Articles by Dr. Erik Steele

 
ERIK STEELE
Erik Steele

Mandatory motorcycle helmets — again

By Dr. Erik Steele on Feb. 28, 2013, at 11:18 a.m.
A lobster in a boiling pot has more of a chance than a mandatory helmet proposal in Maine, so I was going to keep my mouth shut in the debate in the Maine Legislature about whether to require motorcyclists here to wear helmets. What’s the point? Then I read some …
ERIK STEELE
Erik Steele

Is it nothing, or could it kill you?

By Dr. Erik Steele on Feb. 14, 2013, at 1:06 p.m.
If patient symptoms were bees, a typical day as a family doctor would produce an entire hive swarming around my head. Bleeding, bloating, belly pain, back pain, chest pain, chunks of something coughed up, discomfort, fatigue, fever, limp, lump, ringing, tingling, weird smell, weird taste, weakness and wonkiness are but …
ERIK STEELE

What’s best care — now available to all

By Dr. Erik Steele on Jan. 31, 2013, at 12:03 p.m.
The power of knowledge in the practice medicine used to be given only to us physician wizards of the medical Land of Oz. You novices had to stay on your ignorant side of the green curtain with Dorothy and her witless sidekicks. Those days are gone; any Dorothy, Toto, or …
ERIK STEELE
Erik Steele

When should I stop trying to live?

By Dr. Erik Steele on Jan. 17, 2013, at 11:33 a.m.
He fought in a war, jumped out of planes, ran the CIA and the U.S. government, but I bet former President George H.W. Bush would tell you one of the hardest things he has ever done is what he just did: spend seven weeks in the hospital seriously ill. The …
ERIK STEELE
Erik Steele

Getting counseling a sign of courage, not weakness

By Dr. Erik Steele on Jan. 03, 2013, at 11:49 a.m.
Many experts looking for answers to the question of how to prevent events such as the Newtown school shootings have pointed to the need for better access to mental health services such as counseling. If we want people to use such services, however, we will need to stop stigmatizing the …
Erik Steele

Honoring the teachers of Newtown

By Dr. Erik Steele on Dec. 20, 2012, at 11:08 a.m.
The Newtown school massacre is an example of the writer’s curse; I don’t want to write about it but I cannot stop thinking about it until I do. I think of our daughters going off to elementary school with My Little Pony lunch boxes clutched firmly in hand, confident we …
ERIK STEELE
Dr. Erik Steele

A doctor’s bucket list — just in case the world ends soon

By Dr. Erik Steele on Dec. 06, 2012, at 2:34 p.m.
Optimists and pessimists both have had good choices about the future lately. Optimists could plan to win the $540 million Powerball lottery, and then retire to play golf and buy presidential elections. Pessimists could plan on the end of the world on Dec. 21, 2012, when some people believe that …

A deadly house fire reminds us that our best intentions aren’t enough to avoid tragedy

By Dr. Erik Steele on Nov. 22, 2012, at 12:45 p.m.
One tragedy of tragedies is that we often don’t learn from them, which means we waste those lessons others died “teaching” us. Our lives and deaths are replete with evidence of this, with thousands of Americans dying avoidably each year because we have trouble following through on the lessons of …
ERIK STEELE

My bum knee: Part II

By Dr. Erik Steele on Nov. 08, 2012, at 3:42 p.m.
A few weeks ago, I let some people I don’t know very well put me to sleep, cut open my bum right knee, stick in some metal tools, and whack out some torn cartilage. I trusted them so completely to take good care of me that my heart rate just …
ERIK STEELE
Erik Steele

Motivating behavior change — it’s time to give up nagging

By Dr. Erik Steele on Oct. 25, 2012, at 1:30 p.m.
I spend so much of my time nagging patients to take better care of themselves that they probably think my specialty is bitchingologist. When I’m on a roll listing the litany of health horrors that will befall those who fail to do as I tell them I am scarier than …
ERIK STEELE
Erik Steele

What will be the legacy of our abuse?

By Dr. Erik Steele on Oct. 10, 2012, at 3:58 p.m.
In a few weeks it will have been 12 months since my community learned that one of its favorite ministers had allegedly been molesting some of our children for many years. I will not be surprised if the one year anniversary of his exposure and subsequent suicide passes quietly, because …
ERIK STEELE
Dr. Erik Steele

Health care reform — what do physicians think?

By Dr. Erik Steele on Sept. 27, 2012, at 4:10 p.m.
Physicians agree on — maybe — two things. First, they agree they don’t agree on anything. Actually, some probably disagree about that. Second, they usually agree that everyone who disagrees with them is wrong. It should therefore come as no surprise that physician opinions about health care reform cover more …

My big mouth is my own and nobody else’s

By Dr. Erik Steele on Sept. 13, 2012, at 10:35 a.m.
The big, fat mouth I open in this column is my own. When I write stuff that’s so bad my dog would not even dare to roll in it, that’s all mine. When brilliant ideas light up the page, I get all the credit. The $40 bucks I get paid …
ERIK STEELE

Cutting quit-smoking benefits — a business 101 review

By Dr. Erik Steele on Aug. 30, 2012, at 12:24 p.m.
Maine is a place where the state government has committed itself to run as though it was a good business. So when it announced it was proposing to cut funds that help Maine Medicaid patients to quit smoking in order to save state Medicaid dollars, I thought I would set …
ERIK STEELE
Erik Steele

Physician-assisted suicide — time to reconsider

By Dr. Erik Steele on Aug. 16, 2012, at 11:29 a.m.
One night several years ago, my terminally ill patient David chose the time of his own death by shooting himself in the chest. I believe he picked that method because he knew I would be angry if he chose to end his life more peacefully by simply taking an overdose …
ERIK STEELE
Erik Steele

Teaching the brain to respect others

By Dr. Erik Steele on July 19, 2012, at 3 p.m.
Having once completely shaved a buck-naked ex-governor in preparation for his surgery, I can tell you politicians are not much different from the rest of us. That’s why I generally respect them. I also respect most government workers, Medicaid moms, lawyers, drug addicts, alcoholics and my critics (who are often …
ERIK STEELE

A biker buddy system to keep newbies from dying on the open road

By Dr. Erik Steele on June 21, 2012, at 4:27 p.m.
When I see motorcyclists riding around on these nice days with their hair streaming out behind them, I think of all the times I have run my fingers through such hair. Exploring more gently than a lover might, I’ve palpated injured riders’ heads for skull fractures, glass fragments and the …
ERIK STEELE
Erik Steele

Supreme irrelevance?

By Dr. Erik Steele on June 07, 2012, at 5:06 p.m.
Someday soon the U.S. Supreme Court will decide the constitutionality of President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Those who think the court’s decision will close the barn door on the horse of health care reform should not cheer or despair; that horse is long gone. In fact, the …
ERIK STEELE
Dr. Erik Steele

Your family doctor is now a team

By Dr. Erik Steele on May 24, 2012, at 3:43 p.m.
When it came to being your family doc, I tried darn hard to do it all. I delivered your babies, took care of you in the hospital, palpated your parts, and much more. If space aliens had flown out of your navel I would have tried to fix that problem …
ERIK STEELE
Erik Steele

My bum knee, Part 1

By Dr. Erik Steele on May 10, 2012, at 3:39 p.m.
If I was your horse, I would understand why we were taking a walk toward that hole you recently dug in the south pasture. Not long after I wrote a column about my gimpy right shoulder, my right knee started whining for attention by hurting after I ran on it, …
 
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