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Why Doctors Write

Why Doctors Write

How does writing affect a doctor's practice of medicine? What are the ethics of writing about patients? Should patients be part of the process? Watch the full program broadcast on WGBH -Boston.

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Doctor Priorities vs. Patient Priorities

Doctor Priorities vs. Patient Priorities

The patient cheerfully admitted that he hadn’t been paying attention to his diabetes for the last few years. He’d stopped taking his medicine, stopped seeing his doctors, stopped thinking about the disease altogether. What happens when the patient's priorities and the doctor's priorities conflict?

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Acne

Acne

A young Navajo woman files silently into my office, making no eye contact. As she slips into the chair errant strands of black hair spill across her face. Through the breaches I catch glimpses of her rich dark skin riddled with the pockmarks of severe…

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When Doctors Give Patients Money

When Doctors Give Patients Money

We all hear about “health care costs,” a lumbering behemoth that dominates the news. But it is the smaller amounts, literally the pocket money, that often has the strongest effect…

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Lots of New Patients, Too Few Doctors

Lots of New Patients, Too Few Doctors

Getting a primary care doctor is hard these days, and will only get harder as more people get insurance via the ACA. This is a "problem" that we should welcome,…

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Ethical Implications of Incidental Findings

Ethical Implications of Incidental Findings

Imagine that you volunteer for memory study and the fMRI also happens to find a life-threatening aneurysm. Your life is saved by the "incidental finding." But what if tumor that…

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Medicine and Cello on WHYY Radio

Medicine and Cello on WHYY Radio

Danielle discusses fear, shame, and doubt in medicine with WHYY's Maiken Scott. She also mustered courage to play a few bars of Bach--a work most definitely in progress!

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Why Doctors Don’t Take Sick Days

Why Doctors Don’t Take Sick Days

From day one in medical training, the unspoken message is that calling in sick is for wimps. Most doctors ignore their symptoms and resist taking the day off unless they…

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When Doctors Share With Patients

When Doctors Share With Patients

Doctors often “self-disclose” to patients in an attempt to empathize. But contrary to what might be expected, such self-disclosures often turned out not to be helpful in addressing patients’ concerns…

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The Challenge of Diabetes

The Challenge of Diabetes

A diagnosis of diabetes often triggers a flurry of life changes and medical interventions. But diabetes--like all chronic illnesses--is a marathon, not a sprint.

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Doctors’ Bad Habits

Doctors’ Bad Habits

We doctors constantly lament how difficult it is get our patients to change their behavior. But the truth is, we are equally intransigent when it comes to changing our own…

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NYU Stories

NYU Stories

A rare glimpse into the effects of shuttling from patient to patient without being allowed to process the powerful feelings—fear, anger, grief—that naturally arise when lives are at stake.

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The Raw Fear of Being a Patient

The Raw Fear of Being a Patient

At that moment, my faith in science plummeted from beneath me. My decades of medical training, my Ph.D. in biochemistry, my grounding in the scientific method, all evaporated in the…

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Humanities For Science Majors

Humanities For Science Majors

For one premed, a chance exposure to an unknown sliver of literature sprung open an entirely new world. The unexpected opportunity to steep in the humanities offered me ways to…

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More Power to the Placebo

More Power to the Placebo

The hospital ward was quiet for the night, except for “the howler.” The patient and I were both pretty exasperated with each other. He was sullen and cranky; I was…

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Doctors Blame Others for Medical Costs

Doctors Blame Others for Medical Costs

If doctors feel that the grind of medicine is just going to get worse, then they won’t have any stake in making major changes. You can present all the data…

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Review in “Clinical Correlations”

Review in “Clinical Correlations”

As the saxophone virtuoso Charlie Parker said, “If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn.”

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Review in “Science-Based Medicine”

Review in “Science-Based Medicine”

A patient might reasonably say “I don’t give a damn how my doctor feels as long as she gets me better,” but emotions affect everything we do, influencing clinical decisions…

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The Doctor Will See Your EMR Now

The Doctor Will See Your EMR Now

Like the milkman of yore, the doctor makes rounds every day in the hospital. Alas, this image would be true today only if a computer terminal were plunked in the…

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Respect and How it Impacts Patient Safety

Respect and How it Impacts Patient Safety

When we tolerate a culture of disrespect, we aren’t just being insensitive, or obtuse, or lazy, or enabling. We’re in fact violating the first commandment of medicine: Do No Harm.

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The Immigrant Healthcare Imperative

The Immigrant Healthcare Imperative

Legalizing "undocumented" immigrants might be a boon for our healthcare system. Immigration reform makes both economic and medical sense. A young immigrant from Tibet offers first-hand lessons.

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Patients Need Poetry…And So Do Doctors

Patients Need Poetry…And So Do Doctors

Sometimes it is the things we deem least practical that wield the most power. In fact, poetry’s impracticality may be its strength. By being just words on a page, it…

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Discussions about Empathy

Discussions about Empathy

Danielle Ofri discusses empathy, medical errors, teaching medical students, being a role model, the ethics of writing about patients, and her absolute distaste for New York City roaches.

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The Dirty Secret About Medical Errors

The Dirty Secret About Medical Errors

As physicians we see medicine as a science. We think of ourselves as rational, evidence-based practitioners. But we are far less rational than we tell our patients and ourselves that…

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Can We Let Doctors Be Human?

Can We Let Doctors Be Human?

Is our vision clouded because we are so immersed in the world of sickness? Is it because this helps reinforce the power dynamic that has kept patients "in their place"…

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At Bellevue, a Hospital Reflects its Changing World

At Bellevue, a Hospital Reflects its Changing World

Though city hospitals invoke images of charity patients from teeming, poverty-stricken slums, of substandard, last-resort medical care, the reality is quite different. Medical care is top-notch, and patients come from…

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An Epidemic of Disillusioned Doctors?

An Epidemic of Disillusioned Doctors?

“That’s it," I thought, after an overwhelming morning in clinic. "I quit!” It’s a thought that crosses the minds of the majority of doctors, it seems. A survey of more…

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Medical Sensibility: Whose Feelings Count?

Medical Sensibility: Whose Feelings Count?

What Doctors Feel: How Emotions Affect the Practice of Medicine is as close to a page-turner as a clinician's story is likely to become. What Doctors Feel deserves to be…

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Empathy for “Undesirable” Patients

Empathy for “Undesirable” Patients

Doctors have notorious contempt for alcoholics, drug addicts, and morbidly obese patients, and they often make little effort to conceal it. By unspoken rules, these patients are considered fair game…

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When Doctors Feel Fear

When Doctors Feel Fear

I remember the first time I laid eyes on an actual amygdala, after slicing through a brain with a repurposed kitchen knife in neuroanatomyclass. That’s it? I thought. That nickel-size…

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