Pharmaceutical market puts profits above all – Commercial Appeal

A grandmother develops a boil which turns out to be a difficult-to-treat staph infection (MRSA). She needs high-powered antibiotics. A middle-aged man who received a blood transfusion decades ago now has hepatitis C and needs anti-viral medicine. A young woman with HIV develops golf-ball-size lesions in her brain, has toxoplasmosis and needs anti-parasite medicine. The […]

Super sweet soda is way too accessible – Commercial Appeal

I am standing at the kitchen counter and conducting a simple demonstration. In a tall glass of carbonated water, I begin to add teaspoons of sugar. I put in one and then two teaspoons (this is what I add to my tea or coffee). Then I add three and then four teaspoons. I begin to […]

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, […]

Denying employment could be powerful disincentive for smokers – Commercial Appeal

As I walk into the hospital each day, I notice patients and families sitting outside on benches that are surrounded by large signs prohibiting smoking on hospital grounds. For over five years, a collaborative and concerted effort by Memphis hospitals has successfully made all the hospital campuses smoke-free. Now, in other states, hospital systems like […]

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 […]

We all need ‘skin’ in Medicare debate – Commercial Appeal

As I approach my 50th birthday, I worry about Medicare not being there for me when I become eligible. I have some inside knowledge about Medicare. My parents and in-laws are patients on Medicare. As a doctor, I am a provider for Medicare, and as a public health educator I am a consultant for a […]

Judging ‘Obamacare’ depends on your situation Put politics aside and just focus on facts – Commercial Appeal

On the day the U.S. Supreme Court delivered its historic decision on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare, I was rounding on my hospital patients: a man on the ventilator with pneumonia who had private insurance, one elderly woman with abdominal pain going for gall bladder surgery on Medicare, and one middle aged obese […]

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 […]

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 […]

Hospitals feeling way toward greater transparency – Commercial Appeal

A few years ago at a conference, I learned about a hospital initiative that allowed family members to be present 24/7 with their loved ones, often in the most challenging of environments, such as the intensive care unit. I was hesitant to accept this practice. An ICU room is filled with lifesaving equipment — ventilators […]

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 […]

Accepting death is difficult for patients and doctors, but it needs to be done – Washington Post

My 64-year-old patient with terminal cancer and less than six months to live wanted to go to Oregon. He was contemplating assisted suicide, which is legal there. “My life has been long and good,” he said. “I believe it is my right. I want the ability to say it’s too much, I can’t do it […]

Intensive care units grow more friendly to patients’ families at some hospitals – Washington Post

Not long ago, when my father was about to undergo a heart procedure, I hinted to the cardiologist, a colleague, that I wanted to be there, too, not just to offer comfort but also to be present for the play-by-play that would lead to a critical decision: whether to open his blocked arteries with a […]

Close friend’s passing raises questions beyond the scientific – Commercial Appeal

Published: April 12, 2010 A close friend of mine, Tapan Thakur, died last week. As I tried to go about my routine of seeing patients or having dinner with my kids, no more than five minutes would pass before my thoughts would revert to him. Read More

Patient’s Rights- Know Them and Exercise Them – Shelby Sun

Do patients have “needs” or do patients have “rights?” When I was in medical school – a couple of decades ago – we talked about patient’s needs. Today, the concept has matured to patient’s rights. In fact, in 1997 President Clinton signed a Patients Bill of Rights into law. However, if you are like me, […]