It was Thanksgiving morning. My wife was standing in the living room when she received a text message from her father. Her face went pale, and her expression turned to one of anger and disbelief. She cursed. She cried. Her mother had complained of chest pain and stroke-like symptoms and was being rushed to the hospital by ambulance. Many hours went by with few answers and endless speculation. We had moved ...

Read more...

A popular meme is that the U.S. spends more on health care than other developed nations but has nothing to show for that spending. This is different from saying that the U.S. spends more, but achieves something, but the something it achieves is so little that it isn’t worth the public purse. The latter is difficult to assert because the asserter must then say how little is too little in ...

Read more...

The wrong body was cremated by the county coroner’s office in Los Angeles. Jorge Hernandez died of an overdose, and the body of another Jorge Hernandez, an indigent patient, scheduled for cremation, was also present in the morgue. The distraught family of overdose victim Jorge Hernandez had planned a funeral with a viewing and were shocked when they were told his body had been cremated by mistake because a morgue attendant ...

Read more...

Just a minute before, I had been in surgery checking on the status of a patient who was undergoing an exploratory laparotomy.  She had been doing OK, but deteriorated relatively quickly that afternoon while still in the hospital recuperating from an unrelated operation.  The anesthesiologist popped out of the room to tell me what the initial findings looked like.  It was not good.  That’s when I went to speak to ...

Read more...

I’m a first-year medical student who recently discovered the magnetic pull of surgery. As one might assume, on my first day scrubbing into the OR under a pediatric surgeon, I was beyond excited. The surgeon’s precision and expertise fascinated me, and the constant activity in the surgical suite was something I could definitely get used to. Adrenaline was as pervasive as anesthesia in the OR, and I knew I’d thrive there. However, ...

Read more...

Thanksgiving is this week, and I have a lot to be thankful for, both inside and out of medicine. Life isn't always easy as a resident, and to quote the lyrics of Journey, "And lovin' a [medicine] man, ain't always what it's supposed to be." What's a life in medicine mean to me? It's certainly not the glamorous. I'm on the back half of 30 years old. I've been a doctor for little over ...

Read more...

It was an interesting fortnight for the debate about the treatment of appendicitis. On November 1, David Agus, a medical oncologist, and director of the University Of Southern California's Center for Applied Molecular Medicine, had some thoughts about how appendicitis should be treated. He cited the Finnish randomized trial of antibiotics vs. surgery and said a 70 percent cure rate was good enough. In a brief article on the Fortune magazine website, ...

Read more...

You won’t find me at any haunted houses this weekend. I don’t need any costumed creeps jumping out at me when I least (or most) expect it. I’ve never been a huge fan of strobe lights, fog machines, bad makeup, or canned Vincent Price laughter. My day job is scary enough. Some like to say that anesthesia is 99 percent boredom and 1 percent terror. They’re half right. The 99 percent is rarely boring. ...

Read more...

I have a mentor who is quite gifted at getting me to break a sweat in the OR. No matter how well an operation is going, she’ll have me set my instruments down. “If this doesn’t work, what’s your plan B?” We discuss how variations in anatomy, damage to critical structures, or unanticipated pathology could change our operative plan. She challenges me to not only consider plan B, but plans ...

Read more...

Nearly a month before our national presidential election, a video surfaced online capturing a conversation between Presidential candidate Donald Trump and reporter Billy Bush. During this 2005 “private” conversation between the two, Trump lewdly brags to Bush about kissing and groping women without their consent. He is even heard boasting he can “get away” with this behavior because of his celebrity status. Trump has been heavily criticized for his words ...

Read more...

132 Pages

Most Popular