Posts tagged #medicine

A Watchful Eye in Hospitals

DESPITE the intensely personal moments that happen in hospitals, patient privacy can be elusive. Hospitals are multimillion-dollar corporations that look like shopping malls and function like factories. Doctors knock on exam room doors to signal they are about to enter — not to ask permission. The curtain that encircles the hospital bed always lets in a crack of light.


Yet we do expect some degree of privacy in hospitals. We trust doctors with our secrets in part because they take a 2,000-year-old Hippocratic oath to respect our privacy, an oath enforced by laws like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. But sometimes, doctors have to weigh patients’ privacy against their health and safety, and that’s when things get complicated.

My hospital, where I am chairman of the bioethics committee, recently wrestled with the question of where patient and family privacy ends. Nurses in the neonatal intensive care unit (N.I.C.U.) worried that a premature infant, whom I’ll call Rickie to protect his identity, was being harmed by his parents.

Read my full op ed at The New York Times

Posted on February 16, 2014 .

Medicine is going through tough times. The trusted family doctor who makes house calls has been replaced in the public lore by the benign technician but most recognize we need better models. Public narrative seems like a great way forward. Phil Lederer (@philiplederer) runs a nice website called in which he showcases life stories from doctors and other healthcare providers. 

The Campfire by Winslow Homer

The Campfire by Winslow Homer

What brought people to medicine in the first place? Why do they stay? What was their greatest contribution? Read my contribution and others at, and tell your own story too.  

Posted on September 8, 2013 .