Top stories in health and medicine, August 28, 2014From MedPage Today:

  1. I, Intern: Common Problems, Elusive Answers. Rebecca Karb, MD, crosses paths with patients in the Rhode Island Hospital emergency department who have ailments that she rarely saw as a medical student.
  2. Results Mixed With Home BP Monitoring. A hypertension self-management program reduced systolic blood pressure in high-risk patients, including ...

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It’s been a while since my last rant about electronic health records (EHRs), so let’s remedy that right now. EHRs in their current iteration are -- how to put this delicately? -- an unmitigated disaster. Nevertheless, much of the criticism of EHRs, including mine, has been in the destructive category. What about some constructive criticism? How could EHR software be made better? I am not ...

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In every life we have some trouble When you worry you make it double Don’t worry. Be happy. It will soon pass, whatever it is. Don’t worry. Be happy. – Bobby McFerrin Much has already been written in reaction to Robin Williams’ untimely death, about his incandescent talent, his prolific career, his decency and kindness, his addiction and his mental illness. His death robbed his fans of many more years of his genius ...

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The worst thing anyone ever said to me was, “You think you know everything, but let me tell you:  You don’t know jack!” I was six weeks into my social work internship at a hospice and it was my student supervisor who decided I needed an attitude adjustment. Needless to say, I didn’t stay there. I was angry and hurt for a long time but now I’ve come to realize ...

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He left a little early to stop by the cath lab to see his patient before her procedure.  Cordial "hellos," "good mornings," and "any last questions?" were mentioned before she signed her consent.  The team was working feverishly to prepare her for her procedure.  "Have you met the anesthesiologist yet?" was next, and almost on cue, the anesthesiologist arrived and took over for a bit. He hurried upstairs to the conference ...

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On the first day of school, a letter to my childs teacher I don’t know you and you don’t know me, but today you become one of the most important people in my life. You are the one. The one who I’ve entrusted to take care of my girl in my absence. The one who I’ve tasked with teaching her things that I cannot. The one who will make an indelible mark on her ...

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The epidemic of physician burnout is heartbreaking Daily, I am contacted by good doctors who are struggling with symptoms of burnout syndrome and who have become overwhelmed by the challenges of attempting to practice medicine in today’s health care environment. As a psychiatrist who runs a program to address and treat these distressed doctors, I am troubled by the ever-growing number of calls I receive. The burned-out physician is ...

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Top stories in health and medicine, August 27, 2014From MedPage Today:

  1. 'Sleep Drunkenness' Common, But Rarely Unexplained. So-called confusional arousals -- awakenings without coming fully aware -- were reported in the past year by some 15% of respondents in a population-based survey, with nearly all such episodes associated with mental disorders or drugs known to affect sleep.
  2. The Siren Call ...

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Oh yeah.  Hot dang.  All right.  Groovy. Boom goes the dynamite. I had a very great day yesterday. I saw three patients who had recent diagnoses of cancer.  Yeah, those two statements seem to contradict.  They don't.  Each person I saw gave me a clear view of how the practice I've been building over the past 18 months is making a difference.  A big, big difference. The first patient was a guy who is ...

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I’m all for free speech and I’m very hostile to censorship.  The response to ugly speech is not censorship, but is rebuttal speech.   Of course, there’s a lot of speech out there that should never be uttered.  Indecent and rude speech is constitutionally protected, but is usually a poor choice.    We have the right to make speech that is wrong. I relish my free speech in the office with patients.   I ...

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Earlier this year a child died following a surgical procedure in California for a condition called obstructive sleep apnea. The case generated a great deal of concern among parents about both this condition and the surgery often done to treat it. I wrote a post myself about it at the time. I still get questions about it because I care for quite a few children immediately after they have had ...

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It was July 2012 and I was pregnant with my third child. As an experienced mother and labor and delivery nurse, I felt very comfortable at 29-weeks gestation and anticipated the usual course of pregnancy. However, at 30 weeks, I started battling with preterm labor issues. This eventually led to the early delivery of my son, a four week and stay in the NICU, and a life lesson in cost-awareness ...

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A resident once offered me this piece of advice: Find mentors whom you admire. Not just for their rapport with patients, but also for their lifestyle, their hours and their family life. Make goals that you know to be realistic because someone has already accomplished them. My question now: Why stop there? Why not share that ounce of brilliant advice with our patients? Why don’t we link older, successful patients with diabetes ...

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Solving the mid level dilemma: Call them what they really are Dr. Michael Pappas hates it when a nurse practitioner is called a mid-level provider: "Stop calling nurse practitioners mid-level providers." So do I, though my reasons are a bit different.  In order to understand them it will be necessary to revisit those dark ages, a time when such individuals were few and the roles played in the drama we know ...

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Top stories in health and medicine, August 26, 2014From MedPage Today:

  1. Adrenaline: The Best and Worst of Drugs. Despite it being the first-line adrenergic drug for patients with cardiac arrest, few studies in humans have assessed epinephrine's effectiveness.
  2. Increase E-Cig Regulation, Says AHA. The federal government should ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors just as it does cigarettes and ...

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"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" Chances are that many of you have duked this out with your college roommates back in the day, but how about this one? “If a doctor and a patient make an advance care plan, but when an emergency happens, nobody can find a copy of it, the proxy doesn't know what's ...

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When I hear debate over the association between SSRIs (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, a class of antidepressant medication) and suicidal behavior in children and adolescents, I am immediately brought back to a night in the early 2000s.  As the covering pediatrician I was called to the emergency room to see a young man, a patient of a pediatrician in a neighboring town, who had attempted suicide by taking a nearly ...

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Several months ago, a post called, "Everything's my fault: How a surgeon says I'm sorry," appeared here on KevinMD.com. It was written by a plastic surgeon who feels that no matter goes wrong with a patient, surgeons should never blame anyone else. She gave some examples such as the lab losing a specimen, a chest x-ray that was ordered and not done, a patient eating something when he was not to ...

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I must not be the only person to wonder how pharmaceutical companies succeed with direct to consumer advertisements when, stuck in the middle of all their TV ads, are those long lists of side effects.  You know what I mean.  After watching a smiling and attractive person running through a field after receiving some wonder pill, the narrator tucks his voice down an octave and intones that the medication “could ...

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In an ironic analogy to the recent Occupy Wall Street movement publicizing the wealth gap between America’s elite and the general public, the health care world also has its own infamous 1%. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s 2012 report, the top 1% of health care seekers incurs nearly a third of the nation’s $1.26 trillion yearly health care expenses (and up to half of this expenditure ...

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