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Last Build Date: Tue, 19 Sep 2017 06:00:05 PDT


Food allergies are a public health crisis we can no longer ignore

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 06:00:05 PDT

Nearly every American is touched by serious chronic illness, either as a patient or as a caregiver. The federal government recognizes the far-reaching effects of such conditions, and agencies like the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conduct surveillance of these diseases. Such research allows us to better understand the […]

This doctor spends more time at a computer than with patients

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 04:00:57 PDT

I find myself spending close to an hour on the computer each morning at the hospital. I spend this time dutifully looking up vital signs, labs, recent radiology or pathology results as well as many other valuable pieces of information about each of my patients. I watch as my colleagues frantically record values, while making […]

It’s time to stop it with the “routine” labs

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 16:00:52 PDT

“So, I’m getting routine labs on her.” Wait, what? Statements like these often make the hair on the back of my neck stand up. One of our residents was seeing a healthy young woman for her “annual physical,” seen just a few days after a routine postpartum visit with her OB/GYN after the uneventful birth […]

In Iraq I saved lives. Now, I can’t give an allergy shot.

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 12:00:25 PDT

I entered the room to see a face that I recognized. As soon as I looked at my chart, I immediately knew this patient. I saved their life last year. I know this because the patient told me so. The teachers and mentors that I was privileged to learn from and train with 25 years […]

How to find joy in practicing medicine

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 10:00:36 PDT

My intern gazed blankly at her notes from the day. “You OK?” I asked. Her face was quivering with restrained tears as she turned to me, “I don’t think I helped anyone today.” This was not the first time, nor would it be the last time, that I had heard those words from a resident […]

Addiction doesn’t just ruin the addict’s life

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 08:00:15 PDT

Despite what the textbooks say or how much research is devoted to substance use disorder, I still meet people who feel that addiction is a “choice,” and that these patients don’t need “treatment” (you made your bed, and now you can just lay in it). To a certain degree, this is true. Like Little Debbie […]

Is Medicare for all the future? Only the public can decide that.

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 06:00:41 PDT

As Congress returns from its summer recess, the health care debate is sure to heat up … again. And over the past few months, the debate has had a significant impact on public opinion. A recent report describes how Americans currently view the ACA. According to national polls, over 90 percent of Americans would change […]

What does trust mean to a patient?

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 04:00:07 PDT

I have been working on this essay for some time now. It has been difficult for me to convey in words this complex issue of physician-patient relationships that, to me, is the crux of the art of medicine. The first time I met Rachel was when she showed up at my office with Mary, her […]

Skirting around language is a disservice to your patients

Sun, 17 Sep 2017 16:00:10 PDT

Sexuality can be hard to talk about. I think this is true for adults far more than for children. Children are naturally curious and nonjudgmental. They just want to know: What is that, what’s it for, why are yours different from mine, and why does he have one of those and I don’t? It’s we […]

Here’s how your attitude affects patients

Sun, 17 Sep 2017 12:00:51 PDT

I have a very interesting job: I travel around the country providing neuromonitoring to surgeons in the operating room. I’m also an anesthesiologist assistant, certified and licensed to provide anesthesia. Throughout my ten-year career in the OR, I’ve been the guest of nearly a hundred hospitals in the U.S. and the UK. No two hospitals […]

An insurance company denies a test. Here’s what physicians should do next.

Sun, 17 Sep 2017 08:00:15 PDT

What should you do if an insurance company denies a test?  Record the name of the denying physician in the chart and take the burden of the denial off of your shoulders and onto the shoulders of a faceless, algorithm-following insurance clinician. Your patients are rating you online: How to respond. Manage your online reputation: […]

The interventional primary care physician

Sun, 17 Sep 2017 04:00:20 PDT

She came to me with complaints of weight gain. I gave her a pill, and she shed 200 lbs. in 2 weeks. No, of course not. There is no such pill. Mrs. Lopez did not lose weight. At her follow up four months later, she had gained 11 pounds. I went back to my note, […]

For women physicians, is there a connection between productivity and burnout?

Sat, 16 Sep 2017 16:00:59 PDT

Is the practice of medicine a different experience for male and female physicians? Two recent studies from athenahealth suggest that it is — in ways that should make us rethink what we value in health care. The first study found that male physicians are more productive than their female counterparts. In an analysis of 47 […]

Improving drug adherence will take more than money and technology

Sat, 16 Sep 2017 12:00:47 PDT

I recently asked, “Who’s to blame?” for patients not taking their medications and cited a couple of papers describing the poor state of medication adherence. I concluded nonadherence was a huge problem, and doctors failing to educate their patients was not a major cause. To support my contention that physicians are not the reason why patients […]

How anti-vaccine parents are finding doctors willing to exempt their kids

Sat, 16 Sep 2017 08:00:55 PDT

Dr. Tara Zandvliet was inundated with calls and emails from parents last year, after California passed a law nixing personal beliefs as an exemption from school vaccinations. Suddenly, many parents sought exemptions for medical reasons. Someone even faked two medical exemption forms purportedly written by the San Diego pediatrician, copying a legitimate document she’d provided […]