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Stories by Jim Eichel

29 Reader writers on their fathers

To commemorate Father's Day, this issue contains a collection of reflections from Reader writers about their fathers: The Last Tag Sale — Jeanne Schinto An Air of Exoticism — Duncan Shepherd Kinder Than I Would ...

June 15, 2000
Time on the Court

I have never thanked my father for one of the nicest and most difficult things he ever did for me, because until I thought of it just now, I didn’t realize he had done it, ...

June 15, 2000
What Happens When a Doctor Makes a Mistake

“She’s contracting every seven minutes and liquid is coming out.” It was a Sunday morning in early March, and I was the doctor on call for family practice and pregnancy-related matters. This call from a ...

Travel Bug

"WAKE UP, HONEY. MOM FELL" It was 2:30 a.m. and the words were coming from my wife Terry. Accustomed to composing myself at any hour, I found myself resistant to doing so now, probably because ...

February 10, 2000
What is the name for this collection of events?

BUDD, THE PRESIDENT OF OUR MEDICAL GROUP, TOLD ME A FEW WEEKS AGO, “IT IS MY GOAL NEVER TO BECOME AN INTERESTING PATIENT.” I hadn’t seen Sheryl in 19 months when she showed up for ...

January 20, 2000
Jim Eichel, UCSD med school alum, asks, Was this my fault?

Was This My Fault? “I THINK SHE HAS PNEUMONIA.” Anne, a nurse-practitioner student to whom I’m teaching outpatient medicine, was right. Flo, a proud, stubborn, wiry, 72-year-old African-American had called me earlier that day hoping ...

August 12, 1999
UCSD med school grad works on patient's weight loss.

Two years ago, Glenda weighed 342 pounds, and it was clear to me she needed more than advice to exercise and eat right. From the face covered with zits to the ankles swollen with arthritis, ...

How a primary care doc can keep staff from running off to Kaiser or the specialists

"This policy makes it clear what we should do about Jessica and Christine." Two medical assistants who worked in our office until they decided they would try going to Kaiser to improve their incomes, Jessica ...

October 15, 1998
Schizophrenia, cigarettes, lung cancer

“IT’S JUST A CASE OF MIDDLE-AGED HYPOCHONDRIA.” “NO, IT ISN'T” WAS MY MIND’S BLUNT REPLY. AS I STARED AT THE NEATLY HANDWRITTEN WORDS. I FELT MY FACE GRIMACE IN RESPECTFUL ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF FATE’S TIMING. WHICH ...

September 10, 1998
The first human to touch my daughter's head

“Don't push!” The command leaped from my lips as it had countless times in the past nine years, but this was different. The perineal skin blanching white just two feet from my face belonged to ...

July 23, 1998
Staphylococcus aureus bacteria colonized Myrna's heart and brain,

“I feel awful.” Myrna’s 83-year-old vocal chords, partially paralyzed from her stroke two years ago, labored with the effort of speaking. The staphylococcus aureus bacteria coursing through her bloodstream had colonized her heart and brain, ...

Dead baby in the womb — doctor slays demon

“Dr. Bender on line two for you, Dr. Eichel.” My mouth replied, “Thank you.” My mind thought, “Oh, no." An unsolicited, unexpected call from a radiologist never means good news. I went through my mental ...

UCSD med school grad: no cure for chaos

When she first visited my office, Joanne was Mary, and I was not surprised when she told me that not long before she had been Mark. She had a linebacker’s 5´10˝, 246-pound blocklike frame and ...

March 19, 1998
Cancer Isn't the Only Killer Stalking Randa

Randa’s blood pressure had risen again, and I needed to know why. An African-American police officer in her 40s and a single mother of three, Randa’s lips parted in a jovial smirk. “You really want ...

February 12, 1998
Why Kaiser will rule the world of medicine

OUR INDEPENDENT PROVIDER ASSOCIATION (IPA) MEETING THURSDAY NIGHT ADDRESSED NEARLY EVERY NIGHTMARISH ASPECT OF PRACTICING MEDICINE IN THE 1990S. MEETINGS SUCH AS THIS ARE RUINING MY HEALTH. Three months ago, our IPA announced it had ...

December 11, 1997
All primary care physicians have patients we call our albatrosses

If you are a woman therapist in your late 40s, about 5'7" (“but not too tall”), blond of hair, conservative in dress, self-assured, nurturing, non-flamboyant with a pleasant voice, I want to meet you. Not ...

October 30, 1997
Doctor Jim Eichel on a work vacation in Mali

Underneath my name on the shingle that hangs outside of my office's front door are the words "Berkeley International Health." Until we sold our practice nine months ago. That was what my partner and I ...

September 18, 1997
Suicide may be legal in Japan, but not in California

People have come into my office having heart attacks. But after Masako walked out our front door, I felt more helpless and frightened than at any other time during my four and a half years ...

August 21, 1997
Jim Eichel tells of colon cancer

Some weeks in family practice have themes. This week's theme was colon cancer. Monday morning I went up to the sixth floor of the hospital to check on Viola. Now 86 years old, Viola is ...

UC San Francisco neurosurgeon Charlie Wilson takes my call

One afternoon about four years ago, my brother John called me during office hours. I had finished my family practice residency about six months before and was just starting my own practice in Berkeley, California. ...

We pumped Gloria full of fluid and saved her lif

RUTH ANN, MY HOUSEMATE AND FELLOW SECOND-YEAR FAMILY PRACTICE RESIDENT, HAD TOLD ME VIRGINIA WASN’T DOING WELL WHEN SHE SIGNED OUT TO ME THAT AFTERNOON IN 1990. THAT EVENING, I GOT THE CALL FROM THE ...

April 10, 1997
A baby too eager to begin life outside the womb

JUST A COUPLE MORE PUSHES AND CHERYL, A 31 -YEAR-OLD JAZZ DANCER, WOULD HAVE HER FIRST BABY. I MET HER THE DAY BEFORE WHEN SHE CAME TO OUR SERVICE AT MARY HITCHCOCK MEDICAL CENTER. SHE ...

March 27, 1997
How UCSD Medical School transformed a young man into a doctor

During the first year of my residency in family practice in Maine, I came home to Los Angeles for Christmas. The climate switch in the seven-hour cross-country journey, from minus 10 to 86 degrees, didn’t ...

March 20, 1997
Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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