What do the Challenger disaster and medicine have in common?

On January 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger disintegrated shortly after liftoff, resulting in the death of the entire seven-person crew. The subsequent investigation revealed that a joint in the right solid rocket booster failed during liftoff, w…

All corners of the world meet in the hospital

The pediatric emergency department’s fluorescent light cast its glow on our heads, drifting and drooping, at 3 a.m. Torn between taking a chance on rest and anticipating the next fever, headache, abdominal pain, wheezing or rash that came through the d…

The fallacy of patient-centered care

I often wonder what it was like before patient-centered care became a mainstream catchphrase. Was there a poor relationship between the patient and physician in the outpatient setting? Were hospitalized patients’ feelings, desires, goals, and therapy o…

Pledge to end your fear of death and end-of-life care

Are you or a loved one aging, perhaps with a chronic heart or lung condition that limits daily activities? Do you have an older parent in a nursing home or who needs assistance with daily living activities? If so, read on and make the pledge. As physic…

Why do patients call me by my first name?

For the past several years, I have been befuddled by patients calling me by my first name (Sara) instead of my professional title (Dr. Jones). At first, I ignored this, but as it became more common, I started telling some of these patients that I prefe…

49 ways to stay out of my ER

I’m an ER doc. I care for patients. All patients: Those who need to be in the ER; those who don’t; those who wouldn’t be there if they knew better. For them, for you and for fun, I’ve got some tips to keep you happy, safe and away from my ER. Enjoy. 1….

10 commandments to help with palliative care messaging

Studies show that when people know what palliative care is, they want it. Marketing genius Seth Godin talks about offering services that are “remarkable” — so good that a person would cross the street to tell a friend. Palliative care has that kind of …

Keeping the art of medical satire alive

Sequels generally disappoint. Jason couldn’t match the fear he generated in the original Friday the 13th. The sequel to the “Parachute,” a satirical piece canvassing PubMed for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing parachutes to placebo, matche…

Have bad news for your patients? Mind your metaphors.

First, the cancer diagnosis. Then, the barrage of trite encouragements: You can beat this! Don’t give up. Keep fighting! It’s not only friends and family members who utter these clichés — usually at a loss of what else to say. Health care providers als…

5 ways physician recruiters can improve their relationship with doctors

A career in health care provides an incredible life full of experiences, challenges, and heartbreak, mixed with incredible satisfaction. With the rapidly shifting global economy, health professionals retain a large degree of flexibility and geographic …

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