Afterword from a story entitled “Litigation Lane,” excerpted from Beyond Bedlam’s Door: True Tales from the Couch and Courtroom (Thunder Lake Press).  Forensic psychiatry involves the interface of psychiatry and the law. Over the years, I was asked to psychiatrically evaluate people in the context of civil ...

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There would be few of us who have not received an email praising our contributions to our chosen medical specialty and with an invitation to either submit a manuscript or to join the editorial board for a new open access on line journal. If you are an academic, expect to receive several of these emails on a daily basis.  This is the world of predatory publishing. For those in academic practice ...

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As a severe myopic, it is no wonder I have always had a certain interest in ophthalmology. And just the other day I had reason to ponder the peculiar Dutch dominance in the history of optics and ophthalmology. When I was a nearsighted young school boy in Sweden, my mother brought me on the bus into town every fall to see the eye doctor. He must have been in his eighties, ...

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Author.  President.  Teacher.  Doctor.  These are all gender-neutral words which happen to relate to a person’s profession.  However, I find it particularly interesting that while “doctor” is a gender-neutral word, the field of medicine is riddled with institutional sexism. Let me begin by explaining that I am a military physician currently training to become a gastroenterologist.  If being the only woman in any room bothered me, my journey would imply that ...

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“I only have 10 percent of my eyesight remaining, but that’s not the problem. I am looking for mercy.” My eyes drifted back and forth between Abu-Adnan’s face squinting into the distance, and the shuffling prayer beads swaddled in his right hand. I fizzled with frustration as my cochlea’s raced to transcribe his traumatic story into an appropriate emotional response. This 65-year-old Syrian refugee from the Golan Heights pleaded me for a ...

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Be involved, and ask to see your pathology report.  Once you do that, the College of American Pathologists shows you how to read it.

The consult was for “decreased vision and eye pain.” Inpatient consults at the VA hospital come up infrequently, but when they do, it’s inevitably something interesting. As soon as I access the patient’s medical record, a flashing rectangular box encasing a smattering of phrases such as “warning,” “inappropriate behavior,” and “female employees” pops up on the screen. I’m accompanied by one of our female residents, Dr. Smith. Once we leave ...

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Orthopedic surgeon Thomas Guastavino often alludes to his "rules of medicine" in the comments.  Here they are in their entirety. Efficacy, safety, and cost are of chief concern. If two treatments are of equal efficacy, choose the safer. If of equal efficacy and safety, choose the cheaper. Cost never trumps efficacy or safety. If you want the fastest, most efficient and cost-effective care, go to the physician with the most experience in dealing ...

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For decades, physicians and other health professionals have opened their offices with the assumption that everyone will need to see the doctor eventually. Why? Because that’s where you go if you have a health problem and need to get checked out. As a retina specialist, I assumed that years of training, working with special hand-held lenses, would offer me a diagnostic skill set that very few people in the world have ...

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I would think that when physicians decide where to set up practice, there are things that they would want to think about other than how much money they’ll make.  Yet if one reads Medscape’s current list of the best and worst places to practice, it would appear that money trumps everything else (although Medscape said it also considered factors like “cultural attractions”). What Medscape apparently did not consider ...

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