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Brian Secemsky, M.D.
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Brian J. Secemsky, M.D. is a resident physician in internal medicine
currently training in San Francisco. His interests in medicine include preventive
health, education and medical journalism. The goal of his writing is
to expose those who are interested in medicine to various healthcare
topics as well as attempt to break down the jargon of scientific
literature into something everyone can understand and learn from.

If there are specific topics which you would like Brian to cover,
please email him at or check out

Articles published by Brian Secemsky, MD are not direct medical advice and solely represents the author.

Entries by Brian Secemsky, M.D.

When Doctors Don't Know

(1) Comments | Posted March 14, 2014 | 2:33 PM

Picture this.

You walk into your doctor's office for an urgent visit for new distressing symptoms. He (or she) takes your blood pressure, temperature, heart rate. All within normal limits. He asks you several questions pertaining to your symptoms, does a thorough exam and perhaps orders a quick in-office lab...

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Scaling Back on Fish Oil: An Evidence-Based Update

(2) Comments | Posted February 13, 2014 | 1:09 PM

Over a year ago, I questioned my daily supplementation of omega-3 fatty acid (triglyceride-reducing agents found in fish oil) by looking at some evidence for and against its health benefits. After this mini-literature review, I decided to continue taking fish oil tabs despite the lackluster evidence for improved...

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Declining Care From Physicians-in-Training: The Resident's Dilemma

(2) Comments | Posted January 22, 2014 | 11:28 AM

This past week, I had the fortune of hearing the tale of Bob and his bum knee.

It all started when Bob picked me up at the end of a busy clinic day in his neon orange Subaru. Given that this particular shared car service promotes friendly conversation, Bob...

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Innovating Health Care

(0) Comments | Posted January 2, 2014 | 9:34 AM

This past week I was introduced to a new electronic medical record (EMR) that was implemented at the underserved clinic where I see the majority of my patients. After several months of receiving emails full of buzzwords such as improved care coordination and effective closed-loop med administration from the powers...

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What You Need to Know About Primary Care Physicians

(4) Comments | Posted December 5, 2013 | 2:39 PM

If you haven't already, you will someday see a primary care doctor (PCP).

It's practically unavoidable.

The reason for this self-declared truth is that PCPs are the shape shifters of medicine, assuming various roles at different stages of an adult's life and wellbeing.


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Health Care 101: Three Easy Ways to Keep Your Patients Happy

(1) Comments | Posted November 12, 2013 | 1:57 PM

I get it. It's not rocket science. But sometimes everyone in the field of medicine needs a bit of a refresher when it comes to keeping our patients happy.

After all, it's a two-way street with medical providers and patients: We provide and support ways to improve and maintain...

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Breaking It Down: Medical Internship

(0) Comments | Posted October 24, 2013 | 6:19 PM

Since the beginning of it all, since that exact moment where I shot up from my friend's dormroom cot with a revelation to pursue my ancestral calling in medicine (see here for more on this), I have been continually questioned by family and friends on exactly where I...

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Health Care 101: Dealing With a Medical Error

(4) Comments | Posted September 12, 2013 | 12:37 PM

Ms. A was a sweet older lady with a bad heart who was transferred all the way from Montana in order to get expedited workup for cardiac (heart-related) surgery.

Her story of her symptoms and disease course was the story told by hundreds of patients seen at any given...

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Public Journal Club: New Method in Improving Blood Pressure Control

(7) Comments | Posted July 18, 2013 | 3:45 PM

Earlier this month, The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a momentous study that demonstrated the efficacy of a brand new paradigm to controlling blood pressure in a community setting.

Before we delve into why this new research excites me, let's first change into student-mode...

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One Year Later: The Biggest Mistakes I Have Made as a Medical Writer

(0) Comments | Posted July 1, 2013 | 10:40 PM

This last month marks the first anniversary of two very important milestones in my career in medicine: I began training as a physician and started writing about medicine. Although perhaps not equally as demanding, both of these new activities in my life required overcoming steep learning curves and involved constant...

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The Top Five Diagnoses That You Absolutely Do Not Want to Have Happen to You, Ever

(4) Comments | Posted April 26, 2013 | 11:29 AM

The International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision, Clinical Modification, better known as the ICD-9-CM, is a health care classification system that hospitals currently use in order to standardize morbidity and mortality statistics and better streamline reimbursement systems.

Now that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services...

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A Push to Publish

(0) Comments | Posted April 5, 2013 | 8:47 PM

Click here to read an original op-ed from the TED speaker who inspired this post and watch the TEDTalk below.

When The Huffington Post invited me to put in my two cents regarding Ben Goldacre's thought-provoking talk on publication bias in the medical field...

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Breaking It Down: The Patient Code Status

(0) Comments | Posted March 18, 2013 | 3:17 PM

Full code. Do not resuscitate. Do not intubate.

Ask anyone without a personal or family history of a hospitalization on the implication of these terms and you'd likely get a blank stare in response. Unfortunately, this incomprehension often rings true with those who need to know it most: the...

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The Business of Medical Training

(5) Comments | Posted March 7, 2013 | 6:51 PM

Prior to entering the medical field, my preconceived notion of what makes a good doctor essentially comprised of compassion, intelligence, and the ability to think fast on one's feet. Although I continue to believe that these professional qualities are paramount to excellent patient care, I am finding that other, less-obvious...

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5 Reasons Why You Probably Shouldn't Go to Medical School

(22) Comments | Posted February 7, 2013 | 12:33 PM

The gall, you might think to yourself as you click on this link in disgust. Before you write that brutal retort which I may/may not deserve, some simple disclaimers before we tackle this subject:

- This is not a ruthless attempt to crush your dreams and passions.
- This...

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A Friendly Reminder to Medical Residency Selection Committees Across the Nation

(4) Comments | Posted January 29, 2013 | 5:06 PM

Spring season is still many months away, but residency programs are in early heat as selection committees across the country buckle down to nominate the next batch of interns for the upcoming academic year.

Spread across these institutions' tables one may find headshots, board scores, recommendations and interviewer comments...

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I Heard Your Doctor Is a Hypochondriac

(0) Comments | Posted January 15, 2013 | 3:32 PM

Hey, I heard your doctor is a hypochondriac. He is a friend of a friend of mine, so I happen to know this as an unquestionable fact. I thought you should know.

Outlandish, you say? Let me explain.

This close acquaintance of mine happened to acquire an interest in...

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A Doctor's Best Friend

(1) Comments | Posted December 27, 2012 | 1:05 PM

Dogs are great. Although I had never thought to own a pooch due to time constraints and general selfishness, I do not deny purposefully befriending dog owners just to hang out with their pets.

But things have changed.

Contrary to suspicion, it is not the aging, biologically-driven desire...

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Coffee: The Mystery, the Evidence

(6) Comments | Posted December 17, 2012 | 12:45 PM

To some, drinking coffee is simply a habit passed on from their parents and old Folger's commercials. To others, coffee is essentially just another warm beverage enjoyed on a cold winter's day.

In my life, coffee is a gift and a curse, a euphoric elixir and a nerve-bending brew....

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It's Time to Jumpstart Quality Improvement Initiatives in Medical Training

(2) Comments | Posted December 7, 2012 | 2:15 PM

Prior to heading out west for my postgraduate medical training, I spent four amazing years in Chicago absorbing everything I could about becoming a doctor. Throughout this time in medical school, I was taught everything from the smallest components of atoms to the largest organs of the human body. Academic...

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