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 often struggle to show compassion while dealing with patients – Washington Post

I was standing at my patient’s bedside. Mike Venata was having chills with a temperature of 103. Sweat covered his balding scalp like dew, then coalesced and rolled down past his staring eyes. Just 20 minutes earlier, a specialist had informed him that he had metastatic pancreatic cancer and could expect to live less than six […]

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

Examining Physicians Part 3: High or low, room to improve – Commercial Appeal

Published: April 27, 2010 I rehearsed my lines as I drove up to an office in Midtown. I was meeting with a doctor who had been rated poorly by his patients. Memphis is one of three cities where Consumers’ Checkbook, a nonprofit national consumer organization, has conducted surveys on what patients say about their doctor. […]

Health care reform from one doctor’s perspective – Commercial Appeal

Published: March 19, 2010 I don’t want to discuss the polarizing politics of the health care reform bill, which is now a law. Rather, I want to answer one fundamental question that my patients and my peers have asked me. “What’s in it?” Read More

Patients and Family are Part of the Healthcare Team – Shelby Sun

Few weeks ago my wife, also a physician, and I attended a medical seminar on teamwork. A Navy pilot, Steve Harden, was teaching us teamwork skills from the aviation industry so that we could reduce medical errors in the healthcare setting. The hotel ballroom was packed with 400 doctors with 10 doctors at each round […]

Feel the power of prayer – Shelby Sun

Last month I spoke to students at Rhodes College on “Does Prayer Really Work?”. I am not a preacher or a pastor but a doctor. Why would a doctor be talking about prayer? A controversy has brewed in the field of medicine- whether doctors should pray with their patients or encourage patients to pray to […]

Happiness and health – are they linked? – Shelby Sun

During morning rounds at the hospital I examine Mr. Jones. He had a lung transplant a year ago, and has made more visits to the hospitals than to the supermarket. I ask myself, “Is Mr. Jones happy?” I pass the automatic double door out of the ICU onto the hospital floor that has many acute […]