Mass Chaos
A physician in Iraq blogs from the front lines (via Medpundit). This incredible story was from the attack in Mosul last week. Here were the grisly statistics that day:

91 total patients arrived.
18 were dead on arrival.
4 patients died of wounds shortly after arrival, all of these patients had non-survivable wounds.

Of the 69 remaining patients, 20 were transferred to military hospitals in other ...

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Risks lead doctors to prescribe fewer pain meds
"Siff said legal liability concerns also played a role in his decision to discourage patient use of Celebrex and Bextra. Merck & Co. already is facing litigation over Vioxx.

'Many of the things we do we do to protect ourselves from being sued,' Siff said."

So true. The data is still preliminary (and in the case of Naproxen,
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Baby believed to be world's smallest at birth ready to leave Chicago hospital

"A baby who weighed less than a can of pop when she was born by Caesarean section three months ago is nearly ready to be released from hospital.

She is believed to be the smallest baby in the world ever to survive. The little girl, named Rumaisa, whose parents came from Hyderabad, India, weighed 8.6 ...

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Pay Bills or Pay for Medications?
"With her prescription drugs totaling more than $550 a month, 70-year-old Virginia Norman often had to choose between taking her medications and paying her bills. Norman is just one of the millions of Americans who can't afford to purchase their necessary medications each month."

An unfortunate choice for many seniors. A previous study reported the price of not taking medication hurts ...

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West Boca Medical Center sued over woman's death
"Barbara Masterson, 52, deteriorated from cerebral bleeding in the
emergency room of the West Boca Medical Center as hospital staff
unsuccessfully tried to find a neurosurgeon to perform life-saving
surgery, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in Palm Beach County
Circuit Court."

According to the lawyer: "They refused to take any neuromedical emergency," Cohen said. "The hospital knew this was a ...

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Lawsuits limit cancer tests
"Experts and doctors agree that not enough Florida women are getting mammograms, but the cause of the shortfall has provoked a sharp debate.

Now, a task force appointed by the Legislature and the governor is blaming lawsuits for discouraging radiologists from offering mammograms, which could reduce the availability of the test."

Mammograms can be notoriously subjective, and thus a perfect area for ...

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That's Dr. Santa Claus
"It's a good thing I am a doctor, because I get to shop for what my patients need in the moments that I care for them, instead of giving them all wooden birdfeeders for Christmas. Then I am Dr. Santa Claus, handing out gifts to make the bad better or the worst the best it can be. Sometimes the choice of a gift is obvious; pain ...

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Don't stress Alzheimer's patient, or yourself, on a holiday visit
Good holiday advice from a geriatric medicine specialist.

FDA approval of over-the-counter sales of at-home heart defibrillators sparks seasonal pitch
"Forget a digital camera or an iPod. What really would make Carol Emanuel happy is finding a defibrillator in her stocking this Christmas."

A defibrillator probably won't be one of the more useful Christmas gifts.

For paramedics, doctors and nurses, Christmas sees miracles, tragedies and quiet
"All too often, tragedy strikes on Christmas, local emergency workers said. And the searing memories linger not only for grieving families, but also for medical personnel.

'It's your job to fix things and help people,' said Rich Lynn, a paramedic for Pittsburgh EMS. 'When you can't, it creates a whole different aura for that holiday.'

Most people ...

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For holidays, putting the best face forward through surgery
"Hampton Roads doctors are facing a hectic schedule as patients try to erase, refine, or reconfigure imperfections in time for a mistletoe meeting or New Year's revelry. The winter months, and December in particular, are the busiest time for plastic surgeons, according to American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery."

Plastic surgery seems to be a growing trend ...

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South Gardiner woman to undergo transplant as Christmas gift to friend
"A half century after the world's first successful organ transplant, a South Gardiner woman is donating a kidney as a Christmas gift to her friend."

Northern Christmas comes with gonorrhea warning
"With a spike in the number of Yukoners infected with gonorrhea, the territory's

Department of Health and Social Services is distributing condoms as Christmas presents with the message, 'Wrap it for someone you love.'"

Very practical up there in the Yukon Territories.

Christmas brings time of joy for child, family
I read about Eagle-Barrett syndrome for the first time after reading this story.

Drugs Make a Good Christmas Gift
"On Christmas Day in South Africa, who will get the most precious present of all "“ the gift of life?

Up to 65,000 people, that's who. These lucky men and women will swallow a series of anti-retroviral (ARV) tablets and pills which will bully the deadly AIDS virus lurking in their bloodstream into submission "“ if not outright defeat."

Christmas-themed medblogging. ...

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I was browsing the Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs site to see what they had on the COX-2/NSAID controversy:

If you need medication for osteoarthritis or other chronic pain:

* Try acetaminopen (Tylenol, generic) as an initial choice for pain relief since it's reasonably safe even for frequent, prolonged use if you don't exceed the recommended doses. Overdoses can cause liver problems. Avoid acetaminophen if you drink alcohol heavily ...

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No more delay: Health Canada must stand on guard for us
A call to be more proactive and less reactive. The same can be said for the FDA.

Health Alert: Over-medicated America?
"Drug makers flatly deny they're pushing pills for profit. Doctor Paul Antony of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America says, 'For many people we are not prescribing enough medicines. There's actually a problem with underutilization for very important diseases like diabetes and hypertension.'"

That last statement is true. However with the recent push of "lifestyle" medications like Viagra and Ambien, the line between ...

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FDA Issues Public Health Advisory Recommending Limited Use of Cox-2 Inhibitors
"FDA is making the following interim recommendations:

* Physicians prescribing Celebrex (celecoxib) or Bextra (valdecoxib), should consider this emerging information when weighing the benefits against risks for individual patients. Patients who are at a high risk of gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding, have a history of intolerance to non-selective NSAIDs, or are not doing well on non-selective NSAIDs may be ...

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Fear Mongering At The FDA
I haven't seen the preliminary Naproxyn data that the FDA based its press release on, but this article suggests that the increase in cardiac events wasn't even statistically significant:

In the Alzheimer's study, though, there was no increase in heart risk for long-term Celebrex users. There was a slight increase in heart risk for naproxen users, but the increase was so small that it may ...

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