Lori Wallace sits on a couch with her 11-year-old son and his new pet snake. It burrows under his armpit, as if afraid. Wallace is sure it’s not. “If he was terrified, he would be balled up,” Wallace said. “See, that is why they are called ball pythons. When they are scared, they turn into a little ball.” Wallace is dying of breast cancer, but a stranger wouldn’t know. She has a ...

Read more...

As a cardiac anesthesiologist, there are times I care for patients who are faced with a tough decision: to take their chance on a very high-risk surgery, or let nature take its course.  It is in these times I feel most humble and most human, as I may be the last one to hear the last words they speak. Recently I was at a social event and introducing myself to some ...

Read more...

7 a.m. began as it always did; the overnight doc was threatening to quit while rubbing her bloodshot eyes and smearing mascara beneath them. Between heavy sighs, she listed the patients transferring into my care ending with Mr. Mandel. “He’s eighty-something,” she explained, “hospice care. Cancer with metastases. Came in from home because family ran out of morphine and he was in a lot of pain. Anyway, he’s actively dying now, ...

Read more...

Countless times as a patient both at two hospitals in New York City, I have witnessed doctors arrogantly waltzing into an examination room and arriving not alone but with an entourage. Like Greeks bearing gifts, they arrived with something unwanted and threatening: medical students, interns, residents, and fellows. And not once, in all the many times that I have been subjected to this ignominious practice, was my consent ever obtained ...

Read more...

It is early on a Saturday morning when I walk out of the elevator of Doan Hall looking for a nursing desk to call the fourth-year anesthesiology resident I am supposed to be shadowing. Instead, I am met with a set of double doors and a staff-only sign. Before walking through the doors, I decided to read the placard placed on the wall next to them. As I begin to read, ...

Read more...

Every patient eventually asks the same question: “How can I find the best hospitals and doctors?” The solution might seem easy, since we live in a world where information is readily available on the Internet. In a few clicks we can shop for goods, review consumer products, market ourselves on social media, and complete financial transactions instantly. You would think that health care, which accounts for 17 percent of the GDP, ...

Read more...

Phnom Penh is changing at an incalculable rate. It is evolving so quickly that even from my last visit four years ago, I barely recognize the streets I once shuffled my well-worn sandals through. Now, the streets of my old neighborhood are proudly adorned with a new facade of artistic, stylish restaurants and a collection of boutique coffee shops. Bigger buildings and prime real estate positions are now occupied by ...

Read more...

Health care in America and the practice of medicine has undergone a sea change over the last couple of decades. It used to be about Dr. Johnson’s office around the corner that would serve you and your whole family. Nowadays, it’s about mega-specialty groups and large health care conglomerates. It’s about mergers and hostile corporate takeovers. Statistics now suggest that over 50 percent of physicians are employed rather than ...

Read more...

According to a recent publication by the Robert Graham Center, the number of family physicians practicing high-volume obstetrics (more than 50 deliveries per year) dropped by over one-half from 2.3 percent of practicing family physicians in 2003 to 1.1 percent in 2016.1 In small corners of the country, though, innovative training programs continue to foster these skills among learners and build supportive communities for family ...

Read more...

An excerpt from The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact. Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc. Defining moments shape our lives, but we don’t have to wait for them to happen. We can be the authors of them. What if a teacher could design a lesson ...

Read more...

Get KevinMD's 5 most popular stories.