Being a hospitalized patient is perhaps one of the most disempowering experiences an individual can face (besides being in war, or a prisoner). Patients face constant uncertainty; having no idea what time their physician will visit, when they will be taken for their tests, or who will suddenly interrupt them again with a demand - perhaps an early morning blood draw, or yet another round of interrogation and uncomfortable examination ...

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Will physicians go extinct? Artificial intelligence, legislation, profit motives in the health care industry, and clever lobbying by non-physician providers may all contribute to our demise. However, I believe the existential threat to our profession stems from the ranks of physicians themselves. 1. Unwillingness to embrace activism Pathologist and writer Rudolph Virchow once said: “The physician is the natural attorney of the poor.” Like most physicians, my goal is to provide evidence-based ...

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Even though my own internship was a decade ago, I vividly remember the transition from student to resident. Residency was monumental in my path to becoming a physician. There were obvious changes: People now called me “doctor,” my misshapen short white coat was upgraded to a more comforting full length one, and I was often the first one paged to respond to patient problems. Coupled with the positive aspects though, ...

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Mr. F points a slender index finger to the heavens and states calmly: “It’s OK doctor. Jesus will protect me.” I had just said I was sorry there was nothing more we could offer, and he was going to die. He understood … right? It had been a difficult few months for my unfortunate patient. He smiles at me softly, nasogastric tube cascading over his right cheek and then closes ...

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“Why don’t you just get a shotgun and blow his brains out next time? Better yet, next time stay the hell away from my patient!” I was frozen, and the ICU attending wasn’t even talking to me. My co-intern had barely started her presentation when she met damnation. Mind you — there was a senior resident, a pulmonary fellow, and a team of nurses caring for the patient also. Yet the ...

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We had no choice in becoming the “crazy” family that left a hospital against medical advice. Our four-day-old daughter was completely helpless, her condition deteriorating and the staff was ignoring our concerns. I carefully turned off the blue lights, removed her from the isolette, placed her in a car seat and eloped from the pediatrics unit. As a hospitalist, I constantly obsess over medical errors. The majority are more subtle than ...

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As a physician, is it acceptable to say no? After working as a hospital medicine physician across five different states and internationally, I’ve realized that saying no is actually imperative. Physicians are stretched thin, abused, demonized and expected to be superhuman when it comes to patient care. We secretly complain in online forums, we commiserate with other physicians in on-call rooms, sometimes we even seek mental health help, but rarely ...

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Medicine has undoubtedly come a long way. Paternalism has been ditched in favor of a shared decision making approach, diagnoses and treatments are (largely) based on scientific evidence, and information is not outright withheld from patients out of some misplaced belief that they are not capable of handling the truth. Some of the modern pain points that patients now face involve access to specialists, skyrocketing cost, misinformation and miseducation surrounding ...

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shutterstock_206522137 One would expect that in an era where smartphones are more powerful than our computers were 5 years ago, health care providers would have an arsenal of health care IT solutions to enhance patient care but also optimize their own workflow. Shockingly, in 2014 most health care IT solutions (such as EHR systems) are incapable of basic functions that we take for ...

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There are words in many languages that have no good English equivalent. During my work in Haiti, I’ve noticed my Haitian colleagues on occasion exhaling a phrase -- “tet chaje” -- which literally means “head charged.” More accurately, it describes a sense of being overwhelmed or conveying disbelief or frustration. Based on my limited experiences in the field, I can only begin to imagine the burnout that local providers face ...

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