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Latest Posts

Snowmaggedon And Physician Responsibility

I practice medicine in the suburbs west of Washington, DC, and everywhere I look I see 30 or more inches of snow.  I keep reminding myself of where I am –not unlike a man pinching himself to ascertain wakefulness–because the view my window affords me is tailor made for the usual snow typical to Buffalo, NY.  Two days after the snow stopped falling, schools are cancelled indefinitely, most side streets have yet to see a plow, and tens of thousands are without electricity including my partner’s family huddled together like in a dark basement enjoying the extra two or three degrees of warmth to be found there.

It is hard, but not impossible, to practice medicine when the pace of modern society grinds to a halt. Yet at least we, here, enjoy the benefits of living in a country with a well developed infrastructure prepared to rebound instead of recoiling from nature.  To compare our “snowmageddon” (a term used on the news here) and the earthquake in Haiti would be both inappropriate and naïve; yet, our daily lives have distinctly altered and in that an understanding of the fragility of society and the responsibility of a physician is possible.  Still, there are many differences.  We ask when our power will be returned, not if; snow will melt,  but buildings don’t un-crumble; and while my neighbors shiver together in their homes, many Haitians seek their loved ones with a shovel.
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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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