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Emergency Contacts In Your Mobile Phone: Let ICE Speak For You When You Can’t

A good friend and fellow physician sent me this notice. This is an important public service announcement.

An individual citizen, not the government, initiated the program.  If adoption of the program becomes a national standard, it will demonstrate people power and individual responsibility.

The key to Repairing the Healthcare System is individual responsibility. This program represents an opportunity for every individual to assume responsibility for themselves and alert everyone they know to be responsible for themselves.

A paramedic conceived ICE.  At the scene of accidents he found cell phones on an unconscious victim but he could not find whom to notify.

He thought it would be a good idea if there was a nationally recognized symbol to find a victim’s contact person In Case of an Emergency in the victims cell phone directory.

The ICE cell phone number could be Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Repairing the Healthcare System*

Organizing And Administering Our Own Care

Emerging from a foggy year of treatment for stomach cancer, I am vividly aware of how much time and energy it takes to meet the daily demands of a serious illness. When I think back over the past 35 years and my treatment for now four different cancer-related diagnoses, I am amazed by how much has changed. The diagnostic and treatment technologies are light years more sophisticated and effective.

I am also taken aback by how much more we, as patients, and our loved ones who care for us, must know and do to organize and administer our own care in response to a serious diagnosis.

From an economic standpoint, this makes sense: the marketplace drives innovations to become simpler and cheaper. In modern American health care, this means that new drugs, technologies and procedures are re-engineered so they can be offloaded from expensive professionals to patients and those who care for them – and who work for free.

Think about it: Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Prepared Patient Forum: What It Takes Blog*

The Holidays And The Circle Of Life

The holiday season is a time of both joy and sorrow. Tomorrow a childhood friend will be laid to rest — one of my favorite artists, Teena Marie, died unexpectedly two days ago and at least six other people have made their transitions as well. My own father died unexpectedly on Christmas Eve in 1981 leaving a great void in our family life. Why do people leave us during the holiday season? It has been said because they want to be remembered.

While I lamented about all the transitions that occurred in the past two weeks, one of my best friends announced that she had a new granddaughter that was born on Christmas Day. She stated that this was part of the “life cycle” or “circle of life.” Her comments gave me reason to pause and reflect. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Linda Burke-Galloway*

Feeling Pretty Thankful

It’s Thanksgiving here in the States, and I’m feeling pretty thankful. While the day is reserved for turning hand tracings into turkeys, it’s also a good day to highlight what I’m thankful for this year:

I’m thankful that we have a backyard that the cats can go [potty] in, because I was tired of cleaning that litterbox. (And I’m also secretly glad that our neighbors have a ridiculous cat that comes over and starts trouble with ours, because when they pile into the bushes out back and cause the shrubbery to vibrate with their Andy Capp-style battles, it cracks me right up.)

I’m thankful for our family and friends, who have helped Chris and I adjust to our new lives as “parents” and who make “home” a place that matters. We’re so glad to be sharing this chapter of our lives with the people and in the places we love the most.

I’m thankful for having good enough health to take it for granted, and to actually have the luxury of feeling frustrated when I’m “sick” because it’s such a foreign concept.

I’m thankful for the wonderful work opportunities that have come up in the last few years, specifically for the companies and organizations that have embraced the voices of patient advocacy and who have decided to become part of the conversation.

I’m thankful I have an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitor that can help me make sense of the holiday meals. Also known as: ”Pie? Yes, please.” Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

Thanksgiving And Your Priorities

Here is my column in [the November 21st] Greenville News:

This Thanksgiving we will have 32 guests at the table. Rather, at the tables we scatter about the dining room…and living room…and kitchen. At our house, food is practically a sacrament. And obviously Thanksgiving is the high holiday of American eating. So we will be honoring the tradition by feeding everyone as much as we can.

Because the guests are all beloved to us, we will also have a variety of foods, in a variety of presentations. For instance, there will be fresh cranberries for organic purists, as well as a maroon gelatinous mass of cranberries for those who feel that cranberries indeed spring from aluminum. The turkeys will be divided perfectly among dark and light meat lovers. And for the carb-loving, there will be sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, and potatoes soft, but cut into chunks. (In deference to the texture-challenged.)

We will have assorted dressings, casseroles and vegetables. And more types of sweets than any of us really need. All of it because we love one another, friends, family, young and old. And we want everyone to have something that they love. The sheer pleasure of eating is one (but not the only) reason that we love the holiday so much.

I think we also love it for a few other reasons. For instance, we (and I mean all Americans) love it because it slows us down, just a bit, before the Christmas madness sets in. Yes, the day after Thanksgiving it’s “game on.” But on Turkey Thursday we stop, if only because we are too full to move. So much of our lives involve rushing, hurrying, competing. Thanksgiving is a food-stuffed, sleep-inducing speed bump in the frantic activity of the season.

We also love it because it is tangible. Today so much is virtual. So much of our lives are borne on the airwaves, across cell-towers or satellites. Our pleasures are so often intangible, insubstantial — distant sounds and images on movies, television shows, or the Internet. Even our work is often virtual. Thanksgiving is a time when we can touch and taste, listen and embrace. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at edwinleap.com*

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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