We doctors have been reduced to tools of mere data entry. A higher being might peek into our exam room and be unable to distinguish the doctor from the sphygmomanometer. There is at least one upside to this mess, however. The aggressiveness of the EMR’s incursion into the doctor-patient relationship has forced us to declare our loyalties: are we taking care of patients or are we taking care of the EMR? More
Corporate medicine has milked just about all the “efficiency” it can out of the system. With mergers and streamlining, it has pushed the productivity numbers about as far as they can go. But one resource that seems endless — and free — is the professional ethic of medical staff members. More
When your body threatens mutiny and you are peering into the abyss, you want a doctor who has contemplated mortality in a deep way. Being sick is indeed hell and every patient deserves a Virgil. Infusing the medical training with a bit more Virgil just might be the key. More
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.
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” for centuries? Or might it be because, like our patients we doctors are scared down to our bones? If we were to see our patients living the lives that we live, then there would be nothing to separate them from us. And then we could easily become them. More
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 for jokes by medical personnel at all levels. Hospital slang for such patients reflects not just disgust but also anger and resentment. More
Next month, your future doctor will take the first steps into clinical medicine. I am not talking about the first day of internship (though that also happens on July 1), but the monumental transition that medical students make at the halfway point of medical school from the classroom years to the clinical years. More