The Danger Of Early Closure

Photo: gustaffo89

I had a patient once—a fellow physician—who came to see me complaining of mid-back pain. When I examined him, I found I could reproduce his pain by pressing firmly on the spot he said was hurting him. He said pressing there also made the pain radiate around to his stomach, a phenomenon […]

The Unlived Life

Photo: wonderlane

By nature I’ve always been an excessively introspective person. My entire life I’ve believed, as Socrates said, that “the unexamined life isn’t worth living.” Even now, my wife frequently accuses me of living mostly in my own head. But in my first year of college, in response to my voicing my commitment […]

Why We Need To Know Why

Photo: nathanborror

I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: we are, all of us, meaning-seeking creatures. We seek not only to define the meaning of our lives by adopting, whether consciously or unconsciously, an over-arching purpose, but also to understand the reason for almost everything that happens in the course of each day. […]

Criteria For Screening

Photo: zilupe

I had a patient once who wanted an exercise stress test even though he had neither symptoms nor risk factors to suggest the presence of coronary artery disease (such as chest pain with exertion). I argued vociferously against it. However, extenuating circumstances (not relevant here) prompted our mutual decision to go ahead […]