“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” - Albert Einstein “Miracles happen every day; change your perception of what a miracle is, and you’ll see them all around you.” — Jon Bon Jovi “The miracle is this: The more we share, the more we have.” — Leonard Nimoy It is amazing when things in medicine work just the way ...

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shutterstock_125105294 As a plastic surgeon, I am interested in how people look. Whether I am piecing together a fractured face or reconstructing a cancer-scarred breast, I am focused on appearance, symmetry, contour, and lines. I am always thinking about how our bodies are the physical manifestations of who we are. What I am never thinking about is how that sentiment applies to me. An intern ...

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test9 copy It's time to celebrate diversity in surgery with the #ILookLikeASurgeon hashtag. Inspired by surgery resident Heather Logghe, who says it best: "As women surgeons, whether we are in our first year of training or an emeritus professor, it's most important that we ourselves believe we 'look' like surgeons. Because we do." And it's taken off. Below is a continuously-updated Storify of this movement. Spread ...

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shutterstock_273641858 Like many practicing general surgeons I read with interest the recent Finnish paper published in JAMA that attempted to challenge the long held surgical dogma that the best treatment of acute appendicitis is cold hard steel.  The paper itself, in terms of design, was beautiful.  This was no retrospective review of a series of case studies.  This was a ...

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shutterstock_261498554 “We all want to live longer, my friend. I’m not doing the surgery. Take care.” And with that, the surgeon walked out of the room and crushed the hopes of my patient. Yet it was one of the most compassionate events I witnessed during my residency. The patient was discharged to hospice later that day. That patient was an early 60 something frail female ...

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shutterstock_153912641 Recently, Marshall Allan and Olga Pierce, two journalists at ProPublica, published a surgeon report card detailing complication rates of 17,000 individual surgeons from across the nation. A product of many years of work, it benefitted from the input of a large number of experts (as well as folks like me). The report card has received a lot of attention … and a ...

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shutterstock_226271230 If you want to know who the best surgeon in the hospital is, ask the surgical nursing staff. If you want to know who does the best job opening up coronary arteries using catheters, balloons, and stents, ask the cardiac catheterization lab nurses and technicians. Unfortunately, these approaches to comparing physicians’ skills are only available to hospital personnel. They are the only people who are ...

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shutterstock_287266676 When report cards of performance became available, cardiac surgeons in New York and Pennsylvania avoided high risk patients. Could something similar happen, nationally, after the forthcoming revolution in transparency inspired by ProPublica’s data release? Take two fictional orthopedic surgeons, Cherry Picker, MD and Morbidity Hunter, MD. Cherry Picker lives in the Upper East Side of New York. His patients give ...

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shutterstock_153098018 With much hype and fanfare, the independent investigative journalism outfit, ProPublica recently released their Surgeon Scorecard, assessing individual specialist surgeons who perform elective knee and hip replacements, spinal surgery, prostate surgery, and gallbladder removal surgery. I had blogged about the impending release.  My trepidation about the idea of a non-medical, non-scientific organization analyzing complex surgical data concerned issues such as ...

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shutterstock_280962767 The long-awaited Finnish randomized controlled trial of antibiotics vs. surgery for appendicitis was just published in JAMA. Depending on your perspective, 73 percent of patients were successfully treated with antibiotics or 27 percent of patients failed antibiotics and needed surgery. The good news is that it was a large multicenter study involving 273 patients randomized to surgery and 257 to ...

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