Medical and surgical errors are very common in the hospital setting. They increase  malpractice lawsuits, the cost of medical care, patients’ hospital stays, and morbidity and mortality. As an infectious diseases specialist for over forty years, I was not aware how common these errors are until I became a patient myself after being diagnosed with hypopharyngeal carcinoma. My initial cancer was successfully removed, but a local recurrence occurred twenty months ...

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I have witnessed a lot of obesity bias in my career, and I have railed against it on more than one occasion. But it's not the focus of my career, as it is for some of my colleagues. I have long thought those colleagues who do devote themselves to the topic may tend to overlook a very fundamental question, namely: Why would obesity bias ...

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Choosing a new doctor is never easy. You need to know about convenience factors, such as office location, available appointment times, and accepted insurance plans. You will probably also consider background information, such as education, board certifications, and licenses. But the most important question you likely have involves results: Is this doctor any good? Unfortunately, there just isn’t a single, perfect way to measure the quality of individual doctors. ...

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DSC_0034 I am a physician, an anesthesiologist. I care for the sickest of the sick every day – struggling NICU babies born only hours earlier, victims of major traumatic accidents, and critically ill patients with life threatening illness. In this job, I must both connect with the patient, but also maintain a distance from them at the same time. Dealing with life threatening ...

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Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant? -Henry David Thoreau It is almost 7:00am I carry my briefcase and lunch bag from the car to my office. I nod to some of the night shift employees heading home. Another day has begun. I type my password and check the computer, reminding myself of the twenty patients I am scheduled to see today ...

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american society of anesthesiologistsA guest column by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, exclusive to KevinMD.com. Recently, discussion about health care has reached a fever pitch, between changes in policy, adjustments to scope of practice and a multitude of other medical issues. As health care providers, it is our duty to provide the highest level of medical care to all patients to ...

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I almost fell off my chair.  It was bad enough that he showed up to the ER.  But what happened next really blew my mind.  He fell and bruised a rib.  The pain in his left chest had obvious enough origins.  But triage had put in for an electrocardiogram and the interpretation apparently scared the resident.  The attending took a look, and shook his head. "Left bundle branch block.  Better call ...

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I used to be a stickler for time. One of my first blog posts was about how it felt to go to work without my wristwatch. I also used to be very particular about knowing the purpose of each visit, partly to help me manage my time, and partly to help me feel prepared and in control of the visit. I often questioned why my colleagues’ patients would sometimes end up in ...

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This is a topic that comes up from time to time for often spirited discussion. The most recent example comes in a a couple of articles in the New England Journal of Medicine. One was a research paper; the other was a pro and con discussion. The research paper studied cardiac arrests that happened outside the hospital. The authors tested the premise that allowing families to watch the efforts of ...

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Experts, most recently former CMS administrator Don Berwick, tell us that no less than 20% – 30% of medical care is waste. At the very least, waste is harmful to all those who pay for Medicare. But often it’s directly harmful to the patient as well. I recently saw a friend at a party. Since we’d last seen each other my friend’s spouse had died. (I’m deliberately avoiding gendered pronouns and ...

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