Given the influence on prescribers that the J & J and other cases reveal, there are just too many ways that care can go awry. It is thus essential that patients and families become informed and vocal advocates for their care.
Those of us in favor of universal access to care argue that health care is not a commodity. Those who can't afford health care are priced out of it, and health care is no longer a public good, like public education and clean water.
As we celebrate this year's Nurses Week, I am reminded of the Hippocrates saying that the goal of medicine is "to cure sometimes, to relieve often, to comfort always." This, too, I learn through daily example from the amazing nurses I work with.
With more consumers turning to the Internet to search for health information, the process can be labor intensive, leaving consumers confused and wondering if the information presented is accurate or just hype.
I got into the health care field to save lives, and the last thing I planned on doing was to chair a committee and study process improvement. In the beginning, I asked myself how all of that ancillary activity could have anything to do with my mission and calling.
We live and practice in an increasingly technology-driven society. Email and texting are default methods of communication, and our patients request that we friend them on Facebook and follow health advice delivered in brief 140-character bursts on Twitter.
Patients like Robert make clear that the very personal meaning patients find in their illnesses can be profoundly empowering. All too often, however, health care does not allow patients to explore the personal significance of their diseases.
Americans have said 'yes' to fair pay for women, 'yes' to policies that make our workplaces more family friendly, 'yes' to ending gender discrimination and strengthening consumer protections in health insurance, and 'yes' to a more patient- and family-centered health care system.
Many doctors, particularly young doctors, come to view test results as if handed down direct from the heavens -- and forget that context greatly alters their implications. It shouldn't be your burden to defend against this -- but alas, it is.
We can now detect and monitor those who are "falling between the cracks." We have evidence based practices for what medications and counseling therapies work best for people with serious mental illness.
I wish medical schools helped us to analyze our reasons for becoming doctors. Only to learn you can't fix everything and wonder why our world is filled with problems and diseases which couldn't be cured.