Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Latest Posts

Warning: Hippos Can Really Run Fast … Take Your Medicine

About a year ago I made a house call to an elderly widow which has left a lasting impact on me.

Our “trusting relationship” began twelve years earlier while I attended to her dying husband at home. She couldn’t find another doctor to come in to help.  Now it was her turn to need help, and like her husband insisted that she stay at home.  The woman was being cared for by her middle-aged granddaughter who remained her daily companion.

Both granddaughter and grandmother distrusted the health care industry and had formed many conspiracy theories. They believed in the power of healing through “the Lord” and natural remedies, especially vitamins. I admired their fierce independence while holding my tongue on the magical and, in my opinion, misinformed views of the science of medicine. Both tried, in vain, to convince me that I should use the vitamins and other products they endorsed for my patients.  I smiled obligingly, yet made no move to implement these ideas while pondering the paradox and danger of being invited into the “trusting circle” of such divergent world views. Read more »

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…

Read more »

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…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

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…

Read more »

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…

Read more »

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…

Read more »

See all book reviews »