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, [...]

How Modern Medicine Has Changed the Supreme Court



Two related health trends mean that each Supreme Court nomination now has the potential to shape the nation’s highest court for far longer than in the past. One is that Americans live decades [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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