A doctor puts his mind to mindfulness

A few summers ago during a week-long vacation, I started playing a mind game. In the mornings, I would sit outside on a comfortable deck chair, surrounded by the shrill call of cicadas, and gaze across the lawn into the trees. After getting settled, I would close my eyes and bring my body to complete […]

Doctors struggling over role in treating childhood obesity – Commercial Appeal

Lying in a hospital bed, my seriously obese patient can barely see her swollen and odorous right foot over her abdominal fat. The foot is soon to be amputated, the result of an untreatable infection exacerbated by diabetes and kidney failure, which developed in part because of obesity. Her two children, ages 6 and 12, […]

Sinusitis among most mistreated illnesses – Commercial Appeal

Over the past month my daughter, my aunt, my father-in-law and sister-in-law all have been taking antibiotics for a sinus or an upper respiratory infection. As the infectious disease doctor in the family, I feel partly responsible for all this. For my teenage daughter it started with a simple cold and runny nose, which she […]

Flu complications come on fast – Vaccine can save time, money, lives – Tennessean

The night before I was leaving for a three-week medical mission trip, I was called urgently to the ICU to see a patient I’ll call Rachel, a previously healthy woman in her late 40s, slightly overweight. She had started a new job as a customer service agent. Rachel was the sickest patient I had seen […]

What should doctors do to combat childhood obesity? – Washington Post

Lying in a hospital bed, my seriously obese patient could barely see her swollen and odorous right foot over her abdominal fat. The foot was soon to be amputated, the result of an untreatable infection exacerbated by diabetes and kidney failure, which developed in part because of obesity.Her two children, ages 6 and 12, hovered […]

My uncle’s medical journey – Commercial Appeal

My uncle, Vinay Mehta, lies quietly on a gurney in the hospital’s pre-post catherization room. His wife of 40 years is by his side. The TV across the room is flickering, and the EKG monitor behind him beats a regular rhythm. His cardiologist, who just performed the heart catherization, is a family friend and is […]

Cleanliness may not be best when it comes to pacifiers – Commercial Appeal

Years ago, when my children, who are now teenagers, were babies and they dropped a pacifier onto the floor, we rinsed it with tap water before putting it in their mouth. As a parent and as an infectious disease doctor, sterility is of utmost importance to me. While this may be lifesaving in the hospital, […]

Healthy Memphis: Besides pleasure, biking and walking trails lead to significant health benefits – Commercial Appeal

Two weekends ago, when the temperature hit the low 70s and the afternoon sun was warm, but not Memphis hot, my 13-year-old son and I put on our helmets and hopped onto our freshly serviced bikes for a ride. I had not seriously ridden a bike for a generation, and my son had stayed within […]

Doctors need to eliminate waste from healthcare – Commercial Appeal

Thirty percent of health care spending — amounting to $750 billion a year — is wasted, according to a recent report by the Institute of Medicine. I know. As a doctor, I am party to this waste, and I think doctors can play a major role in recovering it. In a private conversation, a cardiologist […]

Data, coaching important in changing behavior in health care and life – Commercial Appeal

A few months ago, as I drove my daughter to the airport on Interstate 240 for her summer internship in Boston, I read the overhead message sign: “TN ROADWAY FATALITIES 371 — PLEASE DON’T BE NEXT” The same day, walking into my hospital’s ICU, I saw a sign stating “104 Days Without a Fall” Providing […]

Dr. Manoj Jain: Alert wife assists on doctors’ diagnosis – Commercial Appeal

Often patients and families think their doctor is all-knowing when it comes to the causes of their illness and the plan for treatment. Yet, uncertainty underlies each diagnosis and treatment plan. This could not have been more true in Jay Killen’s case. I know this first-hand because I am one of the doctors caring for […]

Culture change on obesity will take time – Commercial Appeal Article

“Ouch,” that hurt, I said last Sunday. It was not a reaction to the Grizzlies’ Game 7 loss to the Clippers, but Chris Peck’s scathing must-read commentary on Memphis being the national hub for obesity and our lack of concern about it. I will not pain you with many statistics like: one in three white women and […]

How much does it cost? Even doctor is stumped – Commercial Appeal

Rarely do people think about medical costs when there is a medical emergency or an urgent need for a test. Recently, I was in such a situation. A few days after a 22-hour international flight, the calf muscle in my right leg began to ache. If it were not for the recent flight, or if […]

Doctors in private practices are now joining hospital staffs – Washington Post

Fifteen years ago, I proudly hung a sign outside my office with my name followed by “MD.” I had started my own business. A small private medical practice is much like a mom-and-pop store, where the doctor has the autonomy to decide the hours, which insurance to accept, which patients to see and how much […]

What kind of sick? Symptoms, treatment differ among cold, flu, bacterial infection – Commercial Appeal

On a Friday afternoon last month, Niti Mehta, a second-grade teacher at Shady Grove Elementary, began to “shake like a leaf.” A week earlier, she had the sniffles and nasal congestion, but no fever or shivering. RICHARD ROBBINS/THE COMMERCIAL APPEAL Trembling, she went home, turned up the heat and got under the blankets. Over the […]

Test pattern: Doctors rethink paradigm for cancer screening – Commercial Appeal Article

Some years before his retirement, when my father-in-law went in for his routine physical, his doctor ordered a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test, along with a cholesterol test and blood count. My father-in-law was not having any symptoms, and no one in his family had a history of prostate cancer. His PSA came back at […]

Depression common following an operation – Commercial Appeal Articles

My patient, who was built like a linebacker, was a week out from major heart surgery. He sat in a chair in his ICU room with his head drooped down. The surgery had gone well, and his heart rate, blood pressure and respirations were all normal. When I asked him how he was doing, he […]

When terminally ill patients ask how long they have, doctors find it hard to say – Washington Post

In January, when my close friend’s lymph node biopsy came back as a rare form of T-cell lymphoma, I scoured the scientific literature. What was his prognosis? He was 56, a little overweight but otherwise healthy. He had helped us move into our home more than a decade ago, and I was like an uncle […]

Medical tourism draws growing numbers of Americans to seek health care abroad

When my father had a toothache, he saw a dentist in Boston who recommended a root canal and dental crown costing about $2,000. He decided to wait until he was in India, his native land, for holidays and had the procedure done there for $200. Extremely satisfied with the service and the price, my mother […]

Viewpoint: Good doctor-patient relationship reduces lawsuits – Commercial Appreal

Published: September 06, 2010 My medical partner, a soft-spoken and caring man with more than a decade of clinical experience, has encountered patients who have threatened to sue him. So when I told him I’d received a letter from a patient’s widow who intended to sue me, he suggested I reply with a letter. Read More

With Swine Flu Returning, Families Can Reduce Risk of Transmission – Washington Post

Last winter, a few months before the first outbreak of H1N1 flu, my 13-year-old became ill, first with a cough and runny nose, and then with low-grade fever and nasal congestion. It was not severe enough to have her miss school, but we had her skip indoor soccer practice. A week later her older sister, […]

For Doctors, Rationing Care Is Standard Practice – Washington Post

Published: August 04, 2009 A seasoned pulmonologist shakes his head. “Let’s face it, we already ration care.” And, pausing ever so slightly, he begins his story. “This family of an 80-year-old gentleman came to me a few days after he was admitted into the ICU. He had end-stage emphysema. ‘We had a family conference last […]