis how much animals value eye contact (and with dogs, it signals you’ve lost the battle!). In the case of health care, during frequent emotional exchanges between two human beings, it naturally follows then that simple eye contact has to be at the ...

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I recently met an old friend of mine for the evening in New York City. He’s a talented young orthopedic surgeon, who has already, in the short amount of time since finishing residency, experienced so many of the problems our health care system faces. The topic of conversation quickly turned to the current state of medical practice, the dramatic swing to corporate medicine, and the consequential loss of autonomy suffered by ...

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It’s no secret that physician job dissatisfaction is soaring to unprecedented levels, with over 50 percent of practicing physicians reporting burnout. While many factors have contributed to this epidemic in America over the last 20 years -- not least of all electronic medical records that are taking a heavy (and unacceptable) toll on physicians’ time -- this is not a phenomenon unique to the United States. I went to ...

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I was having dinner with somebody not so long ago, and the conversation turned to what life is like as a physician. I always find it interesting to have these conversations with people who are not in the medical field, especially those who have got their ideas from watching medical shows on television! The person I was speaking to on this occasion, however, wasn’t about to go down that route, ...

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I’ve always believed in looking the part as a physician. So much so that I even write about it! You may have read my piece that became widely circulated online, about why physicians should always dress to impress. The article generated quite a response, and I received a lot of interesting comments and emails. Of course, not all physicians are in a specialty where they can do so, ...

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I enjoy talking to random people about their experiences with health care. As somebody who regularly travels all over the country, for both work and pleasure (I far prefer the latter), whenever I meet people in situations where you end up talking -- be it on airplanes, a guided city tour, or at a social function -- as soon as I say I’m a physician, the conversation invariably ends up ...

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I was recently seeing a rather complicated medical patient in the hospital. We were treating both a heart and kidney condition, and things were not going so well. To spare anyone non-medical who is reading this the scientific details of the bodily processes involved, we were essentially balancing hydrating, with the need to get rid of excess fluid. After seeing the patient, I spoke with the nurse, went over the ...

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The health care experience is so much more than a buzzword to be talked about in administrative circles. Some physicians I encounter (a minority, but still enough) really scoff when they hear this term. Responses I’ve heard from doctors include: “Hospitals are not hotels!” or “If that means giving our patients as much Dilaudid as they want, then count me out!” Aside from these sweeping statements being entirely silly, they are ...

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Shock. Horror. Did you just read the title correctly, or are you seeing things? Well, after you recover from the shock of reading a line you probably never thought you could possibly see in writing -- let me tell you this: Physicians and politicians are probably as opposite as you can imagine in terms of their daily work life, guiding principles, and yes, level of respect shown to them by ...

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On November 6th voters in Massachusetts are facing a very important health care-related question. In addition to voting for political parties in the midterms, they also face three ballot questions. The first of these is whether there should be mandatory state enforced nurse-to-patient ratios. For a general medical or surgical floor, this will be no more than four patients for every registered nurse. For other types of adult floors and the ...

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