Among reams of coverage on the Ebola outbreak, Politico just published a characteristic story with the headline, “In the world of Ebola, no room for error.” The only problem is that is as soon as you introduce a human element to any system, there will be error. That’s the reality that health care leaders across the United States are grappling with now in a simultaneous effort both to tighten the health ...

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Top stories in health and medicine, October 30, 2014From MedPage Today:

  1. Disease Activity Linked to Lipid Elevation in RA. Measures of disease activity at baseline and changes in those markers with tocilizumab (Actemra) treatment among patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) were independently associated with increased risk for major adverse cardiovascular events.
  2. Ebola: Vinson Thanks God and the Medics. Nurse Amber ...

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A few weeks ago an emergency room doctor called our infectious disease physician group concerning a patient who had returned from Liberia and was having nausea and vomiting. Several of the patient’s family members had died of Ebola. As panic struck us, our decisive question was: When did he return from Liberia? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for screening and isolating patients for possible Ebola infection are clear: ...

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Instead of being hysterical about Ebola, respect it Some years ago I was in Australia’s Northern Territory. The intrepid explorer that I was, I was croc-spotting from the comfortable heights of a bridge over the East Alligator River. The river derives its name because it is east of something. And because it’s croc-infested. I was reading a story about a German tourist (it’s usually a German) who was attacked by ...

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Top stories in health and medicine, October 29, 2014From MedPage Today:

  1. Add-on Tx Less Likely in T2D Patients on Metformin. Patients with type 2 diabetes who don't start out on metformin may be at higher risk for needing additional therapy.
  2. Lung Donation After Cardiac Death Shows Promise. Lung transplantation after cardiac death achieved key endpoints comparable to those attained with ...

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Oft expectation fails, and most oft there. Where most it promises. - Shakespeare, All’s Well That Ends Well It may seem a strange thing to say, but I believe the U.S. suffers from unrealistic expectations. We expect government, health, and hospital officials to get things right the first time around. This is unrealistic. People, and believe it or not, including politicians, are never perfectly competent in things they are never experienced before. Disease ...

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A month ago I published a post predicting that paramedics, emergency nurses, and emergency physicians would be exposed to patients with Ebola and have difficulty picking out these patients from the many other patients who present to the ED with similar symptoms. In light of the events in Dallas, Texas, this seems prophetic, but it is really not so difficult to explain ...

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Although I never disclosed this in my medical school interviews for fear of being just another cliche ("Hollywood sparks interest in medicine story"), I decided to become a doctor in 1997 at the age of 11 when I first saw the movie, Outbreak. For years and years, this was my favorite movie. The scene where they showed the electron micrograph image of the Ebola virus had me captivated. I was staring at ...

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Ebola in the digital age: How doctors can confront it With the recent attention given to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and the cases diagnosed in the United States, one of the main ways in which the public is being informed is through social media. Every single day on Facebook, I see at least one story posted about the Ebola epidemic and its potential impact on the U.S. public and ...

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What happens when your faith, commitment and professional integrity collide with great personal risk? This is what I imagine is happening across the country to physicians, nurses and other health care workers as we all face the Ebola tragedy. Sure, people dying in far away Africa bring an ache to our hearts. Admiration for those working with aide groups  brings the passing thought so easily conjured from the safety of our ...

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