I did not want to go to the emergency room. I really didn’t.  Resisting the idea, I lay doubled over with the worst abdominal pain of my life for 12 hours, unable to eat or drink or move, and finally vomiting before I considered it. I was well aware that this sequence of symptoms made me a textbook case of appendicitis, but I still consulted an ER doctor to ask: was ...

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I read the recent popular posts from Matthew Moeller (Dear lawmakers: this is what it’s like to be a doctor today) and Nick Rademacher (Lawmakers shouldn’t care about the personal hardships of doctors) with great interest. They reflect perspectives from two interesting turning points for most medical careers- medical student, and established attending physician. I’m a U.K.-based surgeon and though the healthcare systems in the UK ...

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Inappropriate blood transfusions: Surgeons should lead the way Despite the fact that many papers have identified the problem, inappropriate blood transfusions continue in hospitals across the nation. This topic was featured at the recent Patient Safety Science and Technology Summit that was held in Orange County, California. Transfusion of packed red blood cells is very common. Over 2 million patients or 5.8% to 10% of inpatients are transfused every year with some ...

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"I can fix this." The neurosurgeon was nothing if not confident. "The cyst is pushing on your spinal cord. If it continues to expand, it will damage your nerves and you may lose the ability to walk. But I can remove the cyst, and cure you." The patient was a business school professor, a man comfortable with risk-benefit ratios and complex decisions. He probed for more information. The surgeon was happy to provide ...

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Training to become a surgeon: Embrace the journey I’ve never been one with much affection for cold or inclement weather and as such, between November and April, most of my training is done on the treadmill. While many people lament the monotony and unchanging scenery that treadmill running brings, I take the time to lose myself in podcasts. Recently, during a set of race-pace intervals, I listened to a podcast that ...

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New research just out in the journal Psychology and Aging says pessimists live longer and healthier lives. If this is true, then contemplating the future of anesthesiology ought to make us immortal, because our professional prospects don’t look bright.  As we teach residents to do what we’ve always done, shouldn’t we ask ourselves honestly if we’re training them for a future that doesn’t exist? Especially here in California, it seems ...

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"If you can’t do this drunk, you shouldn’t be doing it at all." The eminent professor was speaking to a friend of mine about heart surgery. He was not supporting operating under the influence, or am I. The point is that the technical component of surgery -- the cutting, the sewing, the rearranging -- is very easy. It is true that in the OR, as on the golf course, some are more ...

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Brought to you by MedPage Today. 1. Boston Bombing a Lesson in Prep for Hospitals. The Boston Marathon bombing serves as yet another tragic reminder that American healthcare must be prepared to deal with terrorist attacks that result in the injuries typical of the wide-ranging damage caused by explosive devices. 2. FDA Updates OxyContin Label, Blocks Generics. The FDA has issued new labeling ...

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Next in a continuing series. Traction and counter-traction: along with maintaining excellent exposure, that is one of the fundamental principles of operating. It's Newtonian: equal and opposite. In nearly all forms of surgical dissection, there's a need for some pull in the opposing direction: tissues that are a little stretched-out, that are under some tension, fall open more easily when dissected. Plus, it's a form of stabilization, another obligatory ...

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Although I rarely get sick with the numerous strains of “bugs” that seem to go around our community this time of year, the week prior to my return to work for my next scheduled string of four shifts was spent mainly in bed, coughing and aching and whining about how miserable I felt. Fully recovered, though, I was excited to return to the emergency department to do my fair share ...

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