Gloved doctor hands typing
Photo: Levi Brown
You thought physicians were robotic and cold? A new epidemic of personal blogs written by docs might change your mind. These medical scribes are boldly posting their real feelings (and worst fears) on the web, for all the world to see. Their journals provide us patients with an informative and humanizing look behind the professional mask.
Kimberly D. Manning, MD
Internal Medicine, Atlanta
Frequent topics: What it's like to work at a "fire-breathing dragon of a county hospital"; her bonds with patients.
Why you should read it: To catch a glimpse of healthcare on the front lines of a public teaching hospital.
Sample dose: "Motherhood has changed me as a person, and so very much as a physician.... Even the most difficult, manipulative, and yes, annoying patient was once somebody's baby. Before the damage done by cigarette smoking, and before the heart disease, or the alcohol and drug dependency, or the HIV, or the mental illness, or the morbid obesity...somebody at some point held them in their arms wishing the world for them."

Lucy E. Hornstein, MD
Family Physician, Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
Frequent topics: The dangers of prioritizing profits over health; the risks of specialized care.
Why you should read it: For advice on the physician-patient relationship. And Hornstein's passionate views.
Sample dose: "Here's what I tell my patients: 1. If your blood pressure is normal, and 2. If your cholesterol is normal, and 3. If your blood sugar is normal, and 4. If you don't smoke, and 5. If you are active..., then I don't care what you weigh.... [I]f you don't actually have any of the conditions for which obesity puts you at risk, and if you continue to get monitored for those conditions on a regular basis, what's the big deal? Answer: It isn't."

Jeffrey Parks, MD
General Surgeon, Cleveland
Frequent topics: Life lessons learned in the hospital; the value of bedside manner; surgical play-by-plays.
Why you should read it: To get to know the ins and outs of the OR, should you ever need to go there. And for the humanity Parks brings to the table.
Sample dose: "The second-guessing never stops, incessantly tormenting your sleepless nights...searching to no avail for that instant when you could have done something better, another stitch, a different technique, another instrument, a sign or symptom you missed, a less risky maneuver.... We all have these cases.... The ones that deny it are either liars or they don't operate nearly enough."

Westby G. Fisher, MD
Cardiologist, Evanston, Illinois
Frequent topics: Healthcare reform; advances in heart disease treatments and technologies.
Why you should read it: To stay updated on the latest therapies for the leading killer of women and men.
Sample dose: "[A] doctor's time with a patient is finite. For every click on a computerized quality check-box, we're stealing from time...with the patient.... [O]ur governmental overlords have consistently swollen the number of 'quality measures' from 74 in 2007, [to] 119 in 2008, [to] 153 in 2009, to a whopping 179 in 2010. I figure...we will have about 319 measures by 2014.... And the government will be proud we're providing such 'quality care.' Click. Click. Click."

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