Patsy loved playing bingo every Wednesday night. Her boyfriend of three years loved watching her daughter Jenna who was a tiny and pretty six-year-old her momma called "princess." Even though they weren't related, Jenna called Patsy's boyfriend "Uncle Billy" at her mother's behest. And Uncle Billy made Jenna shyer and quieter than she usually was. He'd walk in on those Wednesday nights and demand a big hug and kiss on the cheek ...

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Triage Note: Fish hook in eye. No bleeding. Tetanus up to date. It’s a sunny weekend during cottage season. A young woman is rushed into the ER as she cups both hands over her left eye. She’s in shorts, and flip-flops, and she’s hyperventilating. Her friends follow, hands similarly cupped over their mouths. I read the triage note. I’ve never seen this before. I’ve removed dozens of fish hooks -- it’s ...

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Here’s some advice for your career in health care: Leave the country as soon as possible. This has nothing to do with the president’s attempts to euthanize the Affordable Care Act. Or with EMRs, Medicare reimbursements, or the burnout surveys you get from your employer, who also sends emails aimed at getting you to work faster and more efficiently. It’s none of that. You need to leave the country, just for a ...

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Jim Johnson is the director of the West Virginia Office of Drug Control Policy, and an advocate on the front lines of the opioid epidemic. During his previous job as the police chief from Huntington, WV he spearheaded a comprehensive initiative of education, syringe exchanges, and Naloxone distribution that has shown promising results in a community where up to 10 percent of the population is plagued with opioid dependence. His ...

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To accomplish certain tasks, we need a little help from our friends. No one can do it all, although many of us are more resourceful than others. Some folks are adventurous and dive into a new arena with excitement. They may be tinkerers who aren’t afraid to play with new gadgets. Sure, they might break some china, but they are apt to widen their skill set and enrich their lives. ...

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It is not unusual to see a patient for a timely transition of care visit after a hospital admission and within a minute of entering the exam room know with all the bones in your body that this person needs to go back into the hospital. The funny thing is that when that happens, if the patient has Medicare, we may indirectly suffer financially from such “avoidable readmissions.” We belong to ...

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I have picked up Mr. Reynolds (not his real name). He is a frequent visitor to the ED for alcohol intoxication. He was found drunk on a street making a scene, and a good samaritan called him in. Paramedics bring him in. He is not bashful about showing his discontent for his arrival to the ED. He promptly flips off the charge nurse and continues to verbally berate the paramedics. The ...

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Let’s get one thing straight: You already have kick ass skills as a physician, skills that are valuable outside of clinical care settings. So whenever my physician friends turn to me for advice on making a transition in their career, I have to remind them: It’s not about learning new skills, it’s about translating your existing skill set to new business applications. Think digital health startup CEO, chief medical officer, ...

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STAT_Logo My grandmother was filled with grief as she told me by phone about life on the island of St. Thomas after Hurricanes Irma and Maria had blasted through it. “Tears keep running from my eyes uncontrollably because everyone on the island is suffering,” she lamented, then paused, too sad to continue. I could picture her in her ...

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I wonder what the best thank you any physician has ever received?  I think this one is mine.  This recent thank you was for our efforts to not save a child but for simply allowing this family to have a few more days with their infant who ultimately passed away.  This amazing thank you has deeply and positively affected me so much ...

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