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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Inspired Medicine: Getting Patients to Make Healthy Changes

The business of medicine puts its emphasis on the treatment of people who are already very sick. As an orthopedic surgeon, I got training mostly in how to repair damaged bones, joints, and flesh, and that's what I'm paid to do. But by the time someone has torn a ligament, suffered a heart attack, or lost a kidney, their lives will most likely be shorter no matter how sophisticated the drugs or surgery we have to offer.


We can't force our patients to stop smoking, exercise, eat well, get plenty of sleep, or receive vaccines. We can't grab the guns out of their hands if they've made up their minds to shoot themselves. But we can inspire them to take care of themselves.


There's a reason why the lifespans in places like Monaco and Japan are so much longer than ours, and it's not superior DNA. It has a lot to do with culture, and as physicians, we must lead the change.


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