Family physician, author, blogger, speaker, physician leader.

Recent Articles

Is Dr. Daniela Drake Correct? Your Doctor May Feel But is NOT a ‘Beaten Dog’

Dr. Daniela Drake writes an provocative and bold piece on the plight of doctors in America and the impact it has on patient care in her  The Daily Beast article Why Your Doctor Feels Like a ‘Beaten Dog’. Many doctors do feel disenfranchised. Others would not want their children to become doctors. Though health care is very bureaucratic with administrative paperwork, obstacles, and hassles, her linkage of how patients were neglected as a consequence of the system we work in is weak. She talks about Victoria, a teenager, who shortly after a necessary surgery which required mesh placement, developed painful rashes that no one could help with until she found a specialist a decade later who had seen a similar issue. Mesh removed. Painful rashes gone. Is this a fault of our health care system? No. Not getting the right diagnosis isn’t necessarily a problem of the health care system. […] Read More »

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Doctor, medical students – listen to your patients! His pain was from flipping a bed!

Even in the 21st century, talking to your doctor about your symptoms matters. This is something I tell my medical students. Talk to your patients! Listen to your patients! Use their story to determine what tests and imaging tests to order, if needed. Don’t get fooled by technology or be in awe of its importance. It is the patient’s experience that matters.  It isn’t the other way around as we see from an office visit many years ago. I had known Mr. Sanchez for years. When he talked, he was forced to pause every couple of sentences to catch his breath. His pudgy and wrinkly elderly face was a consequence of both his periodic use of prednisone to help calm his emphysema and years of prolonged sun exposure and smoking. But on this day, Mr. Sanchez’s visit had nothing to do with his breathing. He was suffering from severe abdominal […] Read More »

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To Repair or Replace a Flat Tire?

“Daddy, I think we have a flat tire.” I just rolled out of the garage with my 4th grade daughter. It was Tuesday morning. Usual daily routine. Drop her off at school then go to work. A little different today as I was to lead an important meeting. How could she possibly know what a flat tire sounds like? Now? Right now? She’s probably mistaken. It can’t be a flat tire. “Whopp, whopp, whopp.” The car was tilted down towards the passenger side. Rats! Not good. Never a good time to have a car problem. Get out of the car. Yep, flat tire. Ask daughter to get out of the car. Wife hasn’t left for the office yet. Can she take her to school instead? Call the auto club for help in changing the tire. If quick enough, I might still make the meeting without getting dirt and grime all […] Read More »

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My Advice to Medical Students – Better Care Is Mindfully Listening To Your Patient!

“Dr. Liu, I don’t think he has diverticulitis.” So said the 2nd year medical student. She had just completed her first year of anatomy, biochemistry, pathology, and introduction to doctoring at the local medical school. One of the sharpest med students I’ve proctored. Like many summers, I’ve been fortunate to spend time with the next generation of doctors. These future doctors were brimmed with enthusiasm and energy.  Instead of taking time off to relax before second year, eyes bright and eager to learn they decided to devote more time with patients. I remember putting on a similar short white coat, stuffing my pockets with a stethoscope, reflex hammer, pens and notepad, and hoping to somehow look the role even if I still didn’t feel quite up to the role. As a practicing primary care doctor and local community preceptor, I don’t always feels quite up to the role as an […] Read More »

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Make the Most Out of Your Doctor Office Visit – You Just D.A.T.E.D. Your Doctor!

Book excerpt from The Thrifty Patient -Vital Insider Tips for Saving Money and Staying Healthy You Just D.A.T.E.D. Your Doctor You’ve told your story. Your doctor gets it. He has completed the physical exam. He formulates a plan to get you better. The next skill you should master may be as important as being a great storyteller. Your doctor has told you the treatment plan. Do you remember what you need to do? A 1996 study at the Mayo Clinic showed that patients remember less than half of what physicians tell them during office visits.7 Of nearly six hundred patients who were asked to recall what diagnoses physicians had discussed with them, 54 percent could not remember the major problems. Of patients whose doctors had discussed with them the risk factors for heart disease, 68 percent did not recall any discussion about tobacco use, 62 percent did not remember hypertension […] Read More »