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Last Build Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2017 12:00:44 PDT


Could being vulnerable lead to better health?

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 12:00:44 PDT

Long ago, I represented a doctor who was … difficult. He was a phenomenal surgeon, world famous in his field, but he was not warm and fuzzy — not even close. Cold and hard were more his speed. We spent two weeks together, on trial in city hall. It takes about two years from the […]

People, not computers, make health care work

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 10:00:53 PDT

Every morning around 5 a.m., the overnight intern updates me on what happened to the patients on my service. In a hospital where disease knows no hour, the nights can often be just as busy as the days. “Just letting you know, his wound seemed a little wet to me. Maybe it’s starting to get […]

Being the doctor he set out to be

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 08:00:04 PDT

“Jag ska bli doktor,” a four-year-old boy announced to his family sixty years ago. Somehow, everything he did after that moment seemed to move him in that direction, even when, on the surface, his path through life seemed to be meandering. As a student, he was just as interested in literature and philosophy as he […]

Doctors are dangerously tired, and health care leaders aren’t taking action

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 06:00:48 PDT

Do you want your surgeon to work back-to-back overnight 12-hour shifts and then perform brain surgery on you the next morning? There’s currently no regulation prohibiting this kind of dangerous scheduling in medicine. Physicians are human. Like truck drivers or airline pilots, their fatigue can lead to dangerous consequences for those around them. A recent […]

The hurricane in Puerto Rico is leading a shortage in saline bags

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 04:00:36 PDT

“Doc, you mind switching that to an oral preparation?” our clinical pharmacist inquired during multi-disciplinary rounds as intravenous infusion devices beeped annoyingly in the background.  Taking care of ICU patients can be extraordinarily complicated, so doing it as part of a team helps make sure that all bases are covered. Like many hospitals, ours uses […]

All cancer care needs to consider the whole patient

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 16:00:20 PDT

An excerpt from Cancer What You Need to Know. Treating cancer means taking care of the whole patient — the physical, the emotional, and the spiritual. This starts at diagnosis and carries through treatment and beyond. Unfortunately, for some patients, cancer does find ways to spread that can cause physical pain, emotional strain, and difficulties in […]

A letter to my sister (and all other first-year medical students)

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 12:00:39 PDT

Congratulations! At this point, you are almost halfway done with your first year of medical school. Either you have finally figured out what’s going on, or if you’re like me, you are still trying to figure it out. Relax, take a few deep breaths. Medical school is unlike anything you have ever done. The volume […]

How not to argue with your kids about marijuana

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 10:00:36 PDT

An excerpt from A Parent’s Guide to Teen Addiction: Professional Advice on Signs, Symptoms, What to Say, and How to Help (Skyhorse Publishing; October 2017). Marijuana, the illegal drug most commonly used by teenagers, is widely accepted as harmless, but is it? Its effects range from the trivial—silliness, bloodshot eyes, etc.—all the way to catastrophic—paranoia, […]

The medical student who had a genuine human profile

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 08:00:41 PDT

“I lift things up and put them down.” This quote is from a commercial for Planet Fitness I have seen in the past. It portrays a bulky body builder on a tour of the gym premises. There is no real communication with the tour guide since he keeps saying that he lifts things up and […]

Why HSAs are not the answer to our health care system problems

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 06:00:49 PDT

I was talking to a physician in my hospital several years ago, and he expressed his frustration that the annual well-child exams for his four kids were expensive. Puzzled, I stated that I found it odd that a doctor’s own health insurance plan had poor coverage for routine care, and he replied that his group […]

Reduce parallel play to provide decent health care for all

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 04:00:46 PDT

I have been doing health care research and advocacy for over 20 years. I’ve seen a lot of passion, anger, and rhetoric around the issues. The health care crisis is simple in that everyone needs health care. The question is what to do about it and who should pay for it. It’s not an easy […]

The most far-reaching effects of our failed leadership

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 16:00:11 PDT

We were once a nation noted for its achievements. We are now a nation that gets nothing done, unable to make even the slightest movement forward despite multiple national crises — a desperately broken health care system, a horrifying opioid epidemic, sickening gun-related mass murders, the threat of nuclear war, and massive storms resulting from […]

This psychiatrist does most of her work outside of the traditional system

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 12:00:38 PDT

Every now and then, when some people learn what kind of work I do, they say, “You’re doing God’s work. Thank you.” They mean well, so I accept the compliment, though I also tack on, “I also like what I do. It’s meaningful work for me.” So many of the people I see, whether in […]

Emergency medicine can be exhausting. Here’s what this doctor does to unwind.

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 08:00:57 PDT

So I’ve finished up at one job and moved on to another. I was a director for a year, and it was a learning experience. Right now I’m nearing the final approach after working a long run. Last week I had five nights, 12 hours duration each. I stayed in a hotel near the hospital. […]

An ode to great clinician-educators

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 04:00:36 PDT

When asked to describe my career, I consider myself primarily a clinician educator.  Recently I have reflected on the influences that allowed me to have a successful career doing what I love.  This post is not meant to mention all those influencers, but just some that I recall often.  As I have thought about this […]