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Beacon Buzz: Danielle Ofri on Medical Empathy, Dr. Gil Welch on colonoscopies and non-medical buzz, too!

7332What Doctors Feel: How Emotions Affect the Practice of Medicine by Danielle Ofri

Boston Globe review offers high praise

Ofri adroitly balances presentation of her own experiences and those of others, with research into the emotional aspects of medical practice. The result is a fascinating journey into the heart and mind of a physician struggling to do the best for her patients while navigating an imperfect health care system that often seems to value “efficiency,” measured in dollars and minutes, more than the emotional well-being of either physician or patient.

Danielle Ofri confronts the lack medical empathy in Slate Magazine

Students are not just learning medicine during the third year of medical school; they are learning how to be doctors. Despite the carefully crafted official medical curriculum, it is the “hidden curriculum” that drives the take-home messages. The students astutely note how their superiors comport themselves, how they interact with patients, how they treat other staff members. The students are keen observers of how their supervisors dress—and how they may dress down those around them. They figure out which groups of patients can be the object of sarcasm or humor, and which cannot.

Health magazine; May issue Q&A with Ofri offers insight into doctor-patient relationships

Whenever a patient shares a story with a doctor, both of you become entwined in a relationship. Relationships may ebb and flow, but a good one is there for the long haul. Your medical needs will likely vary over time, and a good doctor-patient bond can adapt to this.  


2199Overdiagnosed: Making People Sick in the Pursuit of Health by Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, Dr. Lisa M. Schwartz, Dr. Steven Woloshin

In "The $2.7 Trillion Medical Bill: Colonoscopies Explain Why U.S. Leads the World in Health Expenditures," (New York Times) Elisabeth Rosenthal quotes Dr. H. Gilbert Welch on the overuse of colonoscopies:

While several cheaper and less invasive tests to screen for colon cancer are recommended as equally effective by the federal government’s expert panel on preventive care — and are commonly used in other countries — colonoscopy has become the go-to procedure in the United States. “We’ve defaulted to by far the most expensive option, without much if any data to support it,” said Dr. H. Gilbert Welch, a professor of medicine at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice.




Opportunity, Montana: Big Copper, Bad Water, and the Burial of an American Landscape by Brad Tyer

The website Reports from Dark Acres thoroughly reviewed Opportunity, Montana:

Combining sometimes very personal revelations with hard-nosed journalism, some wonderfully serendipitous discoveries, and what the English departments call “creative non-fiction,” Tyer has written a compelling and enlightening account of this rather amazing story, which is a win for everyone. Everyone, of course, except the people of Opportunity.