Mea sententia...

Confirmation bias

I will never forget the quasi-humorous sign in the radiology reading room:

I’ll see it when I believe it.

Robert Burton, a former Chief of Neurology at Mount Zion Medical Center, explains it this way:

The art of the apology

It could have been a big deal, but it wasn’t. Our appointment to discuss our options for diagnosing and treating a potential malignancy had been scheduled with the wrong interventional radiologist.

Snowstorm epiphanies

Every year, as winter approaches, I look forward to big snowstorms. Not just because I love Nordic skiing - though I do. Not just because the individually tiny flakes and their accumulation into deceptively gentle drifts are such a useful reminder of the importance of soft power. Not just because of the quiet, or the magic of moonlight glistening on fresh powder, or even the knowledge that the piles of snow against the foundation will help insulate the basement and protect our pipes.

The Reason

At the suggestion of a colleague, I submitted one of my blog posts to the FMEC ‘This I believe’ contest. To my surprise, it was selected as an award winner, and this past Sunday, October 22nd, I attended their annual Northeast meeting to read my essay (accompanied by a slide show of my photographs) and receive my award.

Meetings as a collaboration deterrent

Meetings are an excellent tool for top-down hierarchies to manage and control information and decision making, but are inherently inimical to broad participation or collaborative processes.  Here are eight specific ways in which meetings, when used alone,  represent a barrier to collaboration rather than a collaborative tool…

Magical thinking and the persistent ear infection

Over the years, experienced clinicians develop a sensitive and largely unconscious radar that supplements their cognitive analysis of patients. From the moment we enter the room, we are processing multiple subtle and seemingly irrelevant clues: how sick does she look, how nervous, how is he dressed, does he make eye contact, is he alone or accompanied, what is her mood?  Mostly we let this intuition work undisturbed, drawing on it selectively when we want - or on those occasions when it speaks up unbidden - but walking into the exam room to see Ms.

Meetings: good, bad, and sometimes ugly...

A meeting is an unnecessary gathering of the unwilling, led by the unknowing, doing the impossible for the ungrateful. (Slogan from a popular poster during the 1960s.) 

The Reason

(Dedicated to Robert J. Haggerty, MD) 

It was winter and I was almost halfway through my third year of medical school in Rochester, New York. I was enjoying my pediatric rotation, even though it meant I was up much of every third night, and chronically sleep deprived. Getting to bed by 2 am and having three or more hours of uninterrupted sleep was considered a good night. In addition to pediatrics, I was learning to nap, and trying to learn to function despite exhaustion.

No such thing as bad weather

We are having a cold spell this week. According to the news, it is the coldest spell the area has seen in two winters, and people can’t stop talking about it. Mostly they complain, of course, though locals of a certain age couple their complaints with commentary about how much colder it used to be. Good or bad, people like to complain about the weather, which is fine with me. I just ignore them. 

What I find sad is how many people let weather interfere with living. I learned this early on after moving to Maine.

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