I never expected to have a friend from Alabama. My upbringing in Brooklyn, New York, didn’t include anyone from the South, and this was a time in American history when the South was in turmoil. I recall black and white images on our family’s TV showing federally enforced integration of schools and communities, swelling civil rights marches, and disturbing scenes of riots and attack dogs used to intimidate ...

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Nothing about quarantine feels heroic. Nothing about sitting in an empty apartment, checking the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker every 10 minutes, feels like saving the world. Nothing about the paper I'm writing, the pantry you're stocking, the sale he's completing, the workout she's posting, the pizza they're making — none of that feels heroic when our social media feeds are peppered with dramatic pictures of the USNS ...

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Three months ago, none of us thought we would be shifting our practices from office visits and hospital rounds to telemedicine and virtual check-ins.  In fact, we would have not only denied it was possible, but touted concern for the decline in patient care. As pandemic concerns reached the United States in March, telemedicine visits began to climb, and many practices have reported increases of 500 percent or more for ...

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I still remember the morning of Monday, March 11th, 2019, with vivid clarity. I was on my last rotation of medical school. My medical ICU team was preparing for morning rounds. Vital signs and lab results suddenly seemed less important as my rotation friends, and I anxiously awaited “the email.” At precisely 10 a.m., we would learn if our years of hard work had paid off with a residency position. ...

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Most physicians recall the rigors of their residency training through a mixed lens. In prior generations, a single-duty shift could stretch to 36 or more consecutive hours, but the exhaustion was buoyed by the camaraderie of sleepless on-call nights in the hospital. Despite the exhaustion, resident well-being received scant attention. Beginning with the 1984 Libby Zion case, and later the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) duty hour restrictions ...

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As a pharmacy technician, I watched countless individuals speak with a pharmacist about how different drug therapies work, and what they should know before taking any pharmaceuticals. But I also have a hearing loss, and as a patient myself, I am struck by how confusing it is for consumers to find the right treatment. Hearing loss is a medical condition that affects nearly one-third of adults between 65 and 75, and half ...

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History is important. “The farther back you look, the farther forward you will see,” Winston Churchill once said. Particular to our profession as doctors, William Osler’s famous adage: “Listen to your patient, he is telling you the diagnosis,” rings true even to this day. But there is another, often forgotten edict, created long before these two figures came into being, handed down from generation to generation. And that is: “Listen to ...

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I came across a letter I wrote to a patient while rummaging through some old files on my computer. I flashbacked to what triggered this: a response to a letter she had sent me, one that was, shall we say, extremely unflattering and quite scathing in the way she described me and our last encounter. From the letter’s tone, I sensed she held back on using more profane language to ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 78-year-old man is evaluated for symptoms of dysphagia that began 2 weeks ago. When he eats, he starts coughing after the first bite of food and occasionally has nasal regurgitation. On physical examination, blood pressure is 135/90 mm Hg, pulse rate is 78/min, and respiration rate is 12/min. Left-sided weakness is ...

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“Doctors are people too,” I once was told, by a patient no less. Sarcasm colored her choice of words, implying we doctors ought to descend from the heavens above and relate to patients like … well … people. Not a bad idea, one that humanizes the incomprehensible doctor-speak we unwittingly projectile-vomit onto our patients. Hmmm … talk to patients like one normal person to another? Easier said than done. A doctor’s ...

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A physician comments on his daughter's "implants." Brad Nieder is a physician and comedian and can be reached at the Healthy Humorist.

I have a set of wind chimes hanging from an arbor that catch my attention whenever I am out in the garden and the breeze kicks up. They were given to me by Mrs. Mary Marlboro’s niece. Mary had purchased them while in hospice with instructions for her niece to give them to me after she passed on. I had cared for Mary for several years after I removed her ...

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