As my co-workers and I peered out the window of the Planned Parenthood in Philadelphia, we saw over 200 protestors chanting the name of a man who had killed 2 people and injured several others at reproductive health centers the day before. They kept coming closer and padlocked the entrance gate so that we were trapped. We worried they might have weapons. The stand-off lasted for three terrifying hours. As ...

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Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the 21st Century Cures, known simply as the Cures Act. This is thought to be the largest and most powerful health care-related law since the passage of the Affordable Care Act during Obama’s first term. The Cures Act provides for a large increase in funds for boosting biomedical research and also takes aim at speeding up drug and medical device approvals through the ...

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Chronic kidney failure is a serious disease. When progression to end-stage renal disease (ESRD) occurs, dialysis is required to sustain life. It is shocking, then, that in the United States, it is estimated that over 1,000 patients annually are involuntarily discharged from their dialysis clinics. Further, they are often "blackballed" from other local clinics. The consequences for such patients, predominately African-American, are dire. A patient may be unable to find a ...

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U.S. life expectancy declined in 2015 for the first time in more than two decades, according to a National Center for Health Statistics study released last week. The decline of 0.1 percent was ever so slight ― life expectancy at birth was 78.8 years in 2015, compared to 78.9 years in 2014. However, this reversal of a long-time upward trend makes these results significant. While many researchers are scratching ...

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An excerpt from Malpractice: A Neurosurgeon Reveals How Our Health-Care System Puts Patients at Risk. It is not possible to live life in a way that every choice and decision awaits a definitive, double–blind study with a statistically significant ...

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Do women make better doctors than men? A recent study in JAMA Internal Medicine claims that they do. According to the authors, there is a 4 percent risk reduction in mortality for elderly patients treated by women. There is also a small but clinically significant reduction in readmission rates. By their analysis, this difference could translate to approximately 32,000 lives saved “if male physicians could achieve the same outcomes ...

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New Year’s resolutions have the potential to make our lives new and different and better than ever. But they also can do more harm than good. That’s because we put all our energy into setting the goal and don’t do the homework necessary to meet that goal. By the time February arrives, we’ve relapsed to our old habits and, what’s worse, we’ve given up hope of ever losing that weight ...

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“Orange is his favorite color.  It’s all orange, all of the time in there.” And, indeed it was.  Like the deceptively soft glow from a garish, neon storefront light, passing his room, it was impossible for one’s eyes not to be drawn inside.  Hunter blaze bedspread, pumpkin spice robe, marigold slippers, and even a persimmon beanie -- wavelengths of orange permeated the otherwise drab, muted colors of the space. It became a ...

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The blood thinner heparin is not a 21st-century cure. It was discovered 100 years ago by a scientist looking for something else entirely, and is one of the oldest drugs still in regular use. After my daughter was diagnosed with a potentially fatal blood disorder, heparin played a key daily role in her treatment. We’d wash our hands meticulously, lay out gloves and antiseptic wipes, saline flushes for the access lines ...

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It is truly unfortunate that Daniel Neides used his platform, and the reputation of a world-renowned institution like the Cleveland Clinic, to propagate fake health news. In this case, he fails to dispel the false connection between vaccines and autism: "Make 2017 the year to avoid toxins (good luck) and master your domain: Words on Wellness." As director and chief operating officer of the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute, Dr. Neides ...

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“Do you think she’ll have it?” My husband and I lay in bed the night before Kol Nidre, cocooned by darkness. In the adjacent room, my son muttered as he dreamed. Further away, my daughter slept silently. During the Days of Awe, I should have been thinking about repentance, and being inscribed in the Book of Life, but I was distracted. He turned towards me, though he couldn’t really see me, even ...

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We need to fail more tests in medical school. I'm serious. In first year, our class had two of the most memorable weeks of our schooling: A crash course on biochemistry taught by a professor who is widely accepted as one of the best teachers in our medical school. His in-class lecture style kept students engaged and entertained; I, and many of my classmates, learned tremendous amounts of his material and ...

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Going outside in cold weather gives you a cold? Eating turkey makes you sleepy? Gum stays in your stomach for seven years? Separate these myths and more from truths. Jamie Katuna is a medical student.  She can be reached on Facebook.

Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 29-year-old man is evaluated during a routine examination. His medical history is significant for ulcerative colitis involving the entire colon, which was diagnosed 4 years ago. His symptoms responded to therapy with mesalamine and have remained in remission on this medication. His family history is significant for a maternal uncle ...

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An excerpt from Physician—Time to Invest in Yourself: Work-Life Balance, the Needs of the Patient, and Medical-Legal Risk Management. With advances in biotechnology, the average life expectancy is significantly longer today than in the past. As practicing cardiologists, we observe firsthand that even though there are artificial means to prolong our patients’ lives, they are still prematurely aging at an alarming rate. Many are sedentary, overweight, deconditioned, and apathetic. ...

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I want to share a cool idea used at Mission Health in North Carolina. I recently interviewed Dr. Ron Paulus, CEO of the health system. Three years ago the organization launched “Immersion Day,” when board members leave their corporate meeting rooms to shadow the doctors and nurses in their hospitals. Journalists and legislators are also invited to join. They don scrubs, go through an orientation, sign privacy forms, and spend 9 ...

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Mathew preferred using the more biblical term "shepherd." After all, he labored his flock through pastoral pastures and meandering meadows. His parishioners, of course, were sheep and not people. After years of leading them, he could discern subtle differences: the slope of a forehead, the stutter of a step or the variation in bleat. He had a distinct name for every animal in his flock of thousands. Although Mathew preferred isolation, he ...

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How in the heck would three nurses and I ever orchestrate ECMO in the middle of the night in my community ED? I pondered this over tuna tartare while listening to ivory tower docs discuss cutting-edge modalities like they were part of treatment algorithms everywhere. The conversation turned to REBOA, and I wondered how many academicians had ever manned a single-coverage ED. Ivory tower medicine and my world, where ...

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If you understand statistics and possess the intestinal fortitude to examine a ranking methodology, you will recognize that it involves ingredients that have to be recombined, repackaged and renamed. It's messy, like sausage-making. This is not to say that the end product — hospital rankings — are distasteful. Patients deserve valid, transparent and timely information about quality of care so they can make informed decisions about whether and where to receive ...

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What is grit? In an article in The Guardian, Angela Duckworth, a psychologist often called the guru of grit, defined it as the commitment to finish what you start, to rise from setbacks, to want to improve and succeed, and to undertake sustained and sometimes unpleasant practice in order to do so. She said in a paper that grit is perseverance and passion for long-term goals. I think we’d ...

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