I have been a loyal patron of the Karma Hair Salon in New Haven, Conn. for at least the past 15 years. Whenever my hair looks good, it is thanks to Karma and owner Cheryl McMahon's expert attention to my unruly head (the thickness of my hair -- a good problem, I know! -- could give a yak envy; and I have more cowlicks than several small countries). If ever my hair doesn't look ...

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The potential to do dramatic good, as is the case with surgery, means that sitting and staring back at you at the other end of the see-saw is a grinning dysmorphic ogre. He keeps his eyes locked on yours, staring with the smug certainty that you can't toss him off, up when you're down; down when you're up. The ugly little sonovabitch never goes away. It's an issue for every healthcare provider. Were it ...

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An anesthesiologist at a California hospital pasted stickers simulating a mustache and teardrops on the face of a hospital employee while she was having surgery on a finger. According to the Los Angeles Times, the doctor said, "I thought she would think this is funny and she would appreciate it." And if that wasn't bad enough, a "nursing attendant" took a photograph. The patient, who said she had to quit her job ...

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The latest salvo in the federal government’s war on physicians comes to us courtesy of the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), which is proposing drastic policy changes to expand nursing scope of practice in all veterans’ hospitals. A new draft VHA Nursing Handbook would eradicate all existing VHA policies concerning physician supervision, and would designate all advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), including nurse anesthetists, as licensed independent practitioners (LIPs).  This means that ...

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The doctor was adamant. "This is America, not Sweden," he told me. "We operate." How did this happen to me? I wondered, looking at him across the ER exam room. How could I, a healthcare provider, not have insurance? I had woken up that morning with a mildly upset stomach. Nonetheless, I'd gone to my job (begun only six weeks earlier) as a physician assistant at a Beverly Hills HIV clinic. I'd seen patients ...

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An orthopedic surgeon from New York reportedly has 261 malpractice suits against him. He has been accused of performing "phantom" and unnecessary operations. In one case, he supposedly performed a knee reconstruction, and the patient died of a pulmonary embolism the same day. A post-mortem examination allegedly showed no evidence of a reconstructed knee. There is also said to be evidence showing that in one day he was doing as many ...

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We were pretty damn lucky that she was young and healthy. The surgery had been technically successful.  I watched as the resident finished with the last sutures.  Although the attending had already left the room, I looked on with the eagerness of a third year student.  Orders were written, and the patient was transferred to recovery. It was a routine hysterectomy.  None of the pizazz and flare of a gynecology-oncology surgery, but ...

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There's something irresistibly horrifying about doing an amputation. I did several during training, and a few in practice, before eventually turning such cases over to people who did it more. In a way, it's a microcosm of the perversity and beauty of surgery; of the screaming contradiction that one must somehow accept to be a surgeon. Removing a limb is so many things: failure, tragedy, cataclysm, life-saver, life-ruiner. Gratifying. Stark and ...

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From MedPage Today:

  1. Surgery Tops Muscle Training for Incontinence. Women with stress urinary incontinence (SUI) reported better subjective improvement and had higher cure rates at 1 year when treated initially with surgery instead of pelvic floor-muscle training.
  2. Academics Argue: 3 Years or 4 Years to Educate Doctors? If medical school were reduced from 4 to 3 years, it wouldn't necessarily mean that doctors were ...

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One would never guess that a frequent activity in the OR is painting. I’m not referring to the application of paint to the walls of a room or house. The painting I’ve seen is limited to the patient and his or her body parts. I suppose the first application of “paint” would be the initial scribble placed by the surgeon, marking the surgical site. This is a relatively new requirement and ...

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