My Medical AI Encounter

by Brian T. Maurer, PA-C Abstract:  After ruminating on recent widespread reports that an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot (ChatGPT) was able to achieve a passing score on the United States Medical Licensing Exam (USMLE), a retired pediatric clinician envisions a primary care medical encounter in the near future.  Key words: chatbot, ChatGPT, AI medical knowledge, EHR, EMR, medical AI bot, telemedicine, telehealth, medical humor. ******************* When I log in to my online medical portal to schedule a routine appointment with my PCP, a chat window pops up. “Hello. I see that you are attempting to schedule an appointment with your primary care provider (PCP). May I be of service?” “Can … Continue reading

Fat Matters and Marketing

On January 1, 2023, the CBS news magazine 60 Minutes aired a segment  on Obesity.  It featured a promising new weight loss medication that is in short supply and often is not covered by insurance.  This was a good piece, but it made me a uneasy.  Is weight loss as simple as taking a shot once a week?  The medication is semaglutide and it comes as Wegovy and Ozempic.  Wegovy is approved for weight loss and Ozempic for Type 2 diabetes; although both are the same drug. The 60 Minute section reminded me of the quote,  “There’s a pill for every ill.”  Wegovy’s price on GoodRx is ~ $1400 per … Continue reading

In the Skin

Lynette Lamp Draped in paper, you jump like a startled squirrel when I enter the exam room.You always do. I didn’t askabout the tattoos,even though I probedwith questions about everything else. You told me, once you trusted me to know.Spider-man on your left armto give you strength after your father’s suicide.An awkward iris on your backplanted over your ex’s name.On your right thigh, an angel with the date your sister died. The kid in the El Camino was at fault,but no one sued, only grieved. Still grieving. You say each break in your skin helped heal some other broken part.But there’s no place for that ink in your chart. Lynette … Continue reading

Travels with Myself (and another)

Brian T. Maurer Abstract: After four decades of medical practice, a primary care clinician finds himself cast in the role of a patient in need of dermatological surgery for skin cancer from a former colleague he had never met face to face until the day of the surgical encounter. The night before the surgery I plowed through the Delia Owens novel “Where the Crawdads Sing.”  I hadn’t anticipated the ending and fitfully drifted in and out of sleep for a couple of hours, finally succumbing to exhaustion and the warmth of the bed.  Nonetheless, my eyes opened at 5:00 AM.  I got up to do my morning exercise routine, showered, … Continue reading

Providing Hats and Sun Safe Information to Galveston’s Homeless 

Practicing Safe Sun in Galveston Title: Providing Hats and Sun Safe Information to Galveston’s Homeless Andrea Francis BS1, Richard F. Wagner Jr MD21. The University of Texas Medical Branch, School of Medicine2. The University of Texas Medical Branch, Department of Dermatology Corresponding author:Andrea Francis BSEmail: asfranci@utmb.e Keywords: Sun safety, Sun Protection, Homeless Health, Dermatology. INTRODUCTIONGalveston, Texas has a higher rate of homelessness than most U.S. and other Texas cities. The most recent point-of-time survey identified 326 homeless in Galveston during January 2020. The homeless population in subtropical Galveston is at increased risk for facial skin cancer due to daily unprotected outdoor exposure to sunlight. This Quality Improvement Project (QIP) was … Continue reading

The name — of it — is “Autumn”

The name — of it — is “Autumn” —The hue — of it — is Blood —An Artery — upon the Hill —A Vein — along the Road — Great Globules — in the Alleys —And Oh, the Shower of Stain —When Winds — upset the Basin —And spill the Scarlet Rain — It sprinkles Bonnets — far below —It gathers ruddy Pools —Then — eddies like a Rose — away —Upon Vermilion Wheels — Photos channeling Emily Dickinson taken on the weekend of October 8 – 9, 2002 in Williamstown, MA.

Let’s Spill the Cafè-au-lait

Elise D. Machrone*University of Washington, Seattle, WA ______________________________________________________________________________ ABSTRACT Do you love having a cafè-au-lait to start your day? While so many of us indulge in the creamy mixture of milk and espresso, the general public is unaware of the de-caffeinated, dermatological connotations of this word. This article will share my personal experience with cafè-au-lait spots and reveal the complexities of this skin condition that can indicate a much more serious disease called neurofibromatosis. So, let’s remove the caffeine —for now— and talk about skin. ______________________________________________________________________________ When I was ten years old my observant pediatrician noticed freckles in one of my armpits suddenly making an appearance to complement my previously … Continue reading