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Latest Posts

A Poem: Mend

We are living incarnations of a love that preceded us.

Vibrant, with ailing petals that should fall.

A knot in the throat, a conjuring of another’s quintessence,
as music brightens the void.

As we love others perhaps we can feel the face
of eternity shining down upon us.

If we could but hold on to love,
to be mindful of its primacy,
we might never grow dim again.

*This blog post was originally published at The Examining Room of Dr. Charles*

How Your Skin Tells Your Story: A Poem

In the March 3, 2010 issue of JAMA, there is a poem by Sarah Wells called “Hymn of Skin.”  While I enjoyed the whole poem, my favorite part is:

Plastic surgeon of the heavens, how I delight
in a furrowed brow, crow’s feet, age spots—
wrinkle me up a dozen times to show I lived
hard, good, funny—after all beauty, being what it is,

is only skin deep—may my soul seep through
dry scales of later hands, resting tranquil in my lap.
O omniscient dermatologist, what ingenuity,
past hurts evident in scrapes and scars—

a clumsy stumble down uneven concrete stairs,
knees and ankle raw and dripping; pockmarked cheeks
from teenage zits—all healed, in the end, but not forgotten.
How often we need reminders of where we’ve been.

*This blog post was originally published at Suture for a Living*

A Classic ER Patient: A Poem

Classic presentation of the perfect patient

“What’s the problem? You’re the doctor,

why don’t you tell me!

I’m suffering an awful lot it must

be plain to see;

I’ve got back pain from that car wreck

back in nineteen sixty-five.

If I’d have worn my seat belt

there’s no way I’d be alive!

I’m out of my prescription and I

need help, I’m afraid.

I ain’t worried ‘bout the price, you see

I got my Medicaid. Read more »

*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 Cartoon

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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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