It is surprisingly easy to sell snake oil. I know, because I’ve done it. In 2014, I helped create and sell The Right Detox. This was a bogus detoxification program that purported to improve anyone’s well-being and perhaps, cure disease. I was the face of the scam. I launched The Right Detox at a spring-time women’s health expo in Tucson, Arizona. I kicked off my sales-pitch in front of a small ...

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This April, my turn to take the medical board exam rolled back around, necessary every ten years for maintenance of certification. I studied diligently for the better part of three months preceding the test (and I think I did well). It was actually pleasurable to go back over details that I had forgotten and to catch up on newer developments in the field. I realized that I don’t do nearly ...

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A guest column by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, exclusive to KevinMD.com. Alleviating pain has been a primary focus of my career as a physician anesthesiologist. Just as there are physicians who specialize in treating conditions such as cancer, heart disease or allergies, there are specialists in treating pain. These physicians complete four years of ...

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A 10-year analysis of medical malpractice cases indicates that medication errors continue to represent a significant risk to patients and health care providers, despite myriad efforts to eliminate that risk. For events that occurred beginning in 2003 (12 percent) to those from 2012 (12 percent) the proportion of cases alleging a medication error was, essentially, unchanged. Raised awareness, advances in technology, and millions of dollars directed at improving the medication ...

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Medical school prepares physicians to prescribe medications for prevention and treatment of disease, but little to no time is spent teaching something just as important: de-prescribing. In our current system of auto-refills, e-prescriptions, and mindless “checkbox” EMR medication reconciliation, patients may continue taking medications years after their original prescriber intended them to stop. There is no doubt that many Americans are over-medicated, and the problem
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At what point, we have to ask ourselves, does a medical error that we do over and over again cease to be an error, and simply become business as usual? At one of the patient safety conferences this week, where we reviewed sentinel events that occurred in the hospital and in the outpatient setting, one of the cases was about a patient who developed an abnormal cardiac rhythm as a result ...

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The opioid overdose epidemic was the centerpiece of U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, MD’s West Virginia listening tour recently. While the tour was billed as an opportunity to gain knowledge on the epidemic, his response to his observations illustrates just how difficult it is to change attitudes and beliefs with information alone. In response to Herculean state-based and volunteer efforts to keep people alive -- not to ...

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Long before the Internet and direct-to-consumer advertising, the medical profession tried to reassure people about their health concerns. Remember “take two aspirins and call me in the morning?" Flash forward to today’s online “symptom checkers.” They are quizzes to see if someone has a certain disease and exhortations to see their doctor even if they feel fine. Once drug makers discovered that health fears and even hypochondria sell drugs, there seems ...

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I had an interesting conversation with a patient in the office some time ago. He was sent to me to evaluate abnormal liver blood tests, a common issue for gastroenterologists to unravel. I did not think that these laboratory abnormalities portended an unfavorable medical outcome. Beyond the medical issue, he confided to me a harrowing personal tribulation. Often, I find that a person’s personal story is more interesting and significant than ...

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A small study published this month showed that most Epipens retain their potency for at least 4 years after their expiration date. That’s no guarantee, of course. I’d still recommend as a “best practice” that families replace them as they expire. But it’s reassuring to know that they’ll usually be effective even when expired. And using an expired EpiPen is almost certainly better than using nothing ...

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