Diary of the so-called "Elephant Man", who was involved with the drug trial gone horribly wrong last year.

The gene screen

Genetic testing is available to screen for the increased risk of Alzheimer's, heart disease and some cancers. Is this something that you would want to know?

Yes, malpractice fears is one contributor to the medicalization of everyday life:

Medico-legal concerns also drive the epidemic. While failing to make a diagnosis can result in lawsuits, there are no corresponding penalties for overdiagnosis. Thus, the path of least resistance for clinicians is to diagnose liberally "” even when we wonder if doing so really helps our patients.

The "C" word

Blog, MD and #1 Dinosaur discuss what some feel is the most difficult conversation in medicine.

An interesting or noteworthy fact from each issue of AMNews from 2006.

His throat was slashed, requiring 50 to 80 stitches. As he was being wheeled to the ER, he was worried that he was still on call. That's dedication.

Some Muslims in the UK are refusing to use alcohol-based antibacterial hand cleansers:

Dispensers containing anti-bacterial gel have been placed outside wards at hospitals all over Britain in a bid to get rid of superbugs like MRSA and PVL.

It prevents people bringing in more infections. But some Muslims refuse to use the hand cleansers on religious grounds because they contain alcohol.

Women apparently receive more timely care for breast cancer than men for urological cancer. Some are blaming high-profile pressure groups and charities.

Abigail Zuger writes about how pressure about early hospital discharges sometimes confuses the diagnostic trail. Scattered outpatient follow-up for specialists and tests is not the most efficient way to diagnose:

Some liken the process of health care to a plane ride, a smooth arc from illness to wellness. But (this is your pilot speaking) among the many details overlooked by this appealing metaphor are the difficulties of just ...

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Employers are struggling with diabetics in the workforce. Even a diabetic wonders whether she would hire someone with diabetes:

Even an outspoken advocate for diabetics like Fran Carpentier, a Type 1 diabetic and a senior editor at Parade magazine, understands the implications for business. "Knowing what it's like to live with the disease hour by hour, day by day, I wonder if I owned my own company if ...

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Matthew Holt discusses President Ford's expensive, last year of care:

My guess is that over the last 12 months of his life well in excess of $100,000 was spent on his health care. And that money probably extended his life by three months at most. Now for all we know they may have been the most wonderful three months ever for him and his family, but I'm inclined to think ...

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Looks to be that way, says retired doc:

Hospitalists do seem to spend most of their work day doing what many of us wanted to do when we decided to become internists and I hate to think the only avenue for the Oslerian type internist to travel is that of the hospitalist but that may be the reality though we have not quite arrived at that point yet.

Were lawyers partly responsible for undermining the MMR vaccine? Orac elaborates.

Happy New Year, 2007!



I wish all of you a wonderful start to 2007. Thanks for your continuing readership here at Kevin, M.D. Here's to another great year of medblogging.

Thanks also to Josh Umbehr for his guest-blogging stint last week. You can read more of his work over at MedGadget.

Recently, medical bloggers like NHS Doctor have referenced Himmelstein's classic study which claims 54.5% of all bankruptcies filed in 2001 were medically related. However, as happens all to often, people fail to critically analyze published articles that support a particular preconceived viewpoint. Researchers David Dranove and Michael Millenson have published an excellent analysis of Himmelstein's data to outline the disappointingly poor quality of this ...

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Clive Wearing has the most severe case of amnesia ever and this clip from his documentary is both amazing and bizarre . . .

I love and respect pharmacists, but they are not diagnosticians and their desire to be able to "prescribe medications independently" puts the patient at a significant risk. Even more alarming is that the new law will allow pharmacists to fill "emergency supplies" of narcotics which is a disaster waiting to happen when drug-seekers skip the ER and harass pharmacies. The risks of this law vastly outweigh ...

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What Makes a Good Doctor?

DB is asking patients and doctors to submit what they feel are the three most important traits for a great physician to have . . .

Respectful Insolence has a classic post on the pseudoscience that is Airborne. I can't help but think that if teachers are so good at curing the common cold, why don't they try their hand at cancer?

The NHS would prefer patients to see their GP for post-operative care rather than waste the "precious time and expertise" of the surgeons.

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