We’re Bad at Evaluating Risk. How Doctors Can Help.



My patient and I were locked in a game of decision-making hot potato. “What would you do, Doc?” he said. We’d been discussing whether he should get screened for prostate cancer. Such questions [...]

Whatever a doctor’s political views, end-of-life care is the same



It’s no secret that we live in an era of historic political polarization. Almost daily we’re reminded of the corrosive consequences of Americans drifting apart: Polarization affects how we work, [...]

Do You Trust the Medical Profession?



Trust, in each other and in American institutions, is vital for our social and economic well-being: It allows us to work, buy, sell and vote with some reasonable expectation that our behavior [...]

You’re Sick. Whose Fault Is That?



On my pediatrics rotation in medical school, several residents told me they worked with children in part because they sometimes found themselves judging adults: Did they do drugs? Were they fat? [...]

Finding Purpose for a Good Life. But Also a Healthy One.



My favorite medical diagnosis is “failure to thrive.” Not because patients are failing to thrive — that part makes me sad. But because of the diagnosis’s bold proposition: Humans, in their [...]

Being a Doctor Is Hard. It’s Harder for Women.



Happy medical residents are all alike. Every unhappy resident would take a long time to count. It’s no secret that medical training is grueling: long hours, little sleep, rigid hierarchies, steep [...]

The Unhealthy Politics of Pork: How It Increases Your Medical Costs



No industry in America spends more on lobbying than health care. In 2016, the health care industry spent half a billion dollars on lobbying, with pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and health [...]

The High Price of Failing America’s Costliest Patients



Even patients with whom I have the best rapport would probably rather not see me so often. Sometimes I readmit a patient I cared for just weeks before in the hospital. “Nice to see you again,” I [...]

Doctors with Disabilities: Why They’re Important



Growing up, my sister never let our family get a blue “handicapped” placard for the car. Born three months prematurely with cerebral palsy, she uses forearm crutches to get around. But she’d [...]

How Prejudice Can Harm Your Health



Long before the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King declared health inequity the most shocking and inhumane form of injustice, W.E.B. Du Bois wrote that “the Negro death rate and sickness are largely [...]

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