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Another Law To Ensure Doctors Do Right By Their Patients

Recently the [state of] New York signed a law requiring hospitals and doctors to discuss breast reconstruction options with the patient prior to her undergoing cancer surgery. It troubled me that this law was needed. Is it not the duty of the physicians and surgeons to educate the patient on the options available? 

We need to make sure the patient and their family know of the treatment options which may vary depending on the diagnosis and stage: Radiation, chemotherapy, surgery (lumpectomy, mastectomy, axillary dissection) – a combination of treatments.

Even if the patient and her physicians don’t chose to do immediate reconstruction, isn’t the discussion and information part of the discussion? At least inform the patient of the option.

Do we physicians and surgeons need another law to ensure we do right by our patients? Read more »

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

“Fair Pay” For Doctors, Too?

This is my column in [the August 3rd] Atlanta Journal Constitution:

Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis recently produced an interesting public service announcement. In it, she stated that every worker deserves to be paid fairly for his or her labor (whether the worker is documented or not), and offered both a website and telephone hot-line which workers could use to report unfair payment by employers. (Incidentally, here’s the link: In the video, she stated succinctly, “You work hard, and you deserve to be paid fairly.”

Those of us who practice medicine completely agree. So we might reasonably ask if this announcement also applies to physicians who are undercompensated for their work. This routinely happens when patients are covered by Medicare and Medicaid, or by large insurance companies like Blue Cross/Blue Shield, which routinely negotiate unfair physician fees using their collective weight in bargaining. (Even as their executives bring home tidy bonuses that are clearly padded by denials). 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 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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