Americans by Choice

Americans by Choice

"Enlightened citizenship is the everlasting strength of our democracy." Inspiration from Andrew Carnegie.

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Filling the Ritalin Rx

Filling the Ritalin Rx

Most physicians think little about prescriptions after they hand them off to their patients. But patients can face shame and humiliation when filling a prescription.

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The Provider Will See You Now

The Provider Will See You Now

When did doctors become “providers”? The term has a deliberate sterility to it that wrings out any sense of humanity, and connotes a widgetlike framework for that which is being “provided.”

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Recertifying Doctors

Recertifying Doctors

In 1990, seeking to keep pace with the rapid advances in medicine, the American Board of Internal Medicine initiated the “recertification process.” Now, doctors must take an exam every 10 years.

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Doc, How Much Time I Got?

Doc, How Much Time I Got?

There are few situations more horrible than having to tell another human being that he or she is going to die. And it doesn’t get any easier with experience...

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Literary Publishing at Bellevue

A news report from MedPage about the Bellevue Literary Review and the Bellevue Literary Press.

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Doctors, Patients, and Computers

Doctors, Patients, and Computers

The presence of computers in the exam room has had another consequence. Both physically and psychologically it has placed a wedge in the doctor-patient relationship.

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Remembering 9/11

Remembering 9/11

On 9/11, doctors and nurses swarmed Bellevue Hospital, ready to help the injured from the twin towers. But we weren't ready for happened next.

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A “Difficult” Patient’s Journey

A “Difficult” Patient’s Journey

Chloë Atkins is the type of patient that every doctor dreads—presenting with a plethora of symptoms that don’t offer any obvious medical explanation. There are multitudes of such patients in a general practitioner’s roster and most, thankfully, will not turn out to have a serious illness. But there are a few who do, and as…

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Facing the Water

Facing the Water

She eyed the cool, glistening water, watching her friends swim. Gushes of water lapped over the edge, dousing the riverbank’s knot of weeds and rushes. She chided herself for forgetting her bathing suit. But this outing hadn’t been planned...

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“Quality” Medical Care

“Quality” Medical Care

We all want “quality” medical care. But how should quality actually be measured?

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NPR Interview

NPR Interview

Danielle Ofri speaks on Minnesota Public Radio about why  would anyone choose to become a doctor. Hear the story now. Share on Facebook Share on Linkedin Share on Twitter Tell a friend

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Why Would Anyone Become a Doctor?

Why Would Anyone Become a Doctor?

The awe of discovering the human body. The honor of being trusted to give advice. The gratitude for helping someone through a difficult illness. These things never grow old.

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A Problem Following Doctor’s Orders

A Problem Following Doctor’s Orders

It was a year into our relationship when my patient finally told me the truth. No wonder he couldn’t keep his medications straight.

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Stereotyping Patients and their Ailments

Stereotyping Patients and their Ailments

Mr. S received the unwelcome news that he was H.I.V. positive, though his T-cell count was still in the normal range. His T-cell count stayed high enough to protect him from opportunistic infections. He seemed to be one of the rare, lucky “nonprogressors.” But after several years of consistently robust T-cell counts, one of the…

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Lives Cut Short by Depression

Lives Cut Short by Depression

There is something about a first friend that is irreplaceable. No matter how disparately your lives travel, the first friend you ever had occupies a special place in your heart. I was lucky that Michael was considerate enough to be born four months before me, waiting next door, ready to join me in elaborate childhood…

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Doctors and the D Word….

Doctors and the D Word….

I could understand why other people might prefer euphemisms for death, but why medical professionals? Weren’t we supposed to be much more comfortable with the workings of the human body? Didn’t we pride ourselves on our technical accuracy? Didn’t we say “umbilicus” instead of “belly button”?

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Health and Luck of the Draw

Health and Luck of the Draw

We imagine medicine as a rational science, and we imagine our attention to our lives and our bodies pays off in reasonably predictable ways. But I have to admit that random, irrational, unplanned events can often have greater effects on overall health.

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Doctors on Facebook

Doctors on Facebook

For doctors who have waded into social media, however gingerly, many questions arise. Is posting a medical musing or details of a recent party on Twitter or Facebook the same as chatting with colleagues while walking down the hall of the hospital? Do the same rules of etiquette and liability apply to this extremely public…

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For Whom Do We Write

For Whom Do We Write

Was writing simply cathartic, an unloading of pent-up frustration, pain, occasional exhilaration? Or was this part of a nobler cause, something that would fall under the purview of healing, something with ultimate benefit for my patients? For if it wasn't the latter, was I not simply exploiting my patients for their readily accessible drama?

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Report Card on Women’s Health: “F”

Report Card on Women’s Health: “F”

As report cards go, this one was pretty depressing. The Women’s Health Care Report Card for 2010 from the National Women's Law Center showed a nation failing the majority of its population. Not a single state in our fine union received a “Satisfactory” grade. Not one!

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Airport Connections

Airport Connections

I ducked into the ladies' room at La Guardia Airport in New York for a pitstop before boarding my flight. Inside I encountered a housekeeper washing the floors. She flashed me a broad smile. "Doctora," she said, and then hesitated. I could see that she was waiting for a response. "Recuerdame?"

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Maladies, Remedies, and Anthologies

Maladies, Remedies, and Anthologies

The urge to anthologize seems to be one of those primordial drives, nestled in our genomes alongside the compulsions to eat heartily, imbibe lustily, and slaughter enemies willfully. Or at least that’s how the Greeks appear to have experienced it.

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Chekhov and Public Health

Chekhov and Public Health

At first glance, it might seem odd that a public health journal would initiate a section about arts and humanities. Public health, after all, deals with populations; it eschews the individual except as it forms one of a group. The creative arts, however, deal almost exclusively with individuals. Literature, in particular, always has a protagonist,…

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Doctor at the Funeral

Doctor at the Funeral

Death is a given in medicine. That truism, though, doesn’t offer much comfort when it’s your patient who has died. I was in clinic the other day, showing the ropes to a fresh-faced medical student, when a nurse leaned toward me and whispered that L.W. had died over the holiday weekend. It was like a…

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The Doctor vs The Computer

The Doctor vs The Computer

While I’ve been typing, the character number has been counting backward from 1,000, and now I’ve hit zero. The computer will not permit me to say anything more about my patient.

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Patient 1, Society 0

Patient 1, Society 0

A young, healthy patient called me recently requesting a CT scan of his head because of his headaches. He described his symptoms, and they sounded to me like migraines. His clinical picture was not suggestive of a brain tumor and I told him so, but he was persistent. “What if I’m the one 35-year-old who…

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Chaperones for Patients?

Chaperones for Patients?

The airline passenger who refused to allow a security pat-down made national headlines quickly. The idea of a stranger touching a person’s intimate areas makes most people cringe. But something like this occurs every day in the doctor’s office.

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Gifts of the Magi: For a young doctor far from home, an unexpected present

Gifts of the Magi: For a young doctor far from home, an unexpected present

"Bitter winds churned up First Avenue and tore through the pathetically thin scrubs that Bellevue doled out to its interns. The December sky glowered the same leaden-green color of the bile that Dr. Kamal Singh was siphoning from the gut of Mr. Bill Porter, a homeless alcoholic with a Southern accent, a jauntily curled mustache…

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Solving the Health Care Crisis

Solving the Health Care Crisis

Status quo is a powerful determinant of both belief and behavior. Many of the things we do and the things we believe in transpire because they are what we have always done or believed. This is why incumbents win elections, why we always choose the same flavor of yogurt, why we take the same route…

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