Food for thought — and health. The right diet for patients can improve outcomes and reduce costs.



As a physician who cares for hundreds of patients with heart failure every year, I’m frequently humbled when, despite my best efforts, patients shuttle between hospital and home. I track the [...]

Treating Regret



Despite the pervasiveness of regret, doctors often overlook it. We often don’t explore the role regret might be playing in the distress many patients and families experience, or acknowledge it [...]

Caregiving for a sick loved one can be stressful, harrowing, depressing — and rewarding



It was the most important thing I would do that week. One morning, I walked around the hospital introducing myself to patients. I stopped by the room of a woman in her late 80s with dementia. Her [...]

Health Professionals Should Work Together on Policy



In 1905, a Boston-based physician named Richard Cabot decided that medicine could do more to meet the social needs of patients. With his own money, he hired a nurse, Garnet Pelton, who began to [...]

When the future is running out, narrating the past helps to prepare



How should you live when you know you’re going to die? It is perhaps the ultimate, eternal question — one we all have to grapple with, but mercifully, don’t have to, until the end is crystallized [...]

Yes, drug-assisted treatment is needed for opioid-addicted patients in U.S. prisons



Among my first memories as a doctor was a disheveled man, barely older than me, handcuffed to a hospital bed, vomiting a thin brown liquid into a pale pink bucket. Between retches, he sobbed and [...]

Health care needs less #innovation



Health care has caught the innovation bug. An industry famously resistant to change suddenly can’t stop innovating — or at least saying it is. Silicon Valley startups are disrupting health care. [...]

The Hospital’s Gift of Downtime



Christmas week is a strange time in the hospital. There’s an added melancholy for patients who spend the holidays hospitalized — a sense that their illness, whatever it might be, is so bad they [...]

A Profusion of Diagnoses. That’s Good and Bad.



I recently cared for a hairdresser who had gone through a year of vague and varied symptoms. What started as a few unpleasant aches soon became debilitating pain throughout her body. A heavy [...]

Stigma Against Gay People Can Be Deadly



I’ve never been sure what to expect when meeting someone who’s just tried to take his own life. But I’ve learned to stop expecting anything. Sometimes, the person in front of me barely speaks, [...]