Oprah Winfrey has been taken to task, rightly, by both bloggers and mainstream media on her advice on health issues. Most prominently is a recent front page story on Newsweek, titled, Live your best life ever! Pediatrician Rahul Parikh was ahead of the curve on this topic, blogging a similar stance a few weeks before the Newsweek piece was published. But how should Oprah, who, as Dr. Parikh writes, is an ...

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Here are some of the more interesting comments readers have left recently. 1. Carla Kakutani on how Massachusetts' health reform won't relieve ER overcrowding: Insurance does not equal access (although it’s better than nothing). Nothing changes until every stakeholder recognizes they have to control costs and allow a rebuilding of primary care in the US. That includes doctors and patients, along with everybody’s favorite villians, the insurance companies and big pharma. ...

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Here's a fascinating, and scary, video of an implanted automatic defibrillator in action. 20 year-old Belgian soccer player, Anthony Van Loo, collapsed during a match. Blogging over at MedPage Today, electrophysiologist Dr. Wes analyzes the subsequent video, giving a precise play-by-play, so to speak, of when the defibrillator kicked in, likely restoring the arrhythmia into a normal heart rhythm. As for the cause, Dr. Wes has got you covered: "In ...

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There have been plenty of stories detailing how difficult it is to treat the morbidly obese. Most of the time, the stories have centered on simply how difficult it is to transport these patients to the hospital. Once there, however, emergency physician Shadowfax talks about other issues. For instance, obtaining IV access is near impossible, and 500+ pound patients present grave challenges to securing an airway, managing ventilation, or performing ...

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This ER in Atlanta is betting that you will. Taking advantage of worsening patient wait times in emergency departments, the Emory Adventist Hospital is offering a "Hold my place in line" service. For a fee of $24.99, patients are guaranteed to be see in 15 minutes or less - or the entire visit is free. It seems to me like shrewd business, and the blatant beginning of tiered emergency service. However, WhiteCoat ...

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The Mayo Clinic has been touted by policy wonks as a low-cost, high-quality integrated health system that American physician practices should aspire to. What's somewhat less publicized is that they are also a leader in so-called "executive physicals." (via Schwitzer) These exams, which often exceed thousands of dollars, offer CEOs and other executives a battery of tests that are often not evidenced-based. These can include stress tests, cardiac CT scans, ...

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Donald Berwick is a physician at the forefront of the patient empowerment movement. In a recent interview, he believes that medical care needs to be more patient-centered, in effect, "transfer[ring] control from doctors to the patients themselves," and, "patient preference occasionally putting evidence-based care “in the back seat." I wonder how, as a pediatrician, he's handling the anti-vaccine movement. In response to a question on patient choices that come in conflict with ...

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The fight versus anti-vaccine proponents is a losing one. Orac, a general surgeon who blogs over at Respectful Insolence, is on the front lines of the debate. In this post, he writes about how vaccine supporters are facing an uphill battle:

One problem is that vaccines have been so successful that parents rarely see the full, ugly consequences of the diseases against which vaccines defend anymore. The other problem is that ...

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There has always been an underlying tension between obstetricians and midwives. From the doctor's side, the only times they interact with midwives is when trouble arises. Or, as this article in Time puts it, "When hospital-based obstetricians see midwives and their clients it's usually because something has gone wrong . . . OBs don't see the uneventful births that proceed successfully at home [and] doctors in this position find themselves ...

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A hospital that denied a woman from visiting her dying partner at a hospital is now at the center of a federal lawsuit. Tara Parker-Pope details the case, which is sparking outrage. I won't rehash the discussion, which has been quite vigorous over at her blog. Indeed, the results of the pending lawsuit can have far-ranging effects, including "the way hospitals treat all patients with non-marital relationships, including ...

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