Operating is difficult enough, but imagine doing on someone's organs that were transposed on the other side. 1 in 10,000 patients have a condition known as situs inversus, where, despite the non-traditional placement of organs, patients function without clinical symptoms. In this interesting piece from MedPage Today, several surgeons are interviewed about their experiences performing procedures on such patients. For instance, when talking to a heart surgeon who knew ...

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by Derek Mazique Between “death panels,” a NICE-style cost effective analysis board, and Obama’s slowly graying hair, one conspicuously absent part of reform are reimbursement rates. Medicare and private insurance typically reimburse for expensive procedures, which ultimately rewards procedure-heavy specialists while discourage those cognitive-heavy services like primary care docs. The result? As a recent Baltimore Sun op-ed and this very blog pointed out, a combination of pay and burn-out are encouraging ...

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My latest opinion piece was published on CNN this morning. cnn Entitled, Why the doctor won't see you now, it should be familiar to regular readers of KevinMD. Here's an excerpt:

Although it is a moral imperative for every American to have access to health insurance, alleviating the shortage of primary care providers is of equal importance. The prospect of ...

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When physicians in other countries come to the United States, they often become nurses or lab technicians, rather than re-taking rigorous board exams to remain doctors. One example includes doctors from Cuba. According to this story in The New York Times, "6,000 medical professionals, many of them physicians, have left Cuba in the last six years." Cuban doctors, who often earn $25 per month, find it significantly more ...

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Fear-mongering about health care reform killing grandma really burns me: I have delivered "everything", I know what "everything" looks like. I know its dark side. I also know that these deliberate and self-serving lies will ultimately hurt not only grandma, but the rest of us too. Here is what I mean. When I was in practice I cared for critically ill patients. I loved the ICU for its complex physiology and ...

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According to a recent op-ed, Jim Hall, former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, says, "Because American medicine accepts error as an inevitable consequence of treatment, our hospitals, insurers and government do little to respond to unnecessary deaths. If we are to address the problem in a serious manner, we must first change this culture." But a simple solution to reduce medical errors may be elusive, says emergency physician ...

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The primary care physician (PCP) shortage has attracted a lot of attention recently, and for good reason. Individual Americans are concerned that they will not have timely access to needed medical care, and policy makers are concerned that our specialist-heavy medical system is failing, giving us expensive but disjointed, poor quality care. Many experts rightly think that a robust primary care system would give us better health care for ...

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When an airline passenger has a medical emergency mid-flight, a call normally goes out asking for a doctor among the passengers to help. One study has estimated 350 such emergencies in the air every day, worldwide. Airlines appeal to a doctor's sense of duty when asking for their help, and generally don't provide anything more than a token gesture of appreciation. But should physicians who respond to the call be financially ...

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A woman on Medicaid is newly diagnosed with lung cancer in the emergency department. Although medically stable, should she be admitted to facilitate the coordination of the care she will require? That's a question emergency physician Jesse Pines asks in a recent WSJ op-ed. In the end, despite the resistance of the admitting hospitalist, he admitted the patient. Dr. Pines writes that, "Without expert help, arranging a ...

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They're both going to be scarce. Along with primary care, cardiothoracic surgeons are projected to be in short supply, according to a report in MedPage Today. A study found in Circulation suggested that fewer medical students are pursuing the field, leading to a "shortage of at least 1,500 surgeons or 25% of the likely projected need." Lifestyle issues are cited, as it takes over 8 years of post-graduate training ...

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