“Doctor, are you SURE?”

Hubris is a killer. Fight it with humility! In medicine, we often don't know why things happen as they do, and it can be hard to say "I don't know" when faced with certain questions.  Some patients view uncertainty very unfavorably and want total confidence by their doctor all the time. How do you feel when your doctor says "I don't know"?

Last year I wrote down six things that eventually changed my life…this is #5.

I made a list of six things that needed to happen if I was going to turn my life around. I was frustrated with my then-current work-life situation, and kept falling into the same bad patterns but couldn't figure out how to break the cycle. After constantly feeling like I didn't have time to exercise or eat right because I was too tired or spent, one day I literally looked in the mirror and had an epiphany...

When all the tests are normal

"The doctors all said my test results were normal. Are they missing something?" Don’t discount this common cause of gastrointestinal distress without some careful introspection first.

I wonder if they have a white coat ceremony in care management school?

Now, I don't want to offend anyone with this post (it's already too late), but it seems these days that the only qualification that one needs to don a long white coat is to work in some patient care area of a hospital. The long white coat used to be the way patients, families, and other hospital medical staff could instantly tell who was a full-fledged attending physician. In fact, the emphasis on the white coat starts on the first day of medical school with something aptly called a "white coat ceremony."

The Chef.

Small beads of sweat were already forming on his forehead before he entered the kitchen.  He walked into the back where the chef, who was working furiously, didn’t even notice him. “Excuse me, Chef?” the waiter managed to peep out, barely audible above the kitchen clamor.  There was no answer.  “Um, excuse me, Chef?” the  … Read more

“When can I go home?”

Most patients want to get out of the hospital as soon as possible.  No one wants to sleep in a loud hospital room with constant interruptions for rounding, vital sign checks, blood work, etc.  Hospitals are a place for people when they’re sick, and if you aren’t sick you shouldn’t be in a hospital. I  … Read more

The wrong messenger

Bad news is always hard to break.  I would like to think that I get better at breaking bad news after doing it over and over, but it doesn’t make it easier.  Some experiences stick with you and this is one of them: Several years ago I was making rounds in the hospital and my  … Read more