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, [...]

Even as the U.S. grows more diverse, the medical profession is slow to follow



I’ve never cared for a Hmong child, but I often think about what it would be like. The summer before we started medical school, I and other students were advised to read Anne Fadiman’s “The [...]

How can you tell whether your doctor is any good?



On my last night of residency, a friend and I swapped our most memorable stories. We recalled the nights of panic and triumph caring for dozens of critically ill patients, about the day — okay, [...]

Is It Getting Harder to Care for Poor Patients?



In my more exasperated moments of residency, I must admit I was envious not only of what my supervising doctors knew, but also who they treated. Residents in our clinic, doctors in training just [...]

Can Low-Intensity Care Solve High Health Care Costs?



How much you spend on medical care depends on what you get, but also where you get it. Confoundingly to many, the cost of the same procedure on the same patient by the same physician can vary by [...]

The Largest Health Disparity We Don’t Talk About



I didn’t think our relationship would last, but neither did I think it would end so soon. My patient had struggled with bipolar disorder his entire life, and his illness dominated our years [...]

Telemedicine is getting trendy, but doctors may not be keeping up



For years, doctors have been told to look at the patient — not the computer — when providing medical care. What we haven’t been told is what to do when there’s only a computer. Telemedicine is [...]

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, [...]