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Latest Posts

What Makes A Great Oncologist?

I had a WOW experience yesterday when I accompanied my wife to interview a new doctor for her.   As some reader may know she is being seen by specialists at MD Anderson Medical Center in Houston for Stage IV lung cancer.   She has not had a local oncologist for the past 6 years…but she does now.   And we both love this guy!

You need to understand that I have been very underwhelmed by the local oncologists I had met up till now.   I am sure they were clinically proficient…but as a group not a one could muster a smile….or any sense of interest or curiosity in my wife’s medical condition.  I held out little hope that this new doctor would be any different.

After being ushered into the exam room, a Physician’s Assistant came into the room to get smart about my wife’s history and records (which she brought).   Three things surprised me about the PA.  1) She was incredibly thorough actually reading the radiology reports and reflecting with my wife on what she learned, 2) her empathy – as she read the reports she actually used terms like “bummer” when she read how my wife developed pneumonia during her treatment, and 3) she faithfully summarized the results of her review to the doctor before he came in.  In other words – the PA listened and heard what my wife shared with her!

Now enters the doctor.   He has a warm smile on his face while he extends a hand to my wife and me.  He says just enough for us to know that he has talked to the PA.  He asks my wife to sit on the exam table and does a physical exam (also a rare event these days). Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Mind The Gap*

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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