Rude doctors

Dr. Malpani offers some insight:

For one thing, doctors in hospitals are very busy and they often just don't have time for the common pleasantries which we take for granted in our daily life. Many of them are brusque and down-to-earth because they need to get on with their serious job of taking care of their patients, and they simply cannot afford to chit-chat with patients or their relatives. ...

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Which is why PSAs continue to be ordered in 85 year-old men.

Another nice NY Times essay. The benefits of an impersonal hospital environment, and why doctors don't cry:

Monitoring the potassium, adjusting the antibiotics, getting the latest scan result "” this is a full-time job, enough to keep a patient and family completely distracted from the awful truth. The welter of information, so much of it useless, is the accidental genius of our current health care system.

And ...

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NY Times' Abigail Zuger on giving money to patients:

I still indulge in fantasies of saving my needy patient with a solid hunk of cash, an anonymous check "” enough to buy her food and transportation; expert, consistent medical care; a few treats; and a little something in the bank.

It is an idiotic fantasy. But perhaps no more idiotic than for me to write out checks this ...

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Cover-up at the BBC

Dr. Crippen exposes some shoddy reporting, and subsequent covering of tracks, over at the BBC.

Why do you use as a placebo versus homeopathic treatment? Orac discusses the excuse of why homeopathic treatments are not conducive to double-blind, placebo-controlled studies.

A town loses it's orthopedic surgeons to retirement. They could not recruit others, which causes this OB to lament:

I arrived at the office from the hospital at noon on a January day and began to look at the mail on my desk. On the top was the bill for my liability insurance coverage for the coming year, necessary for defense against lawsuits. The amount was a startling increase, ...

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Behind Bush's anti-science family planning office appointee:

As medical director of A Woman's Concern, a small chain of nonprofit pregnancy counseling clinics that offer no information on birth control, Keroack has agitated against abortion and even contraception "” including for married women. The organization continues to push the discredited nonsense that abortion increases a woman's chances of breast cancer and is more dangerous during the first eight weeks of pregnancy ...

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The landmark malpractice case that led to regulation of medical residents' hours. Sad to say, the situation described in 1984 could have easily happened when I was a medicine intern in 1999. My very first rotation, a week out of medical school, was the night float intern. One week, I was a 4th year medical student. The next, I was cross-covering 60 patients overnight. ...

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This blog tries to find out payment plans and pricing from a variety of hospitals. Here's what he found when posing as an uninsured patient requesting an elective CT scan:

* The list price varies by 75% ($1,013 to $3,970).
* The best uninsured price varies by 92% ($204 to $2,600).
* List price discounts range from 0% to 86%.
* To get many of the discounts hospitals ...

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Can money buy happiness?

Maybe just a bit, says this recent study:

In one study, they said, people with household incomes of $90,000 or more were only slightly more likely to call themselves very happy over all than were people from households making $50,000 to $89,999 "” 43 percent to 42 percent. (Members of the first group were nearly twice as likely to be "very happy" as people from households with incomes below ...

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Physicians are jumping from a sinking ship to the lure of riches:

"There were doctors at the reunion "” very, very smart people," Dr. Glassman recalled in a recent interview. "They went to the top programs, they remained true to their ethics and really had very pure goals. And then they went to the 20th-year reunion and saw that somebody else who was 10 times less smart was making ...

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The BMJ explains why:

Waxman believes that it is because the complementary therapists offer something that doctors cannot offer "“ hope. If you eat this, take that, avoid this, and really believe this then we can promise you sincerely that you will be cured.

And if the patient is not cured, it is the patient who has failed, not the alternative therapy. The patient has let down the ...

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(via At the End of the Boom)

Denying jobs to smokers

Some employers are resorting to urine tests to screen out smokers from jobs:

Some enforce the policy by requiring a urine sample from prospective employees. If the urine cotinine level exceeds the threshold that indicates active smoking, then the applicant is automatically rejected for the position, regardless of his or her qualifications for employment. Several of these employers go so far as to fire existing smokers if they are ...

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I still don't know how juries and judges are able to sort out all the expert testimony during sometimes highly nuanced malpractice cases:

Doctors and lawyers are rarely cross-trained in each other's professions, posing a problem when crucial decisions need to be made that are beyond one's specialty. Fear of litigation may prompt physicians to order excessive precautionary tests and procedures, while judges with no medical training must weigh the ...

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$913 for removing earwax

The explanation: "Because the instrument used in the cleaning process is considered a surgical instrument, the procedure is considered to be surgery."

A whopping 51 percent.

Doctor vs Dr. Mom

See how some of your mother's advice for common ailments stack up.

So he put the infant in the freezer. Yes, he's on trial:

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. said the mother found the girl crammed into the freezer alongside ice cubes and hamburger meat. Hardy said he had left the door ajar but the mother said it had been closed when she returned.

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