Have a safer hospital stay: Use a checklistA guest column by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, exclusive to KevinMD.com. Thousands of patients undergo surgery every day, but many are unaware how to better ensure a safe and comfortable experience. Too often patients feel like they’re in the passenger’s seat when entering the hospital, even under the best circumstances. When planning to undergo a surgical procedure, with ...

Read more...

A new crop of medical students will begin a residency in plastic surgery this summer. They have worked long and hard to secure these coveted spots.  As a service to them and to the profession, I wanted to take this opportunity to help make their path a little easier by offering a bit of advice. When asked what you do, simply say that you are a surgeon. I avoid saying plastic ...

Read more...

Why surgical instruments are the way they are Next in a continuing series. There's a reason for the cliche -- surgeon barks out the name of an instrument, scrub nurse whacks it into the hand. The reason is this: when you are focused on a particular area -- especially if it's one in which danger lies -- you don't want to look away. If you need to change ...

Read more...

What Ive learned from saving physicians from suicide A psychiatrist in Seattle had picked out the bridge. At 3am he would swerve across his lane and plunge into the water. Everyone would assume he fell asleep. A surgeon in Oregon was lying on the floor of her office with a scalpel. Nobody would find her until it was too late. An internal medicine resident in Atlanta heard an anesthesiologist joking about the ...

Read more...

In a word, no (unless you have cancer). So, let’s take cancer out of the picture and discuss hysterectomy for non-cancerous (benign) reasons. First of all. A hysterectomy (removing the uterus) can be done via one of the 4 methods: 1. Vaginal, a small incision at the top of the vagina and the uterus is removed entirely through the vagina without any incision on the abdomen. 2. Laparoscopic surgery, where incisions are made ...

Read more...

Medical and surgical errors are very common in the hospital setting. They increase  malpractice lawsuits, the cost of medical care, patients’ hospital stays, and morbidity and mortality. As an infectious diseases specialist for over forty years, I was not aware how common these errors are until I became a patient myself after being diagnosed with hypopharyngeal carcinoma. My initial cancer was successfully removed, but a local recurrence occurred twenty months ...

Read more...

If you’ve read my reviews of the new medical TV show Monday Mornings, you’ll know I’ve been critical of many things about it. I was particularly disappointed with the way the show handled one of its central themes: the morbidity and mortality (M&M) conference. I thought it might be useful to tell you how most real M&M conferences are run. M&M conferences generally take place at hospitals with residency training ...

Read more...

ASA: Doctors and nurses are simply not one and the sameA guest column by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, exclusive to KevinMD.com. Recently, discussion about health care has reached a fever pitch, between changes in policy, adjustments to scope of practice and a multitude of other medical issues. As health care providers, it is our duty to provide the highest level of medical care to all patients to ...

Read more...

A woman’s mother dies at age 56. A blood test is done. The woman finds out she has a genetic pre-disposition to cancer. She takes what action she thinks she needs to take. A familiar story repeated over and over again every day. I’ve met many women who have made this choice. While not “normal”, it is a familiar situation. These women’s difficult choices go unheralded. But not Angelina. She ...

Read more...

It’s not hard to do surgery, its hard to get to do surgery We were instructed not to knock, that the examiners would invite us in when they were ready. Even under the bright lights and unforgiving atmosphere of an operating room emergency, I couldn't recall being this nervous. Yet today, in the dimly lit hallway of a three-star hotel, my hands trembled without a bleeding patient or sharp instrument anywhere nearby. I glanced left ...

Read more...