The little boy, who looked to be about two, darted away in a fit of giggles. His young mother, who seemed thoroughly worn out and exasperated, ran after him, grabbed him by the arm and said in a harsh whisper, "You must stand here!" We were on line waiting to board a Southwest Airlines flight. For those of you not familiar with the Southwest system, there are no assigned seats. Rather, ...

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Hospital stays can be traumatic for patients and their family members. I give you the top 10 ways to survive a hospital stay while maintaining your sanity. 10. Bring your own pillow. Trust me. 9. Bring a laptop computer or request one from the hospital. Hospitals all have free wireless these days and many will actually provide you with a laptop if you just ask. 8.  Bring an accurate and updated medication list ...

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Celebrity is an interesting phenomenon. On a hot summer night in 1990, my chief resident and I were on call at Harlem Hospital. We were informed that a “guest” was coming to interview us. Hot, sweaty and looking haggard rather than glamorous, we wanted to choke our director when Spike Lee walked through the door with film crew in tow. Lee was there to film the infamous movie, Mo' Better Blues. ...

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“Are you saying, doctor, that mom’s not getting better?” Eleanor asked. “I’m afraid so.” I replied. “Someone should have mentioned this to me before.” she said, before returning her gaze to my shoes. We were talking about Eleanor and Roger’s mother, Bertha, who had been hospitalized in our intensive care unit for three weeks. Bertha, 67, had been admitted with an exacerbation of congestive heart failure. Despite everyone’s best efforts, she’d steadily grown ...

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A 2012 forecast for anesthesiologyA guest column by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, exclusive to KevinMD.com. 2012 will be an important year for the health care profession. With a growing aging population, physicians will be needed more than ever to care for patients. In particular, the number of patients who undergo surgical procedures will increase, along with the demand for physicians such as ...

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As the world speeds up we tend to assume that newer must be better. In some instances it is but when it comes to health, less so than one might expect. The other tendency is to overlook simple solutions and go to complicated, and often expensive ones. In medical practice there is one step even before considering what to do with a given problem and that is whether there is a ...

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Traditionally, the patient chart stayed in the doctors office and rarely did a patient get a glimpse of anything in the record.  Photocopying the chart is expensive and no physician would let a chart leave her office because the record must be held safely for a minimum of 7 years.   Now more and more offices are doing away with clunky paper charts and electronic medical records are becoming the ...

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I admittedly snorted out loud when I read a New York Times article recently regarding increased physician distraction due to electronic devices, especially with the advent of the smartphone with its emails, text messages, calls, and other alerts that ping intermittently throughout a typical work day. There is no question that electronic devices distract physicians as the article pointed out. But that's like complaining about a leaky faucet when there's a flooded basement ...

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Recently, I presented Family Medicine Grand Rounds at Georgetown University School of Medicine on resolving conflicts between screening guidelines. During the question and answer session, Department Chair James Welsh, MD asked how evidence from carefully conducted clinical trials can possibly overcome powerful emotional stories of "saved lives." I answered that evidence-based medicine's supporters must fight anecdotes with anecdotes. For every person who believes his or her life was extended by a ...

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It all started while out to dinner with a couple of my fellow Brigham/Massachusetts General Hospital OB/Gyn residents. We were discussing our favorite old TV shows and one fellow resident's love of The Price Is Right with Bob Barker. After talking about the game show, a light bulb went off in my head and I thought, "Why can't we play The Price is Right with hospital charges to our patients?" With ...

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