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Showing posts from August, 2013

Don't Call Me a Health Care Provider - I'm a Doctor

One thing doctors like to do is to use fancy language.  Patients, however, want physicians to use simple terms.   Perhaps, using highfalutin language makes physicians feel more scholarly and important.  Of course, this bombast only confuses patients who may be too timid to respond that they don’t have a clue what we're saying.  If your doctor is speaking in tongues, then ask for a translator. He'll get the message. Icon of Pentecost when Apostles spoke in tongues Many professions have their own technical languages which is necessary for internal communications or scholarly work.  Beyond this, there is also a pomposity that drives this lexical elitism.  In the medical profession, medical terms seem to offer no advantage over colloquial alternatives.  Yet, physicians want to ‘speak like doctors’, whatever that means. Cool Medical Term            Lame Alternative Thrombus                                    Clot Stenosis                                  

Does Your Doctor Know Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS)?

Folks must think than all doctors know all things medical.  I know this is true by the questions that I have been asked over the years.  While my expertise spans hemorrhoids to heartburn, I am routinely queried on medical issues well beyond the specialty of gastroenterology.  When I can’t answer questions about a new medicine for hypertension or if an MRI of the shoulder makes sense, folks look at me quizzically as if I must not be a real doctor. Today, more than ever, physicians are highly specialized with a very narrow medical niche.  There are ophthalmologists, for example, who only treat retinal disease.   Perhaps, there are even retinal specialists for the left eye only.   It wouldn’t surprise me.  My partners and I perform routine gastroenterology procedures in an ambulatory surgery center.   Patient safety is our priority and our staff and us are dedicated to this mission.  All of us are required to be certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support in the unlikely event th

The Sunshine Act Exposes Physician Payments: New App Suggested

A few weeks back, a drug rep, aka a pharmaceutical representative, came to the office hawking a new constipation medicine.  These guys are in a tough racket.  They need to sell products that we physicians are often unable to prescribe.  It’s the Formulary, Stupid. The Best Disinfectant In the olden days, before I entered the hallowed halls of healing, pharm reps, or drug detailers, developed relationships with physicians who would then prescribe their drugs.  Physicians to this day deny the incontrovertible truth that we are influenced by pharmaceutical company marketing techniques, which still feature face time between sales folks and prescribing physicians.  These days, many of the sales tools used years ago have been properly prohibited.  Physicians cannot be flown to exotic locales and paid big bucks so they can serve as ‘expert consultants’ who will be subjected to push polling on the new pharmaceutical product.  (Why didn’t any company ever ask me to serve as an ‘exp

A Tale of Divine Healing: Faith and Reason

I’ve posted a piece on this blog on the issue of faith and reason in healing. Indeed, the protagonist of that post is an inspirational figure, a selfless man who exudes grace and humility. I was honored that the post was shared with many Catholic clergy who appreciated my heartfelt words for one of their own. Faith and reason reentered my medical universe recently. A patient underwent surgery to resect a colon cancer. The tumor had metastasized to the lymph nodes, an unfavorable prognostic event. The surgeon entered the room and advised the patient that her survival is likely limited to 1-2 years. The patient and her husband were devastated. The distraught husband spent the next 24 hours sobbing in a painful and despondent state. He related the tragic news to his 3 children, ages 3, 5 and 8. Was this the appropriate time for the physician to relay such ominous news to a patient and family? Was it prudent for the overcome husband to share this traumatic news with his 3 young ch