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When A Physician Gives A Patient “The Look”

“He gave me the look,” the patient said to my nurse as he walked out of the exam room.

My nurse laughed and said, “I had a feeling you’d get it today.”

What were they talking about?  ”What look?  I didn’t know I had a look!” I asked my nurse.

The patient tipped his chin down and looked at me over his glasses.  My nurse laughed, pointing at the patient, “That one!  Exactly!  You give that look to me too!”

I was mystified.  I don’t like lecturing people or acting like their parent.  Patients do no harm to me when they gain weight, don’t take their medications, or eat a lot of Little Debbies.  My job is not to get them to do everything I say, it is to give them enough information and motivation to do it for themself.  I am the coach; they are the ones who have to go out on the field and play.  I may be disappointed when they mess up, but it’s not my job to patronize them and wag my finger. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Musings of a Distractible Mind*

A Health Insurance Coding Error Exasperates Patient

I believe this is what's holding them back from making progress with our bills.Yesterday, the mail arrived.  There were catalogs for clothes (mmmm, can’t wait until May!), letters from friends, the crappy bills that keep arriving even though we didn’t forward them to our new address, and oh yeah, that one bill from my mail order pharmacy.

For a thousand dollars.

Dated January 30, 2009.

So, being the rational and patient woman that I always am, I ripped up the envelope it came in, cursing under my breath like my temperamental buddy, Yosemite Sam.  Punctuated each tear of the paper with “fricka-frakin’ insurance bill dagnabit …”

And then I called the mail order pharmacy company.

“Thank you for calling Byram Health Care.  Your call is important to us.” Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

When Should A Doctor Break Up With His/Her Patient?

Sedaka
They say that breaking up is hard to do
Now I know, I know that it’s true
Don’t say that this is the end
Instead of breaking up I wish that we were making up again

There are times that relationships need to end.  Usually something happens to undermine trust; it’s hard to build trust, but it’s very easy to destroy it.

I had a discussion today with the other physicians in my practice as to when patients should be “discharged” from our practice.  I have always found it somewhat ironic that we use the term “discharge” when we are basically telling patients we don’t want them to be our patients anymore.  Doctors deal with discharges of various sorts – most of which are not pleasant.  Here is a dictionary definition of discharge: the emission of pus, mucus, or other liquid from an orifice or from diseased tissue. True, there are other definitions of discharge that don’t cary that connotation (we discharge patients from the hospital), but if I see an appointment on my schedule with the word discharge as part of the reason for visit, I am not excited.  I am praying for a no-show. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Musings of a Distractible Mind*

You Know You Have Diabetes When …

You know you’re a diabetic when … you see what appears to be this:

Owie!!

Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

Patient Bites Off Doctor’s Finger

Allegedly for “not writing a prescription”…

news-press.com

Dr. Paul Arnold turned his back for a moment on a patient who was upset because the doctor wouldn’t write him a prescription.

That’s when the patient, Gregory S. Powell, 45, of Fort Myers, allegedly attacked Arnold, 65, biting off part of one of the doctor’s fingers.

As my tipster says “…probably wasn’t about refusing an amoxicillin script…”.

In custody; no word on the doc, and best wishes.

Thanks to Glenn (a true homie) for the tip.

*This blog post was originally published at GruntDoc*

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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