Tag Archives: immune system

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What doctors want you to know about healthcare

If you want to know what doctors think, and more importantly, how they feel about their jobs, read KevinMD.

(This post has affiliate links.)

Founded by Dr. Kevin Pho in 2004, this blog features articles by thousands of doctors, representing multiple specialties, ages, genders, ethnicity and practice setting. They write on multiple topics related to health, the science, practice, business, and politics of medicine, the doctor-patient relationship, and anything else even remotely related to medicine and health care.

On KevinMD  you will not find detailed infographics, slick images, or cute printables. Rather you will find stories filled with raw emotion as physicians  candidly share the horrific  struggles, the occasional remarkable successes, and the everyday grind  of providing healthcare to hurting, needy, sometimes demanding, occasionally grateful patients. And you will hear from patients whose experiences with physicians and the healthcare system range from sublime to horrendous.

You may not like or agree with some of the things you read there-I often don’t and I’m a doctor myself. That’s part of the point of this blog. We physicians are not homogenous. We are individuals with different stories to tell from differing points of view, based on background, training,  and experience.

The blog is divided into sections based on broad categories of topics –

physician, patient, policy, tech, social media , meds, conditions.

Some of the articles are directed to patients while others are physician oriented. I encourage you to read some of both, in addition to the ones I am sharing here.

Many of the physician authors write their own blogs, so it is a good place to explore and discover other health bloggers that you may enjoy.

How doctors feel about relationships with patients-

Dr. Jennifer Lycette , an oncologist who blogs at The Hopeful Cancer Doc, offered her take on a situation that I have encountered more than once myself.

Don’t call me “Mrs.” Call me “Doctor.”


“To address a female physician as “Mrs.,” even if she is married, is to imply that despite all her professional accomplishments, her worth is reduced to her marital status. It ignores all the hard work that went into earning the title of “Doctor,” and denotes, whether intentional or not, that a female physician is somehow less deserving of the title than a male physician.”Dr. Oglesby nametag







 How patients feel about communicating with doctors

Martine Ehrenclou is a patient advocate.  She is the author of Critical Conditions: The Essential Hospital Guide to Get Your Loved One Out Alive and The Take-Charge Patient.

She submitted an interesting piece on a controversial topic, that of patients recording their visits with doctors, either with or without permission.

“patients are in fact secretly recording conversations with their doctors without asking permission first.

Talk about a blow to the doctor-patient relationship.

I understand the hesitation to ask permission to record an office or hospital visit with a medical provider as I experienced it myself. But secretly recording is a violation of trust. Why would any patient surreptitiously tamper with the relationship with their doctor, something that is considered the cornerstone of quality care?’

Documenting information your doctor gives you is essential because it’s just too easy to misunderstand or forget the medical information conveyed. “

She offers these

Tips to remember what the doctor tells you.




How doctors think about treating illness

Dr. Eileen Sprys is a family physician who wants you to know

When you have a cold, why I’m not giving you an antibiotic

“I want you to know that as a physician, I feel a pang of insecurity, guilt, and sadness when a patient tells me they’re upset because I won’t write an antibiotic.  I don’t want you to be sick or miserable.

I understand how inconvenient and sometimes life altering a cold can be. I desperately, desperately wish that I had a cure for your cold, but none of us do.

I also want you to know that for every antibiotic I over-prescribe, that I run the unnecessary risk of making someone even more sick, even to the point of hospitalization or death. I went into medicine to help you and to relieve your suffering with integrity — and that by giving you antibiotics without indication, I am betraying my own purpose.”




What doctors want you to know but don’t have time to tell you

a vision refractor

An ophthalmologist is a physician (doctor of medicine, MD, or doctor of osteopathy, DO) who specializes in the medical and surgical care of the eyes and visual system and in the prevention of eye disease and injury.

Dr. Brian C. Joondeph is an ophthalmologist and can be reached on Twitter @retinaldoctor. This article originally in the HealthZette reveals

8 things doctors secretly want to tell their patients

Number 8 is “I’m only human.”

 “We have our good days and bad days just like anyone else. We try to always have a smile on our faces, be upbeat and cheerful. But we, too, are affected by life’s challenges — work, family, finances, health, and so on. Don’t be too quick to judge and criticize!”

What doctors do away from their practice

KevinMD does have a few photos, and even some videos. I enjoyed this one by physician-comedian Brad Nieder, MD who blogs  at the The Healthy Humorist. In this clip he explains how he learned to eat less.



After you explore KevinMD, please come back and leave a comment about a post you especially liked, learned something from, or maybe disagreed with.

The word "Read" written in black paint on a colorful watercolor washed background.

Reconsidering vaccination- a book review

In 1961,  my mother and I went to my school on a Sunday afternoon to receive the newly released oral polio vaccine. She along with other parents eagerly sought a way to prevent a dreaded disease that had the potential to cripple or even kill their children.

In medical school I learned about diphtheria, a painful throat infection due to a bacteria, Corynebacterium diphtheriae. . Once a common cause of severe illness and death, a vaccine had rendered it rare. I saw no cases of diphtheria in medical school, nor have I since.

As a young physician I welcomed the introduction of the H.Flu vaccine (Haemophilus influenzae bacteria, not the virus) in 1985. At that time, any infant or toddler with a fever was a potential victim  of  meningitis due to H.Flu, which could be deadly or leave the child with neurological damage.

Similarly, the Hepatitis B vaccine made healthcare a less risky occupation; Hepatitis B is a blood borne infection contracted from contact with infected blood.


FROM THE CDC, UPDATED JANUARY 2016– follow link for detail






So, I was  first surprised, then puzzled, then alarmed , now resigned to the number of parents who reject vaccination for their children, and   adults who decline immunizations for themselves. Some people now fear the vaccines more than the diseases they prevent and we physicians must consider this to help people stay well instead of treating them when sick.

I was intrigued when I heard of a book, by a physician,that seems to promote a compromise-

The Vaccine-Friendly Plan


The Vaccine-Friendly Plan is published by Ballantine Books,  2016



The Vaccine-Friendly Plan by Paul Thomas, M.D., a pediatrician  and Jennifer Margulis, Ph.D.a science journalist.

It is based on his pediatric practice, Integrative Pediatrics,  as well as their extensively noted references. The book’s subtitle summarizes the contents accurately-

“Dr. Paul’s Safe and Effective Approach to Immunity and Health- from Pregnancy through your Child’s Teen Years.”

The book discusses pregnancy, infant and  child care in general, not just vaccination, although that is a major emphasis.There is a chapter about pregnancy and for each stage of child development through adolescence.

The first chapter discusses a popular health topic now- toxins. (As an aside, I don’t know when we started calling poisons  “toxins”) . This should grab your attention-

“Toxins, Toxins, Toxins: Raising Healthy Children in a Poisoned World”.

Anything can be “toxic” if misused, overused,or abused  but they concentrate on these toxins in particular- acetaminophen, aluminum, aspartame, fluoride, methanol, mercury, and what they call endocrine disruptors(this includes pesticides).  They state “environmental toxins are likely contributing to the autism epidemic” as well as other neurodevelopmental and mental disorders in children.  They base their conclusion on an extensive list of review articles from the medical and scientific that support their view (obviously) and also from Dr. Paul’s medical practice of 11,000 children who he calls “among the healthiest in the world.” While I suspect  families who are already health conscious tend to select a physician who is health oriented, this claim sounds impressive.

I agree with some of the advice the authors offer. For example this advice for pregnancy is hard to argue with-

  • Eat a whole foods, organic, non-GMO diet 
  • Skip the soda
  • Drink filtered water
  • Minimize stress
  • Get treatment for addiction
  • Join a support group

But in addition, they recommend declining all vaccinations during pregnancy, certainly not mainstream medicine advice.


A later chapter also offers sound advice:

“ The Best Ways to Support your Child’s Immune System” 

  • Breast feed
  • Enjoy cuddling
  • Laugh a lot
  • Relax often
  • Rock your body
  • Stay hydrated
  • Eat a variety of foods
  • Maintain social connection
  • Read
  • Get Dirty
  • Be cautious but not afraid
  • Choose vaccines based on real science, your family’s needs and common sense
  • Sleep enough
  • Trust your children
  • Trust yourself


He offers an interesting list  Ten Questions to Ask When Looking for a Pediatrician (which I assume would apply if you use a family physician for your child’s care).

As a physician, I have never liked the idea of being “interviewed” by a potential patient; I  want a relationship with patients, not a job. But I think pediatricians routinely offer “get acquainted” visits so you may find it helpful. Some of the questions seem more appropriate to explore  in a long term relationship with a physician, not quick answers in a short visit, like “What would you like me to know in order to keep my family healthy?”

An appendix compares the CDC immunization schedule of 1983 to the current 2016 version, illustrating  many more vaccines and doses are now recommended.

Of course the list is longer since several new vaccines have been developed in the past 30 years and the CDC recommends those considered necessary for the public health. Most areas of medical care have changed dramatically in the past 30 years, we have a lot more of everything-drugs, procedures, etc- so this should not be a surprise.


CDC Immunization Schedule– follow link for detail



Also in the appendix is Dr. Paul’s Vaccine Plan at a Glance, which is a much abbreviated version of the CDC recommendations. The plan is offered free at his web site drpaulapproved.com by signing up to receive his newsletter. (There is also a “store” on the web site offering an assortment of vitamins, minerals, probiotics and melatonin.)

The authors describe themselves as “pro-vaccine”, have received vaccines themselves and vaccinated their children. But they also believe that physicians and parents should have a choice and make informed decisions about immunization and other procedures. 

Universal vaccination is recommended , but there are individual circumstances where the routine schedule might need to be altered due to a child’s particular medical circumstance, but not for some vague concern that vaccination might not b e “safe”. Neither is infectious disease.

If  you are a parent who has  rejected vaccination for your children,  please read this book soon.

Also, read another review of this book by  Vincent Iannelli, MD is a pediatrician and Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.





Sonia Shah, a science journalist, also wrote about vaccination in her book

Pandemic – Tracking contagions from cholera, to Ebola, and beyond

Read my review at this link Pandemic- a book review


Pandemic by Sonia Shah


Previous posts about vaccination on this blog include

Vaccination prevents disease – Part 1 and Part 2


Explore the Category “books, literature, writing” for more book reviews.

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HEART of HEALTH.      

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exploring the HEART of HEALTH