I was somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, heading to Ukraine “to make a difference,” or so I hoped. I was leading a medical mission to this beautiful yet poor and war-torn country. I was watching the movie First Man about the landing of Apollo 11 on the moon that epic day in July 1969. I was not quite 14 years of age at that time, but I vividly remember the ...

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“Last question,” the woman from the insurance company said. Good, I thought; I was eager to get back to seeing patients. “How long have you been taking care of Sarah?” “I’m not sure,” I replied, “How old is she?” “She’s 34.” “Then I have been taking care of her for 35 years.” “Doctor, I’m not sure you heard me correctly; she is only 34.” “I heard you perfectly,” I retorted, “She has been my patient for 35 ...

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As I finished the endless clicking, the clinic day came to a close. Clicking to begin and end phone visits. Clicking to get on and off Zoom visits. The endless video game clicking that is life as a physician documenting electronic health records. Too bad I have never been a gamer; maybe some who are can imagine amidst all of this they are in a scene from a Nintendo or Playstation classic. Clicking boxes ...

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There is ample evidence that patients with severe mental illness are at high risk for significant medical comorbidities. A complex combination of factors contributes to this excess risk and consequential poor outcomes. Socioeconomic factors, side effects from psychiatric medications, poor access to health care as well as smoking, alcohol, and substance use, prevalent in this population, are some of the factors that contribute to patients with ...

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"We are all interrelated. This is the foundational basis of osteopathic medicine. Whether considering internal relationships of the systems of the body or the external relationships of a person with the world around them, connection is a key principle at the core of osteopathy. Developed at a time when the baseline medical practice ...

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Today I lost one of my patients. He saw me in the office for the first time about three and a half years ago. It went downhill after a simple infection, with repeated hospital visits back and forth, and ultimately today, he passed away. He gave a good fight, he had a strong will to live, and he fought hard. When I heard the news, I was at home, and ...

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About a year ago, before the pandemic hit, I was at the local fitness center, having just completed a group exercise class, when my former residency program director entered the room. I hadn’t seen him in 20 years. He looked exactly the same, give or take a few grey hairs. We smiled and heartily greeted each other. We’d known each other since I was a medical student. When I did ...

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If you’ve been diagnosed with a serious, rare, or complex health condition or your doctor has recommended surgery as a treatment option, your next step should be to get a second opinion on both your diagnosis and treatment options. There are several reasons to seek a second opinion. First, it’s important to understand all the treatments that are appropriate for your condition. A second opinion can also lower your risk ...

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The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated and highlighted many health issues, particularly those suffering from chronic pain.

An estimated 50 million people in the U.S. live with chronic pain, of which approximately 19.6 million experience high-impact chronic pain that interferes with life, social, and occupational activities. Regardless of the pathology of pain, chronic pain may involve 
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You might be next.   I began my career as a family physician in Buffalo, MN in 2002. I have been an extremely productive doctor for 20 years. For context, I can assure the reader that my ratings and reviews are excellent, and I  speak to the common primary care experience. I was a very green attending when I showed up in Buffalo for my first attending job. ...

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I love metaphors. I think they can be so powerful and can convey so much, sometimes with just a few words.

One metaphor we use in coaching to describe the coach’s role in a session with their client is that of a swimming pool. The client is in the swimming pool, and as the coach we have the job of not jumping in the pool with them.

Imagine you ...

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“Wrong! The most important part of your job is to make money.” I will never forget those words from an attending in residency – though I did not know it at the time, it was a pivotal moment in my decision to pursue a nontraditional route in medicine. I loved my patients; I loved the critical thinking required for taking care of them, I loved the scientific knowledge underlying the ...

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acp new logo A guest column by the American College of Physicians, exclusive to KevinMD. Political divisiveness has always been part of the fabric of America.  Even as our Founders laid the groundwork for the United States, they understood the challenges of seeking to assemble a unified and functional country from such a wide geographic and culturally diverse ...

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I got married the day after I graduated from medical school to someone I thought I'd spend the rest of my life with. Seven years later, we were divorced. Even though a high percentage of marriages end in divorce, there is still a stigma that many of us who divorce feel. I had already completed residency and was an attending by the time I got divorced, and I remember feeling so ...

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Patients often comment on my attire other than my white coat, particularly my impractical footwear, until I finally broke down and purchased Danskos to avoid being called out for my truthful impracticality. It is amazing how patients care more about my orthotics than remembering the reason they scheduled a visit with me, and God bless them for that. I am in family medicine, and I thrive on personal and genuine relationships where ...

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We live in a world today where there is misinformation in abundant supply. What we see and hear in the media one day seems to be reversed the following day. What to believe, who to believe? Our world appears to be in a state of turmoil, a state of contradictions. Amid all of this, people are struggling to find some sense of peace and balance in their lives. It is also ...

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Stacks of flyers ranging from local free dinners to legal services collecting in a box or filing cabinet are familiar scenes in student-run clinics (SRCs). To anyone who has worked in social services, maintaining organization and keeping up-to-date resources can be a frustrating and common challenge. Across the nation, SRCs generally serve homeless, at-risk, and low-income populations for free or at little cost. Primarily run by medical students, SRCs also provide ...

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I recently read a story that struck close to home for me, and I suspect for nearly all of you in your medical careers at one time or another. It was a story of a surgeon called in urgently to the ED for a seriously injured young boy. The surgeon arrived as soon as he could, only to be confronted by an irate father for being late and ...

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I taught myself as a child how to lip read.  I needed something to help me know what was going on around me other than relying on my hearing aids.  I went to a deaf school as a kindergartner for all of three months and hated it, so my parents switched me over to the local public school system.  I was the first deaf student to be mainstreamed in that ...

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Here’s a controversial phrase for a doctor to say that needs to be normalized: “I am tired.”

As a physician, working oneself to exhaustion for our patients is often seen as a sign of strength and even heroic.  As a rare Black male in medicine in the midst of a pandemic that is ravaging patients who look like me, I am especially battle fatigued.  In fact, I ...

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