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Latest Posts

Life In The ER: Never Judge A Book By Its Cover

The ER is a highly effective bottom-filter for society.  When you work in the ER you are in daily contact with the worst that mankind has to offer: addicts, sociopaths, criminals, and the many many varieties of personality disorders with which a loving God has imbued humanity.  I say this not as condemnation: they are my people.  I know them and accept them for who they are.  I am here every day to serve them in their various needs, from the heroin addict who is dropped off blue and apneic to the homeless guy who just wants his unwashed feet looked at.

One of the refreshing features of many members of the lumpenproletariat is their candor regarding their habits.  Sure, it’s by no means universal, but it’s entirely common for me to ask someone quite directly: “Do you use meth?” and have the patient respond in the affirmative and without the least trace of self-consciousness expand on the degree and nature of their drug use.  The hardest question for me to learn to ask without blushing was “do you ever have sex for money or drugs?” (And yes, I do ask that of both men and women, when it seems potentially relevant.)  But people on occasion forthrightly admit that they turn the odd trick to support their habit. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Movin' Meat*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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