Physician Suicide

Physician Suicide

Doctors have the highest suicide rates of any professional group. But losing two of our newest members within a week of each other is a painful reminder of the dangers of our profession.

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Adventures in ‘Prior Authorization’

Adventures in ‘Prior Authorization’

“Dear Doctor. We are writing to inform you that a prior authorization is required for the medication you prescribed.” That’s usually where I stop reading.

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The Physical Exam as Refuge

The Physical Exam as Refuge

There are few situations where we expect to disrobe and have our bodies touched by relative strangers.

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Evidence-Based Medicine

Evidence-Based Medicine

Evidence-based medicine often induces more confusion than clarity. It also means different things to different people.

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The Patient vs The Illness

The Patient vs The Illness

So often in medicine we make it sound like the patient is responsible for the clinical outcomes of their illness.

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History & Physical podcast series

History & Physical podcast series

Danielle Ofri discusses preserving empathy as a medical student, how she started writing, the role of narrative medicine, and the consequences of algorithmic medicine.

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Missing the Final Act

Missing the Final Act

Diseases, like dramas, have a natural progression. There are introductions, developments, climaxes, and dénouements.

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Incidental Illness

Incidental Illness

How, in the quiet world of outpatient medicine, does one know when a life is saved?

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Art and Medicine podcast

Art and Medicine podcast

Danielle talks about taking a gamble on Yiddish poets, surviving devastating medical error, offering literature on the eve of 9/11, uncovering hidden musicians in the hospital.

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Our Silence Around Dementia

Our Silence Around Dementia

Dementia is not something we doctors talk much about. We all have many patients with dementia — and more every year — but we never seem to chat about it the way we discuss kidney disease or cancer treatment. Why the silence?

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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 acne.

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The Small Costs

The Small Costs

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 on the concrete currency of health. Sometimes doctors find themselves in the position of offering their patients a few dollars to help with a co-pay…

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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, since it means that more Americans will have access to care. But it won't be an easy problem to solve. Here are some ideas that…

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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 may not be serious is incidentally found? The tumor may not be risky, but the surgery to remove it is. You spend the rest of…

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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 are sick enough to be hospitalized in the next bed over. What explains this toxic brew of denial, ignorance and bravado?

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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 or building rapport.

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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 behaviors as caregivers.

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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 blink of an eye.

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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 think and write about medicine that I doubt would have been accessible to me otherwise.

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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 exhausted and at my wits’ end.

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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 you want but it doesn’t have a chance when stacked up against emotion and experience.

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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 and patient outcomes.

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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 bed instead of a patient

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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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