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 [...]

We’re Bad At Death. Can We Talk?



Her last conversation should not have been with me. I’d just arrived for the night shift in the I.C.U. when her breathing quickened. I didn’t know much about the patient, and the little I did [...]

Bad Hospital Design is Making Us Sicker



As a medical resident working 30-hour shifts, I quickly came to cherish those rare moments when I could duck out of the bustling and brightly lit hospital corridors and lay my head on a pillow. [...]

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