A clear-eyed look at treating the elderly with medicine

A recent case taught me a lot about how people perceive their medicines. I was trying to help a 92-year-old man get off some of his medicine. I can’t go into the details, but suffice to say, there was much opportunity to trim a long list of drugs, many of which were threatening his existence […]

The problem with testing students and doctors is what gets truncated

For me, maybe you too, the best part about science is how it disrupts the status quo. A belief, a way of doing something, a paradigm if you will, becomes entrenched. Humans love patterns. We get attached. I call this the way-it’s-always-been-done philosophy. It’s endemic in medicine, and, from what I can see, in education […]

When professors make less than janitors…

…one could be pessimistic. PBS NewsHour did this story last night. Adjunct professors, many of them with doctorates, are struggling to make a living. A French literature professor uses food stamps. An English professor just up and quit. This video got me thinking about the word “value.” The MacBook delivered this as the first definition: […]

Dear Senator/Representative — US healthcare needs more knowledge

If you had to write a one page memo to a Senator/Representative detailing the one thing they could do to improve US healthcare, what would it be? For me, it’s improving the wastefulness of our system. Here is my attempt at a memo: Comparative Effectiveness Research is a win-win: Knowledge always is. US healthcare is […]

Clicked back in…Holiday reading and thoughts on medical writing

Hey everyone… Welcome to 2014. I’m back from holiday. I like to say ‘holiday’ rather than ‘vacation.’ It sounds more Euro. Plus, if one truly seeks word precision, saying holiday when describing time in Key West works. Everything about that place is celebratory and festive. Let’s talk about reading and writing. First, I’m not going […]

Are doctors being duped through medical education? Could social media help?

I made a discovery this week about the novel anticoagulant medications, dabigatran (Pradaxa), rivaroxaban (Xarelto), apixaban (Eliquis) and edoxaban (Lixiana). I was looking into the often-asked question of how these new drugs compare to the old standard, warfarin. The discovery felt like a Eureka moment. I ran it by my stats guy–my son–and a couple […]

With vaccines…Is there no middle ground, no room for questions?

“We should be as demanding of ourselves as we are of those who challenge us.” Dr. Jerome Groopman, writing in the New Rupublic Writing about the medical decision-making surrounding vaccines proved to be sketchy. Yesterday’s post brought stinging criticism from both sides of the debate. A pediatrician felt the structure of the post was patronizing. […]

The vaccine debate — Could compassion and nuance be an antidote?

I’ve been thinking a lot about vaccines. As a learner, an observer of humans and our nature, a worshiper of the scientific method, a doctor, a new grandfather, and a member of society, few debates could be more compelling. The kerfuffle over vaccines has it all. It’s the Lance Armstrong story on steroids. (Grin.) The […]

Love the wisdom of physician colleagues

Let’s be honest: If you are bold enough to hit the ‘publish’ button, it’s normal to care what readers think. I write about Medicine; I like doctors; I respect doctors. So it matters how colleagues react to my words. I was both proud and concerned when the Greater Louisville Medical Society decided to republish my […]

Healthy Privilege, Social Fabric, Education — Perspective means a lot.

Perhaps writing about health matters from the perspective of a cardiologist/bike racer is a little like parenting: At times the message seems less than compassionate, even though it’s born out of concern for others, knowledge and a tincture of middle-age experience. The many excellent comments on my recent telomere/heart-health post stirred me to write a […]