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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IMG_0785 Sitting in a rickety jeep rumbling through treacherous mountainous terrain, on winding unpaved roads full of blind curves and teetering on the edge of cliffs recently ravaged by an earthquake, I began to question my decision to go along on this trip.  We were about 3 hours outside Kathmandu, Nepal heading to a small village along the banks of the Melamchi ...

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shutterstock_277040312 american society of anesthesiologists A guest column by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, exclusive to KevinMD.com. Summer is immortalized in popular culture for good reasons -- no other season can match it for the variety of fun and exciting activities it brings. Unfortunately, that variety of activities and the large volume of ...

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Well, decision time was here and it looked as if Bill would choose surgery, and why not, with the doctors liberally throwing around the word "cure.'" The various tests Bill endured, breathing tests, echocardiogram and MRI of the brain, were all within tolerable ranges, we were told.  The oncologist noted some marks in the brain that suggested mini-strokes, but Bill didn't hear this or it didn't register with him, or ...

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shutterstock_280855511 After the last elective case of the day, the neurosurgeon I was shadowing told me that he was on overnight call that evening, and that I could stick around to observe more surgeries if I wanted to. “Yes,” I responded. “Absolutely yes.” My fascination with surgery stems from its ability to provide immediate results to a patient by cutting out, repairing, reshaping, or ...

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shutterstock_116541763 You could hear a pin drop. The awkward silence at a dinner table after my pager went off. Eyes locked on me. For a split second, the laughter ceased, forks held in mid-air, chewed food, half-swallowed. The nervous system of every doctor adapts to the sound of his or her pager during residency. Early in training, widening pupils and hair-raising palpitations fade ...

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shutterstock_50320798 The scalpel hits the skin immediately, splaying it open with one smooth swipe. Two more swipes through yellow globular fat and I hit the glistening white fascia layer. If this weren't an emergency, I would stop to carefully cauterize the small bleeding blood vessels in the fat layer, but there is no time for that now. I nick the middle of ...

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shutterstock_113731288 I never really watched medical shows, even before and during medical school. I watched maybe one season of ER, a couple of seasons of Grey's Anatomy and House MD and maybe one episode each of Private Practice, Chicago Hope, Emily Owens MD and other random medical shows. The only medical show I made an exception for was Scrubs, because it was ...

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When my sister, Jessica, was a nurse anesthetist student at the University of New England, she had the opportunity to rotate at Johns Hopkins, and she seized it. She was young and fairly new to the medical world and so she did not recognize at first the name of the neurosurgeon with whom she would be working -- Dr. Ben Carson. After receiving multiple comments from numerous people about how great it ...

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