John Henning Schumann

John Henning Schumann, M.D., is an internal medicine physician and writer (http://glasshospital.com). He has contributed to Slate, The Atlantic, Marketplace, and National Public Radio’s health blog, Shots.

Schumann serves as guest host for Studio Tulsa on health-related themes and is also host of Medical Matters on KWGS, an occasional series about health care and the human condition.

He was appointed Interim President of the University of Oklahoma – Tulsa in January 2015. You can find him on twitter @GlassHospital.

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Shots - Health News
4:03 am
Sat August 1, 2015

No Shame, No Euphemism: Suicide Isn't A Natural Cause Of Death

Keith Negley for NPR

Beware the mention of natural causes, as in my mother's obituary:

"Norita Wyse Berman, a writer, stockbroker and artist ... died at home Friday of natural causes. She was 60."

Sixty-year-olds don't die of natural causes anymore. The truth was too hard to admit.

Fifteen years on, I'm ashamed of my family's shame. Those attending her funeral and paying shiva calls knew the truth anyway. People talk.

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Shots - Health News
5:03 am
Sun April 12, 2015

What Could Go Wrong When Doctors Treat Their Own Kids?

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Mon April 13, 2015 2:55 pm

Famed doctor and medical educator William Osler once said, "A physician who treats himself has a fool for a patient."

What, I wonder, does that say about us doctors who treat our own kids?

This past winter, my daughter got the flu. She was miserable: daily fevers, achiness, sore throat, stuffy head and nausea with a total loss of appetite.

We didn't run a flu test on her, which you can do with a quick nasal swab at a doctor's office. Since my wife and I are both docs, we were comfortable that her symptoms fit the diagnosis.

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Shots - Health News
3:45 am
Sun February 15, 2015

When A Patient Says 'Everything's Fine,' A Doctor Should Be Wary

Lucinda Schreiber for NPR

Originally published on Mon February 16, 2015 10:44 am

Oscar buzz surrounds Julianne Moore for her role as Alice Howland in the film Still Alice. Howland is a linguistics professor who develops early-onset Alzheimer's, a cruel irony for a character who makes her living with her brain.

Howland's awareness of her fate makes her decline all the more painful to watch.

Often, though, patients and their doctors can be slow to recognize dementia, which most often progresses gradually.

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Shots - Health News
3:36 am
Sun December 28, 2014

Wonder Abides, Even For A Skeptical Doctor

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Tue December 30, 2014 8:05 am

The holidays are here, bringing joy and, for some, wistful feelings.

Doctors are no different. Even for a profession that prides itself on scientific proof, the long nights of December afford ample opportunity for reflection and even doubt.

As we take stock of what we've accomplished and where we've failed to measure up, I find my scowling mask of medical skepticism falling away. I have to admit that there is so much wonder and mystery that science and medicine still can't explain.

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Shots - Health News
3:20 am
Sun December 7, 2014

If Slow Is Good For Food, Why Not Medicine?

Maria Fabrizio for NPR

Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 7:05 am

Maybe you've heard about the slow food movement. Maybe you're a devotee.

The idea is that cooking, nutrition and eating should be intentional, mindful and substantive. Avoid fast food and highly processed grub. For the slow food set, the process is as important as the product.

Now I'm seeing a medical version of slow food. The concept is bubbling up in response to industrialized, hypertechnological and often unnecessary medical care that drives up costs and leaves both doctors and patients frazzled.

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Shots - Health News
11:53 am
Thu October 30, 2014

What A Brush With SARS Taught A Doctor About Ebola

A man wears a protective mask as he carries a bouquet of flowers at Women's College Hospital in Toronto in March 2003, when SARS fears about were widespread.
Kevin Frayer AP

Originally published on Fri October 31, 2014 9:45 am

Back in 2003 I was a junior doctor working at a Chicago teaching hospital.

As one of the newer docs, my daily appointment schedule had lots of openings. Pretty much any assignment nobody else wanted came my way.

One morning the nurse who managed our clinic told me that my first patient for the afternoon may have been exposed to a deadly virus while he was traveling in Asia.

My job would be to dress up in a medical hazmat suit, examine him and figure out whether he should be quarantined.

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Shots - Health News
2:35 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Botched Execution Leads Doctor To Review His Principles

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin issues a statement to the media after the execution of Clayton Lockett. Oklahoma Secretary of Safety and Security Michael C. Thompson stands behind her at the Oklahoma State Capitol in Oklahoma City.
Alonzo Adams AP

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 12:09 pm

Executions in this country often draw controversy. But when the headlines about them include words like botched or bungled, the debate about capital punishment enters new territory.

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Shots - Health News
11:52 am
Sat January 11, 2014

5 Simple Habits Can Help Doctors Connect With Patients

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 8:06 am

I pulled back the curtain, ready to meet the next patient on my hospital rounds.

"Why are you standing there?" she asked me. "Come, have a seat, let's talk."

Lenore could have been my grandmother. She was 77 years old, and all of 93 pounds. What she lacked in girth, she more than made up for in chutzpah. She was one of the patients from intern year who I'll never forget.

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Shots - Health News
4:10 am
Sun December 22, 2013

For 2 Young Doctors, Working On Christmas Was A Privilege

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 6:03 am

December is supposed to be the time of year filled with family gatherings and holiday good cheer. For medical residents, quite the opposite is true.

There are no school breaks during residency. Being a medical resident is a real job, and a stressful one at that. Residents work long shifts, even with caps that max out at 16 hours for the newbies and up to 28 hours for those beyond the first year.

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Shots - Health News
1:07 pm
Sun November 10, 2013

Why Can't Ted Stay Out Of The Emergency Room?

A nurse's phone call at the right time can prevent a trip to the ER.
W. Steve Shepard Jr. iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 6:14 am

A 40-something patient I'll call Ted has a list of conditions that would have tongue-tied Carl Sagan. Even though I see Ted in my clinic every month, he still winds up visiting the emergency room 20 times per year.

Yes, 20.

Before he became my patient, he went even more frequently. So, the current situation, bad as it may be, represents halting progress.

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