Being a bone marrow donor: This is what it’s like

I enter through the sliding doors, my flip-flops slapping the linoleum as I search for the information desk.  “Can you point me towards the apheresis center?” I ask, noticing my voice rise a notch.  I am clearly uncomfortable.  My feet feel naked and exposed without my Dansko clogs, and I can’t remember the last time […]

Pimping the patient: Please make it stop

It’s two months into my second year of medical school, and I’m at the clinic, preparing to shadow Dr. Neiland, a primary care physician. I didn’t want to come here this morning. Yesterday, one of my preceptors decided that it was my turn to be “pimped.” Pimping, in medical education, is when the preceptor asks […]

A primary care success story: Sometimes our words hit the mark

Loitering in the hallway of my son’s school awaiting his parent-teacher conference, I completely forgot that the woman introducing herself and shaking my hand was an alcoholic.  I forgot that she had visited me in the office a decade prior for a consultation.  I forgot all of it. What I remembered is that we had […]

Exercise for kids is more than just dance class

When you send your kid to dance class, it’s reasonable to think that not only are they learning how to dance, but that they are getting exercise. Most parents think that way; dance class certainly gets mentioned when I ask parents in my practice what their children do for exercise. Not so much, says a […]

The extremes of primary care can be equally rewarding

Life is all about beginnings and endings. One of the biggest draws of obstetrics as a medical specialty is the fascination with the birth process as the beginning of life. The other extreme … well, let’s say in this particular place and time in history, it’s still something that catches people unaware. Too often filled […]

MKSAP: 53-year-old woman with swelling of the face, hands, and feet

Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 53-year-old woman is evaluated for a 3-month history of swelling of the face, hands, and feet. She has untreated hepatitis C virus infection. She takes lithium for bipolar disorder. She has no additional symptoms. On physical examination, temperature is normal, […]

So you failed maintenance of certification. What now?

What is it like for physicians to fail their ABMS Maintenance of Certification® (MOC) program examination? How does the largest member board of the ABMS, the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM), respond to doctors who fail their secure examination? Continue reading … Your patients are rating you online: How to respond. Manage your online reputation: A […]

Why cancer centers advertise to the general public

If you were a cancer center trying to get patients to come to receive care at your facility, what message would you send them? In other words, what would you as a cancer center director think people would value in choosing a place to receive cancer care? Continue reading … Your patients are rating you […]

This is why it’s so hard to rein in mammogram screenings

I was driving to work the other day, and there was a story on the radio about the Congressional reaction to the latest recommendations for breast cancer screening from the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). Here’s the background. USPSTF published recommendations in late 2009 for the use of screening mammography in different age […]

3 things that make a surgeon great

I wasn’t the first simple country surgeon, you know. When I was a resident, our training program broke us into two teams — one that served general surgery, pediatric surgery, and trauma; the other, general surgery, transplant, and oncology.  Every day was an intricate dance to see all the patients (generally between 20 and 40) […]