The nasogastric tube was killing me. It had been in place for twelve hours now, threading its way up my nose and down my throat, past my esophagus, into my stomach. Try as I might, I couldn’t swallow away the nasty lump stuck to the back of my throat. And every time I tried, it hurt. Decades before, as a physician-in-training in upstate New York, I’d put in more nasogastric (NG) ...

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A major debate taking place in the hospital medicine community over the last several years concerns the way in which we cohort patients on the medical floors. The traditional way is to have patients belonging to each doctor scattered across the hospital on several different floors. This is in contrast to designing a geographical system where all the patients for any one doctor are located on a single floor. On the ...

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Deciphering hospital bills is not for the faint of heartDeciphering hospital bills is not for the faint of heart An excerpt from The Cost of Cutting: A Surgeon Reveals the Truth Behind a Multibillion-Dollar Industry. Deciphering the hieroglyphics of hospital bills, especially when it involves surgery, is not a job for the faint of heart. As Mr. Wilkes discovered when comparing notes with a friend, there’s another puzzle: the huge ...

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How to be a great health care administrator In no other field is unity and collaboration between administrators and frontline staff more important than in health care. Unfortunately my own experience is that the disconnect and mistrust, especially from doctors and nurses, towards hospital administration is growing larger all the time. Let me start off by saying that I have intimate experience of both sides of the divide. Obviously as ...

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I recently wrote about a hospital system in Colorado that had discovered a way to cross market its more profitable emergency room services if a patient first came to its urgent care center. Pretty clever! Then recently I came across another health care marketing trick close to home and just as sly. As I sat on a New York subway one sizzler of a day, an ad for an ice cream ...

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"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" Chances are that many of you have duked this out with your college roommates back in the day, but how about this one? “If a doctor and a patient make an advance care plan, but when an emergency happens, nobody can find a copy of it, the proxy doesn't know what's ...

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Most hospitals are strapped with a massive amount of debt.  Not monetary debt, but sleep debt.   Amongst both the staff and patients, sleep is severely lacking.  In our busy society, we associate sleep with leisure and relaxation; a reward at the end of a long day.  But sleep isn’t a luxury.  Rather, it’s a medical necessity. Sleep deprivation has widespread consequences, causing cognitive dysfunction, weakened immune system, impaired healing, increased blood ...

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Over the last year I’ve become rather addicted to golf. Having always been more into cardiovascular sports I’m actually quite surprised with how much I’ve taken to it. Fresh air, outdoors, lots of walking in beautiful nature and spending time with friends -- what is there not to like? Anyway, I’ve frequented several different courses in the Boston area in just the last few months. Last week, we were due to ...

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Internal medicine requires knowledge, deduction, and many skills: history taking, physical examination, analyzing diagnosis tests. When confronting a new patient problem, we use our brains to work on finding a diagnosis. Much like police detectives, we would like to have brilliant diagnostic epiphanies, but often we make our diagnoses by painstakingly collecting all the clues and doing the necessary boots on the ground work. We had a woman admitted to our ...

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Top stories in health and medicine, August 19, 2014From MedPage Today:

  1. Hospitals Question Charity for Some Patients. As more Americans gain insurance under the federal health law, hospitals are rethinking their charity programs, with some scaling back help for those who could have signed up for coverage but didn't.
  2. Antibiotics Early in Life May Boost Obesity Risk. Exposure to antibiotics ...

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