Just something I noticed while perusing headlines. They all seem pretty meaningless to me.

A possible sign of what a government-run single payer system would look like.

It must really be broken for the head of the American Heart Association to speak up. Cardiologists and other procedure-heavy specialties are the beneficiaries of the procedure-tilted reimbursement system:

Incentives in today's health-care system encourage procedures over doctor-patient face time, according to Gibbons. Many serious illnesses are preventable, but their numbers continue to rise in part because doctors "don't have enough time for preventive health measures," he said.

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Is anyone surprised at what happens next?

The medical resident who hit her car is charged with manslaughter.

Dr. A hits the nail on the head:

. . . some docs see it as a business move ("If I don't give them the antibiotic, then they will switch doctors to someone that will.") Some see it as a way to save time ("I'm running two hours behind. And, if I write for the antibiotic instead of explaining why not, then I can keep from getting further behind ...

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The numbers just aren't on your side, as intueri points out. Stay strong Maria!

How then, are they going to learn? Got to start sometime:

Of course these newly qualified doctors cannot prescribe, Professor Bramble. Please take your head out of your arse for one minute and listen. Prescribing is a PRACTICAL skill, learnt on the wards by apprenticeship. Let the doctors learn in the normal way, as they have always done. And, if you must test them, test them at the end ...

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Well documented here that decreasing reimbursement simply increases the volume of procedures. But just how much is staggering (emphasis mine):

This axiom of economics does not hold in the health care market; at least not according to a 1998 HCFA White paper to Richard Foster. The paper found that when Medicare decides to reduce its fees, the quantity of medical services supplied by physicians actually increases. ...

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A hospital CEO takes the clean hands petri-dish test:

The disk on the left shows bacteria colonies that grew from my hand before it was washed with a disinfectant. The disk on the right shows the number of colonies that grew from my hand after it was cleaned with the waterless, alcohol-based antiseptic that is in dispensers outside every patient room in our hospital.

Increase co-pays. With many ER visits being non-emergent, a study has shown that this does not harm overall health:

While emergency visit rates decrease substantially as the co-payment increases, the findings show no increase in the rate of unfavorable clinical events (hospitalization, intensive care admission) and no increase in deaths. The study appears in the latest issue of Health Services Research.

The population-based experiment followed over ...

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Interesting case where growth-attenuation therapy is used to permanently halt a 6-year old's growth so parents can continue to care for her at home:

"Achieving permanent growth attenuation while the child is still young and of manageable size would remove one of the major obstacles to family care and might extend the time that parents with the ability, resources, and inclination to care for their child at home might be ...

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Not surprisingly, he lapses into a coma mid-flight.

Why one should never give medical advice outside of the doctor's office:

One medical liability lawyer stated that his company defends many doctors who were consulted in an informal manner, such as, at their child's Little League baseball game.

Many times in these situations, vital information is lacking, therefore, limiting the doctor's ability to give a reasoned answer. Usually, the doctor is unaware of the questioner's medical history. This ...

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Should've done the C-section earlier. Poor outcomes like these are scaring OBs into an all-time high in C-sections.

The baby appears healthy despite receiving no prenatal care and a mother who smoked.

The founders were sent intimidating letters, but aren't backing down:

The Silicon Valley, Calif., operators of RateMDs.com have removed two out of the seven most scathing comments about unnamed doctors cited by the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA). But they ignored all other requests made of them by that organization and the Canadian Medical Association, the latter whose chief executive officer, William Tholl, also sent a recent letter saying ...

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The cause of SIDS?

Possibly because of varying sensitivities of the brainstem to serotonin:

The research team, led by doctors at Children's Hospital Boston, compared brain tissue from 31 infants who died of SIDS from 1997 to 2005 with samples from 10 babies who had died of other causes. They focused on an area of the brainstem called the medulla, which regulates breathing, sleep-and-wake cycles and other vital functions.

They found, among ...

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Dr. Genes:

The way doctors and patients size each other up, try to read each others' hands. Even so, most hands are straightforward -- you know how it'll unfold from the flop. Other times, you have to wait for labs to come back, there are raises and calls. But no matter how benign the situation might start out, you never really know which patient is going to take ...

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Some local pharmacies are giving antibiotics away for free to compete with Wal-Mart's $4 generics. Will this lead to continuing overuse? Very likely:

From a patient care standpoint, I see this as a real problem. Wal-mart had the right idea, kind of, with offering some discounted chronic medicines - like blood pressure medicines and antidepressants. But, offering antibiotics?

Many studies have shown that you don't need ...

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