Patient Communication

“What’s in your tool chest?”

I have never considered myself a “carpenter” and am not particularly handy around the house. My enthusiasm for orthopaedic surgery was not a love of hammers and nails, but a desire to be able to be both a primary care musculoskeletal provider and surgical subspecialist. I initially wanted to become a cardiac surgeon, and my interest in complicated problems and…
Patient Communication

Patient Communication 101

When I recently learned that a friend of mine, Miro Kazakoff, teaches Managerial Communication at the MIT Sloan School of Management, I thought, “Wow, what an interesting job” and “Why do they teach communication in business school but not medical school?” Miro was kind enough to take me through a crash course in communications, which I then tested out in…
Patient Communication

The Power of Humor

There is a lot of evidence and belief that humor can positively affect health outcomes. In the medical environment when patients are anxious and fearful, humor can reduce anxiety. In fact it is thought that the very purpose of humor is to counteract the negatives that are thrown our way in day-to-day life, preventing people from descending into doom and…
Clinical

On Evidence-Based Medicine

A few weeks ago, I read an editorial in the JBJS that made me think of the meaning of the word “evidence” and how it relates to clinical practice in 2016. In their article titled “Level-III and IV Evidence: Still Essential for the Field of Musculoskeletal Medicine and Surgery” Drs. Sangeorzan and Swiontkowski argue that the “wholesale buy-in of statistical…
Work/Life Balance

There goes a firetruck…

A hobby is defined on Google, since we are in the electronic era, as “an activity done regularly in one’s leisure time for pleasure.”  As part of my residency, fellowship and the beginning of my academic career, I would see instructional course lectures (ICLs) and other lectureships related to the work-life balance.  Visiting professors would even often incorporate topics like…
Clinical

Who Needs a Thumb Anyway?

In my pediatric practice, I’ve often wondered if the children that we “fixed” as a child have actually been made better or whether they would have adapted and done just fine on their own. These decisions are made by parents and surgeons since the babies certainly don’t have an opportunity to participate in the decision making. Often it seems we…
Patient Communication

The Opioid Epidemic: What is our role?

“To see what is in front of one’s nose is a constant struggle”.  – George Orwell The United States is grappling with an epidemic of prescription opioid medications, and the statistics are frightening. Opioid prescribing remains higher in the United States compared with anywhere else in the world, and 80% of the world’s opioids are prescribed and consumed in this…
Patient Communication

Forgive and Remember

Since I was informed of New York State’s investigation of my practice in 2010, when a drug-seeking patient complained that I did not prescribe postoperative narcotics, I have had ample time for introspection and self-evaluation. Indeed, I have asked myself how such a “good physician” and “good man” could be shamed so mercilessly, particularly since I, like Mark Chassin expressed…