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Assessment and Treatment of Physician Speechlessness

What does a doctor say when words don’t come? Such was my dilemma several years ago on an inpatient psychiatric service when I responded to an emergency alarm activated by staff in a patient’s room. A young female patient—call her Lisa—had just knotted some latex gloves around her neck, and her face was still plethoric […]

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The Tradeoff of Cancer Drug Regulatory Policy: Faster Approvals for One Means Less Knowledge for Another

The popular narrative surrounding cancer drugs or other therapies for rare diseases is that patients are willing to assume more risk and uncertainty to gain rapid access to investigational agents. This is, in part, the impetus behind the frequent use of surrogate endpoints by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)1 and European Medicines Agency,2 as well […]

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The New Privacy Crisis: What’s Health Got to Do with It?

  When The New York Times and The Observer broke the news in March that a little-known consulting firm named Cambridge Analytica had used private data from millions of Facebook users, allegedly without their consent, few readers could have foreseen the major implications for their health care. They certainly could not have known that Cambridge Analytica’s client list extended […]

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Medical Tourists: Incoming and Outgoing

Patients who travel to another country to seek health care are referred to as medical tourists. The term arose because many Americans seek less expensive elective surgical, dental, or cosmetic procedures while vacationing abroad.1 Of course, US hospitals and physicians have also long cared for medical tourists from other countries. Now, many medical tourists are going […]

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Joseph S. Alpert

The Racial Divide Here at Home

My policy as editor for The American Journal of Medicine (AJM) has been to avoid reviewing books despite the fact that we receive a number of courtesy copies of excellent volumes every month. Because we also receive many outstanding manuscripts, this policy preserves space for our clinical and scientific contributions. However, on a rare occasion, I have […]

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Hospitalists, Medical Education, and U.S. Health Care Costs

  Hospitalists are general internists whose full-time practice is to treat hospitalized patients. They are the fastest-growing medical specialty in the United States. They increased in number from 4000 in the year 2000 to 50,000 in 20161 and now are the largest subspecialty in internal medicine. By 2016, nearly all teaching hospitals and 75% of all […]

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