First, Do No Harm: An Oath for Patients?

Should there be a Hippocratic Oath for patients? This week NPR reported on increased violence against doctors in hospitals in China, the climax of which resulted in a fatal stabbing at a hospital in the province of Zhejiang. Nurses and doctors from the facility donned surgical masks and took to the courtyard to protest the violence. The masks were not so much a symbol of solidarity as yet another layer of protection: this time, not from their patients, but from their own government. This attack against doctors by angry patients is not the first one in China this year; there were also stabbings and beatings in Harbin and Guangdong provinces that resulted in two more dead doctors. The culture between doctor and patient is built on an unstable rift: it is hardly uncommon for patients to insult and in some cases manhandle their physician if they are unhappy with the outcomes of their treatment or diagnosis. In these Chinese hospitals, the security guards are untrained to protect the physicians, and as a result, the violence has been allowed to escalate. The Chinese Hospital Association released a survey that said patients and/or their family members have assaulted staff at more than 60% of hospitals, supporting the idea that there is some cultural basis for the growing violence. The NPR article reports that, ironically, in the last few years, several health...

When Treating Chronic Pain Syndrome, Family Matters

Bruce Singer, Psy.D., Program Director, Chronic Pain and Recovery Center, Silver Hill Hospital, evaluates the large social impact of chronic pain syndrome. He urges families to avoid enabling certain behaviors and to be an integral part of chronic pain...

4 Reasons Why You Should… and Shouldn’t Go to Medical School

Why medicine?   This is a question I needed to have a prepared answer to recite to everyone and for every occasion – from professors to parties. It is a simple, but difficult question. It is a complex question. Why am I choosing the longest, hardest, most expensive professional career? Why do I want a career with immense sacrifice? I am giving myself ample time to confidently answer this question. Searching for this answer has not been straightforward. My answer oscillates from a resounding yes to a petrified no. Let’s review the pros and cons together.   Here’s why I vote no:   1) The health care reform was supposed to make things better, but it seems to be getting worse. 2) Doctors are frustrated and on the brink of quitting due to increasing administrative burden. 3) New doctors do not spend more than 8 minutes with their patients. 4) Medical students collect a mountain of debt by the end of their educational training. And yet, medical school applications are still at an all time high. Here’s why I vote yes:   1)    Discovering the complexities of the human body   2)    Comforting another human being 3)  Collaboration and team work   4) Develop meaningful relationships with patients Tell me why you chose medicine (or ran away from it) @sonalkumar2011      ...

Studying Made More Enjoyable: The Art of Brewing Coffee

If you don’t like coffee, you should definitely start trying to. Pulling an all-nighter studying in the library will be much more enjoyable if you don’t want to spit out what’s keeping you alert. If you’re one of those people who prefers energy drinks for a late night studying, you’re doing it all wrong. They’re more expensive, loaded with sugar, and don’t warm your soul like a cup of coffee does. There are ways to acquire a taste for coffee – and it’s not by loading it up with cream and sugar. You must learn the art of brewing the perfect cup to enjoy all that coffee has to offer. And, if you already are a coffee addict, believe it or not, there may be a few tips you’ve missed out on… Buy it and keep it fresh– You never pick out the rotten strawberries at the grocery store so why do it with your coffee beans? Instead of digging through your pantry trying to find the coffee you bought months ago when you made your first attempt to become a coffee connoisseur, go buy fresh beans! To keep them fresh, the beans should be stored in a cool, dark area. If you don’t plan on using them within two weeks, keeping them in the refrigerator will ensure that they stay as fresh as when you bought them. Use...

Reasons My Intern is Crying

For anyone who has seen (and loves) the blog “Reasons my Son is Crying,” you’ll appreciate this. Here I discuss the reasons my residents are crying and expose the toll that stress can take on an individual [re: mourning the loss of a pen]. You can find this cartoon and more...

Picmonic: the Secret to USMLE Success?

Human memory is a fickle thing. How is it that we can remember a line from our favorite movies years later (“ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?”) yet forget somebody’s name before they are even finished talking? For medical students, memory is an especially frustrating topic. The ultimate memory tests are the USMLE and COMLEX Step 1 board exams, 8-hour long marathon tests taken at the end of the second-year of medical school that cover all the material presented during the first two-years. At 649 pages long, First Aid for the USMLE Step 1 is considered to be a “condensed” version of the high-yield material tested on the exam. Adding to the stress of the exam, Step 1 scores are considered to be one of the most important factors in selecting candidates for residency interviews. Capitalizing upon, and perhaps worsening, this frustration has been a vast array of board preparation services offered: online courses, review books, and question banks to name a few. And while a 2003 study found no improvement in USMLE scores for those who took a commercial course versus self-study, there are no shortage of options available to students for board prep. One of the newest and fastest growing board prep companies is Picmonic, an Arizona-based start-up founded by two third-year medical students, Adeel Yang and Ron Robertson. Spreading through medical campuses with an impressive word-of-mouth campaign, Picmonic...

Top 10 Future Medical Advancements that You’ll Probably Use to Save Lives

A 69-year-old today has the same likelihood of dying as a 15-year-old hunter-gatherer once had. We are living longer and longer lives, and in the next decade several new technologies and procedures could extend the lives of our patients even further. Learn about just a few of the innovations that may one day be your best shot at saving, or just preserving someone’s life. Featured image from Flickr | Brookhaven National...

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