american society of anesthesiologistsA guest column by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, exclusive to KevinMD.com. Fire Prevention Week.  National Volunteer Week.  Save Your Vision Week.  The list goes on! These observances or “awareness weeks” aim to advocate important messages both locally and nationally to the media and public. You may wonder about the effectiveness of an overload of awareness weeks, ...

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Picture this: You’re in the operating room, performing a challenging procedure. (If you’re not a doctor, roll with me here and play along. You’ll get it soon.) You’re feeling pretty good about how the surgery is going. You’re grateful that your usual team is with you, because that always makes you feel more confident. Then something happens … Right at the most critical part of the procedure, crisis ensues and the instrument you’re using ...

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What does a 3 year old know? If you don’t like our toddler’s opinion, just wait; she’ll change her mind in a few seconds.  The ever-changing mind of a 3-year-old is what makes the fact that I decided to be a  doctor at that age all the more amazing.  But, that’s how old I was when my parents took me on a mission trip to Haiti, and I decided I wanted to ...

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A JAMA Surgery Viewpoint recently suggested that because of the findings of a Finnish randomized trial, surgeons now should give patients with appendicitis a choice between an appendectomy or treatment with antibiotics. The paper acknowledged my criticisms of the Finnish study that found that simple appendicitis could be treated successfully with antibiotics in almost 75 percent of patients. I respect the authors of the JAMA Surgery article and am happy they
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What do you do when you love your job, but it’s killing you? That’s an easy question if it’s asked by someone else.  It’s a hard question when you’re asking it of yourself.  As a physician, I give advice to people all the time -- other people.  If you have diabetes, control your diet.  If you are obese, then lose weight and exercise.  If you have COPD, then you better not ...

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In September 2010, a seasoned pediatric intensive care unit nurse administered an accidental overdose to a critically ill baby, giving ten times the amount of calcium that was prescribed. Five days later, this baby, with an already tenuous heart condition, died. The nurse recognized her mistake immediately, informed her superior, and also told the family and physicians. She was, however, escorted out of the hospital, put on administrative leave, and ...

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A Kentucky appeals court ruled that a surgeon was not responsible for a burn caused by an instrument that had been removed from an autoclave and placed on an anesthetized patient's abdomen. According to an article in Outpatient Surgery, the surgeon was not in the room when the injury occurred and only discovered it when he was about to begin the procedure. An insufflator valve had been sterilized and was ...

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I recently wrote about inter-professional hostility in health care.  I thought I would share some of the inspiration for that post here.   Is there really an escalation of scope of practice conflicts and a downward spiral of disrespect, or is it just more palpable in the modern era of anonymous comments and viral online posts? I don’t know for sure, but lately, the conversation seems louder to me. In ...

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The amount of hostility among health care professionals seems to be at an all-time high.  Are “scope of practice” and “turf” battles really escalating, or is it just more palpable in the modern era of anonymous comments and viral online posts?  I don't know for sure, but lately, the conversation seems louder and uglier to me. In medical school, I heard derogatory comments (“jokes”?) from physicians and nurses alike about pretty ...

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Every time I walk through the automatic sliding doors, that strong smell of ammonia stings my nose. The lobby is clean -- too clean -- with a vast amount of open space leading to the front desk. The just-below-comfortable air brushes against my skin, raising the hair on my arms and legs. Almost cold enough to be a morgue -- but that’s later. The room is silent, except for the ...

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