The following op-ed was published on February 2, 2011 in USA Today. Last fall, a surgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital was shot by the distraught son of a patient for whom he was caring. The man later killed his mother, then himself. A week earlier, a patient in a Long Island, N.Y., hospital beat his nurse with a leg from a broken chair, causing serious injuries. The following month, a psychiatric ...

Read more...

Doctors have been under significant scrutiny over the years regarding their relationships with pharmaceutical companies. Some states have even gone as far as banning events like drug company-sponsored dinners and other pharma-funded educational events. An increasing number of medical schools and hospitals simply won't allow an industry presence. Whether you think it's gone too far is certainly debatable, but let's look at another group which can prescribe medications and examine their relationship ...

Read more...

Defensive medicine accounts for 20 percent of MRI scans and x raysIn the first, known prospective study, Pennsylvania orthopedic surgeons admitted that almost 20% of the imaging studies they ordered were for defensive purposes. All of the previous data that hinted at the rampant practice of defensive medicine relied on surveys or other forms of retrospective data. In this study,

A total of 72 orthopedic surgeons agreed to participate, submitting information on ...

Read more...

One of the stories circulating regarding the demonstrations in Wisconsin is the authenticity of the doctor work notes. Squarely in the cross-hairs are physicians from the University of Wisconsin's Department of Family Medicine. According to this excellent piece in The Atlantic by physician-writer Ford Vox,

In videos breathlessly presented throughout the conservative mediasphere this weekend, doctor after doctor is videotaped writing patently fraudulent sick notes so that the protesting teachers (whose contracts ...

Read more...

Consumer Reports recently released a survey of both patients and primary care doctors, regarding their perceptions of each other. Some interesting findings, as summarized by the WSJ's Health Blog:

On the issue of respect and appreciation, 70% of doctors said they were getting less of it from patients than when they started practicing. For patients, meantime, the more they reported being treated respectfully and listened to, the more satisfied they ...

Read more...

Should medical students receive immunity from malpractice liability? That's an interesting question that's raised in a bill from Arizona. According to the Arizona Daily Sun,

State lawmakers are moving to keep patients injured by medical students from being able to sue them. But proponents said that won't leave victims without recourse. SB1429, awaiting full Senate action, would spell out that students are not liable for malpractice if they are under the supervision of a ...

Read more...

Like most everyone else, I took a break from my evening chores the past few nights, and watched Jeopardy! IBM's super-computer, Watson, was taking on Jeopardy! phenoms Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter.  [SPOILER] The computer won handily. After watching, I began to study for my upcoming board re-certification exam. But, then, I wondered.  Why? Why Watson makes board certification exams obsolete in medicine In the New York Times, applications for Watson are ...

Read more...

Money prevents medical students from choosing primary care as a careerThere are plenty of reasons why medical students aren't choosing primary care as careers. Lack of role models.  Perception of professional dissatisfaction.  High burnout rate among generalist doctors. Long, uncontrollable hours. But what about salary? Until now, the wage disparity between primary care doctors and specialists has only been an assumed reason; the evidence was largely circumstantial.  After all, ...

Read more...

When more aggressive care is better for patientsThe recurring narrative among health reformers is that hospitals that provide more care raise health costs, but don't necessarily improve quality. This has lead to a backlash against so-called "aggressive" hospitals and doctors, with upcoming financial penalties to match. But the situation, as always, appears to be more nuanced than that. In her column in the New York Times, Pauline Chen looks ...

Read more...

Abdominal pain is the bane of many emergency physicians. Recently, I wrote how CT scans are on the rise in the ER.  Much of those scans look for potential causes of abdominal pain. In an essay from TIME, Zachary Meisel discusses why abdominal pain, in his words, is the doctor's "booby prize."  And when you consider that there are 7 million visits annually by people who report abdominal pain, that's ...

Read more...

Most Popular