Once scarce, now you can't give flushots away
"Three months after the emergence of an unprecedented national shortage of flu vaccine, public health departments across New England are struggling to find takers for remaining doses, raising the prospect
that surplus shots will be thrown away at the end of the flu season."
A few months ago, the NEJM published an article outlining The Future of Primary Care Medicine. That article drew several responses. The first states that the "ideal" primary care setting outlined in the article is not grounded in today's reality:
To the Editor: Whitcomb and Cohen and Fincher (Aug. 12 issue) call for changing the training settings for students and residents in primary care to reflect the ...
I can give props when it's due. I saw this ad today in Internal Medicine News (ok, not really directed at consumers). But for once, it has some redeemable qualities, alerting readers about the potential for prescribing errors between Amaryl and Reminyl.
Red meat and colon cancer
There was a retrospective cohort study in today's JAMA linking red meat consumption with colon cancer. There has always been some controversy correlating the two factors - this study is one of the larger cohort studies suggesting a link:
The participants who consistently ate the most red meat and processed meats had a 50 percent higher rate colorectal cancer than ...
Did Shakespeare Have Syphilis?
An interesting study wondering if the famous playwright did indeed have syphilis:
Shakespeare alluded to sexually transmitted disease (STD) symptoms--and treatments--in several of his plays and poems, including Troilus and Cressida, As You Like It, and Sonnets.
Mentions of the "pox," the "malady of France," the "infinite malady," and the "hoar leprosy" in his writings seem to indicate that the Bard ...
Buyer beware - even direct-to-physician advertising can be misleading
Be wary of fake Botox, especially after this recently discussed case (via Saint Nate).
Malpractice vs. "Malresult" A new form of insurance for an eternal problem
An intriguing opinion that offers a solution to the medical malpractice issue.
A lack of translation services in New York City
"Nearly 75% of the 51 hospitals surveyed by the city controller's office
failed to provide Spanish-language services to callers to one or more
of the hospitals' departments."
It has been shown previously that interpreters lower the medical risks in hospitals. Going to the hospital is often scary enough - not being able to communicate only adds to that fear.
It's all heart - why women live longer
"Researchers found that while a man's heart can lose up to a quarter of its pumping power between 18 and 70, the heart of a healthy 70-year-old woman can perform almost as well as it did when she was 20."
Health care costs see slower growth but at the expense of Medicaid
A good news/bad news kind of report. I'm not sure that restricting benefits to the poor is quite the answer. As the pool of uninsured grows, they will be obtaining most of their health care from the ER - which is typically the most expensive place for care.
TennCare receives a stay of execution
Tennesee's Medicaid program came thisclose to being dissolved. Now it reemerges with cutbacks. We'll see how this works.
The downside of performance-based physician incentives
As performance-based incentives catch on, it is inevitable that some doctors may be hesitant to treat the sickest patients, lest they negatively affect their "report card":
Seventy-nine percent of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed that, in certain instances, the publication of mortality statistics influenced their decision whether or not to perform angioplasty on specific patients. At the same time, 83 percent agreed ...
Fighting back - the Pennsylvania Medical Society assists physicians with countersuits
Their project against frivolous lawsuits has produced an apology from the offending lawyer (via PointofLaw.com):
In May of 2004, the first case was settled by the Society's project against frivolous lawsuits, resulting in an apology from the offending attorney and an agreement to make an undisclosed monetary payment.
The countersuit was brought by Dr. Charles Dunton, ...
Colon Cancer Screening Still Underused
More awareness is needed to screen for colon cancer. This is one type of cancer that is curable if detected early enough. Options include a fecal-occult stool test yearly, in combination with flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years, or a colonoscopy every 10 years. The best evidence-based recommendations can be found via the USPSTF.
Lawyers are painting a doomsday scenario if tort reform passes
There has been a decidedly medical malpractice theme to the blog in recent weeks, due to the situation in Maryland, and the attention that the President is bringing to the issue.
This is an issue that always brings out torrid debate between the docs and lawyers, as seen here and here.
Today, some major newspapers are weighing in. First, the Boston Globe runs a piece, A ...
Amazing stories of doctors who practice with disabilities
Practicing medicine can be hard enough. I can't even imagine going through medical school and residency being blind or deaf.
"The antiquated concept of the 'complete physical examination' has been largely replaced by a 'periodic health-maintenance evaluation' grounded in the science of preventive medicine."
Those who enter boutique medical practices receive a "highly comprehensive physical exam along the lines of executive physical exams." One must consider the risks of overscreening, which is never publicized.