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Latest Posts

Hospitalization Vs. Discharge: When Is One The Preferred Option?

I received a call recently from an emergency room (ER) physician about a patient who presented there with rectal bleeding. Does this sound blogworthy? Hardly. We gastro physicians get this call routinely. Here’s the twist. The emergency room physician presented the case and recommended that the patient be discharged home. He was calling me to verify that our office would provide this patient with an office appointment in the near term, which we would. We had an actual dialogue.

This was a refreshing experience since the typical emergency room conversation of a rectal bleeder ends differently. Here’s what usually occurs. We are contacted and are notified that the patient has been admitted to the hospital and our in-patient consultative services are being requested. In other words, we are not called to discuss whether hospitalization is necessary, but are simply being informed that a decision has already been made.

There is a tension between emergency room physicians and the rest of us over what constitutes a reasonable threshold to hospitalize a patient. I have found that many ER docs pull the hospitalization trigger a little faster than I do. What’s my explanation for this? Here are some possibilities. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at MD Whistleblower*

How To Live Forever: Have A Dermatologist As Your Primary Care Physician?

Everyone has their own perspectives about life and death, often based on life experiences and their worldly views. Doctors are no different, except to say that doctors deal with life and death every day of their lives. For medical doctors, death perspectives are more likely to be defined by their disease specialty.
Here are a few examples of  death perspectives from the different medical specialties

If you’re a pulmonologist, nobody dies without first getting a bronchoscopy.If you’re a cardiologist, nobody dies without first getting a heart catheterization.If you’re a nephrologist, nobody dies without first getting a run of dialysis.If you’re an oncologist, nobody dies without first getting a course of chemotherapy.If you’re a neurologist, nobody dies without first getting an EEG and an MRI. If you’re a gastroenterologist, nobody dies without first getting a colonoscopy.If you’re a rheumatologist, nobody dies from lupus, because the answer is never lupus.  If you’re an infectious disease doctor, nobody dies without first getting a course of doxycycline.If you’re a family practice physician, nobody dies without getting a consult.If you’re an internist, nobody dies without first admitting the patient to the hospitalist.If you’re a dermatologist, nobody dies. Period.

What’s the moral of the story?  If you want to live forever,  get a dermatologist as your primary care physician.

*This blog post was originally published at The Happy Hospitalist*

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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