Being isolated in a hospital room leaves you vulnerable to doctors who may be inappropriate, rude and even abusive. You might consider that having the capacity to call for help – to Tweet – is empowering. Health care #911, and very public! But…
Published trials can be flawed. Even if they’re well-analyzed, the findings can be hard to interpret when it comes to a single patient’s course and well-being. What’s a dying man to do?
What Deb did, and I thank her for this, is offer an extreme example of patient-centered care. Among other things, she did everything possible to assure that the people caring for her perceive her as a human being who loves dancing.
Can a good doctor, or a nurse, or a physical therapist, or any other person employed by the health care system, serve as a patient advocate?
… if doctors are just thinking, and not being the ones to call you back, or putting in intravenous catheters, or even just sitting and taking a thorough history – they’ll know you less well. And if they spend less time with you, a patient with a serious illness, they ….
When I was a resident I worked in a general medicine clinic. One afternoon each week, I’d get more dressed than usual and split off from my inpatient team around noon to go see patients in another building, outside of the hospital. Today, I’m reminded of a man I saw there and treated for two […]
Whatever the reasons are that most doctors don’t bring up the issue, one might ask this: Why do adults need doctors to tell them about the health benefits of regular exercise? After all, it’s common knowledge –
Yesterday’s Times offered two distinct perspectives on weight loss. One, a detailed feature on gastric surgery by Anemona Hartocollis, details the plight of a young obese woman who opts for Lap-band surgery. In this procedure, surgeons wrap a constricting band of silicone around the stomach so that patients will feel full upon eating less food […]
A funny thing happened at my doctor’s appointment on Friday. I checked in, and after confirming that my address and insurance hadn’t changed since last year, waited for approximately 10 minutes. A worker of some sort, likely a med-tech, called me to “take my vitals.” She took my blood pressure with a cuff that made […]
Today I visited my internist for a checkup and flu shot. We talked about how I’m doing, and she examined me, and we discussed what procedures I ought have done and not done. She’s been my doctor since the summer of 1987, when I was an intern at the hospital. We reviewed so much that […]
The latest NEJM features a big story about a small trial, with only 39 patients in the end, on the potential for placebos to relieve patients’ experience of symptoms. This follows other recent reports on the subjective effectiveness of pseudo-pharmacology. My point for today is that placebos are problematic in health care with few exceptions. First, […]
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to hear Dr. Don Berwick speak at the annual meeting of the Association of Health Care Journalists. Berwick now heads the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. When he spoke in April, on transparency and how we might simultaneously cut costs and improve care, I thought his […]
Yesterday I wrote on some tough decisions facing a TV show‘s protagonist. She’s got metastatic melanoma and might participate in a clinical trial when the show resumes. Now imagine you’re an oncologist, or a real patient with this killing disease – you really need to be on top of new developments, to understand the pros […]
Dr. Wes has a short post today, How to Optimize Your Care While Hospitalized that got me thinking. He writes: …A lone doctor listening to some highly experienced and capable nurses, reflecting on their work: “If the patient’s nice, it’s a lot easier to want to go back in that room with them. Their reputation […]
Last week I considered the relationship between the Prince Albert and his speech therapist in The King’s Speech. One aspect I wanted to explore further is why the future king initially insisted on calling the practitioner “doctor.” In real life, now, patient-doctor relationships can be topsy-turvy. This change comes partly a function of a greater […]
A while back, a first-year med student asked me if I think physicians should wear white coats. There’s a debate about it, she mentioned. Indeed, in the spring of 2009 the AMA considered an unenforceable mandate that physicians in the U.S. not wear white coats. The news was getting around that doctors spread infection from […]
roviding health care is or should be unlike other commercial transactions. The doctor, or other person who gives medical treatment, has a special professional and moral obligation to help the person who’s receiving his or her care. This responsibility – to heal, honestly and to the best of one’s ability – overrides any other commitments, or conflicts
A link to a video, the Too Informed Patient came my way several times lately. You can find the curious clip on NPR’s Marketplace site: The Too Informed Patient from Marketplace on Vimeo. — The skit depicts the interaction between a young man with a rash and his older physician. The patient is an informed […]
In recent years, some physician authors have wrestled with why doctors might want to think twice before “friending” their patients on Facebook. The usual reasons are to protect the physician’s professional image – that the public might see their weirder, or not-so-polished-as-while-working side and, also, to maintain a certain “distance” – lest doctors become so […]
If physicians’ potential profit motives cloud the mammography debate, as the authors contend, that doesn’t mean that mammography is ineffective. Rather it signifies that doctors and scientists should analyze data and make clinical decisions in the absence of financial or other conflicts of interest.