shutterstock_144372544 Preface: I love to write about many things. People, pets, children, family, nature. But over and over I come back to a theme: my colleagues in our specialty and the forces arrayed against us. I’m not trying to be the toxic voice, the endless complainer. But if people like me don’t beat the drum, then nothing will ever change for the ...

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“They need you in room 13,″ she said when I answered the phone and I ran back to the ICU.  The patient was coding and for each minute that felt like an hour, we tried, and failed, to save her.  She wasn’t breathing, her heart wasn’t working, and despite the 30 people gathered in the room, in the end, she died. Running a code, as we call it, means that someone is ...

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shutterstock_190528499 Patients are being stuck with huge and unexpected medical care bills in circumstances where they have no say in selecting the physician who is billing them, and no way for them to know in advance which services the physicians would render or what it would cost them, says the New York Times. Mr. Peter Drier received a “surprise $117,000 medical bill from ...

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141012-usnews-dallas-ebola-hospital-gv-620_9d8c02abc7847247bf62b2d621b6a8e4 The first “wild” Ebola case in the United States has occurred in Dallas, Texas. The patient, who is from Liberia and had contact with a pregnant Ebola victim in his native country, was initially sent away from the emergency department (ED) of a Dallas hospital after reporting there with viral symptoms. He told the triage nurse that he had just arrived ...

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shutterstock_168769238 Ebola is in the United States!  Everybody (please don't) panic!  Quarantine all Texans!  Though that might be a good idea anyway (just kidding).  More on Ebola in general in another post if I have time. First off though, we've found out more information about the sequence of events leading to the hospitalization of the patient, Thomas Duncan.  Apparently, he came ...

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shutterstock_178157129 How did the emergency department staff of a Texas hospital see, and discharge, a patient infected with Ebola? Despite the fact that blame spreads through hospitals faster than hemorrhagic fever viruses, I’m not interested in pinning down a single person or a single thing, which may have allowed that to happen. I am very interested, however, in offering a few insights ...

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shutterstock_209207017 As an ER doctor, right now I'm thinking a lot about Ebola -- it's in the news, in my inbox, and in questions from my patients.  Whether it's an outbreak, a flu epidemic, or a bombing -- we in the ER see them first, and so I'm always thinking about how we'll be ready. So, what concerns me, and what doesn’t? Ebola patients in the ...

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shutterstock_69519853 We fling open the doors of America’s emergency departments to help those who can’t afford health care.  We have legislated this protection: No person can be turned away for financial reasons.  This is very compassionate and represents the higher angels of our culture.  Alas, it also is emblematic of the stupider demons of government.  You see, the ER demonstrates the inverted priorities ...

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About a year ago, I shared details of my own out of pocket medical expenses and concluded that we have to have to be more transparent with our patients (and potential patients) about the costs they will face for our services. The urgency of price transparency as a business imperative and a professional responsibility has only increased since then. Consider that we are now a year in to the implementation of the ...

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Recently, my 16-month-old grandson was at a backyard barbecue with his parents. He had been eating some potato chips when he suddenly stopped breathing and turned blue. Having had CPR training, my son started rescue breathing and suspecting aspiration, performed toddler airway clearance maneuvers. No obstruction was found. The child slowly awakened but was very drowsy. Because of the concern for aspiration, an ambulance was called and the child was taken to ...

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