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Latest Posts

Birth Control Pill Recall And Disclaimers On Medical Blogs

Just yesterday, I put up a post about the recent birth control pill recall. This recall is a big deal – millions of women are potentially impacted, and the adverse effect – an unplanned pregnancy – is very significant.

I knew women taking these pills would be very worried, and wanted very much to do more than just spit out the press release from the FDA. I wanted to both reassure women and give them information that they could use other than just a link and a phone number. I also needed to figure out  how I would be handing the recall in my own practice. So I combined the two and posted what I’ll be telling my patients to do if they find that they are taking a recalled pill pack.

As soon as the post went up, I got worried.

What if the advice I was giving my patients was not what other docs might do for their patients? Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Blog That Ate Manhattan*

When Medical Advice Is Sought From Health Advocates, Not Physicians

It is happening several times a day now. The phone rings. I get stopped at Starbucks, or at the dog park, or at the supermarket. “My friend may have a brain tumor,” “I have been short of breath,” “I am tired all the time.”  Then come the questions: “What do you think I should do? Who should I see?”  I am not a doctor, but people are increasingly looking to me as if I were one. It’s a little daunting.

As you may know, I’ve been producing and/or hosting programs on medical topics for patients since the mid 1980’s. First it was erectile dysfunction, then breast surgery, then multiple sclerosis, cancer, diabetes – you name it, I’ve interviewed someone about it. Town meetings, live audio webcasts, radio shows, and videos. I feel like I’ve gone to med school two or three times. And like a med student I’ve worried common symptoms could mean the worst diagnosis. That headache could be too much coffee OR it could be a brain tumor. Feeling tired could be you are snoring and have sleep apnea OR you have leukemia.

A number of years ago, having just moved from Los Angeles to Seattle, Hollywood called. A friend sold a 5 day a week medical show to MGM and he needed wife/partner Esther and me to be producers. We were the ones who wrote what flashed on the screen when a patient described their symptoms to one of the real docs who were stars of the show “Group One Medical.”  “I have had some blood in my stool, the patient would say. Flash on the screen: could be hemorrhoids. Could be advanced colon cancer.  We walked around the home/office worrying about every ache and pain. I am told that’s just what med students do. The most mundane could be life-threatening. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Andrew's Blog*

Don’t Trust The Huffington Post On Medical Matters

The Huffington Post is one of the most prominent, and fastest growing, news sites, and as pediatrician Rahul Parikh puts it, “one of the most valuable pieces of real estate on the Internet these days.”

They have a prominent health and wellness section, but as you can read from Dr. Parikh’s piece, The Huffington Post is crazy about your health, readers be warned.

As with their approach to other topics, The Huffington Post accepts submissions from a wide variety of bloggers, some of whom, “mirror [founder Arianna Huffington's] own advocacy of alternative medicine.”

With such influence, that can be problematic. Well documented are numerous pieces advocating against childhood vaccines, and perpetuating its mythical link with autism. And by accepting factually suspect pieces on the subject by celebrities, such as actor Jim Carrey for instance, it’s a powerfully dangerous platform for misinformation.

What Dr. Parikh simply asks for is fairness and accuracy from such an influential site, but in his words, they “take a back seat to sensationalism and self-promotion on the Huffington Post.”


*This blog post was originally published at*

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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