Can you get desensitized to grisly procedures?

In last week's NY Times column, Pauline Chen looks at the declassified torture memos and thinks about the first time a doctor-in-training cuts through skin during an operation.

"Most people "” actually anyone who has experienced even a paper cut "” are hesitant to slice through flesh," writes Dr. Chen. "Aspiring surgeons are no different. Their first efforts are tentative ...

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Maria, a psychiatry fellow who's practiced medicine on both coasts, notes some differences between the two breeds of physicians.

For instance, regarding hierarchy, on the East, "Physicians wear one color of scrubs. Nurses wear yet another color of scrubs. Medical technicians wear a different color of scrubs from doctors and nurses. It's very clear who is who"¦ unlike the uniformly scrubbed people on the West Coast."

And although, ...

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The conventional wisdom is that practicing medicine over the telephone exposes doctors to potentially more malpractice lawsuits.

But, is that really the case?

Blogging over at Better Health, physician Alan Dappen, who created an innovative primary care model, suggests not.

His practice, which is based on 24/7 physician availability by phone, solves most patients' concerns half of the time. He was recently audited by his malpractice ...

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One question that occasionally comes up is whether doctors should be paid a flat salary or not.

Currently, the majority of physicians are paid fee-for-service, meaning that the more procedures or office visits they do, the better they are reimbursed. This, of course, gives a financial incentive to do more, without regard to quality or patient outcomes.

One proposed solution is simply to pay doctors a flat ...

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It appears the forces are aligned to bolster the number of primary care physicians.

Increasing pay has been discussed as one solution, however, any effect from such a move won't be seen for years to come.

Joe Paduda says we need more immediate results. Training more mid-level providers, like nurse practitioners and physician assistants, or enticing more foreign-trained doctors isn'tt the answer because they too will be ...

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With swine flu in the news, some are wondering what the responsibilities of health care providers are in case of a full-blown pandemic.

Shadowfax has unearthed an article citing little-known laws in some states, "that authorize government officials to order health care professionals to work during declared public health emergencies, even when doing so would pose life-threatening risks."

And it's no joke, as those "who violate these ...

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Long wait times in emergency departments have led to a resurgence of urgent care centers.

The LA Times has a piece on the phenomenon, and notes that many of these facilities have opened up in suburbs, where patients with insurance tend to live.

By skimming off the profitable and straight-forward cases, emergency departments have generally taken a disparaging view of their urgent care brethren. Sandra Schneider, vice president ...

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The recession and stock market downturn are forcing previously retired doctors to go back to work.

But, after being away from medicine for so long, some are finding that hospitals and clinics aren't willing to take them back with open arms.

Malpractice coverage will be higher for these physicians, and indeed, a cited gastroenterologist commented that "he couldn't get liability coverage because he hadn't done an endoscopy ...

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Top story in The New York Times.

Excellent.

There's hope that maybe, just maybe, we're getting through to the decision makers in Washington.

The article itself is old news to regular readers of this blog, and regurgitates many of the arguments impeding health reform, as well as the problems in solving them.

"Obama administration officials, alarmed at doctor shortages, are looking for ways to increase ...

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Many hospitals prefer so-called "closed" intensive care units solely managed by intensive care specialists.

The reason being that specialists can supposedly better adhere to quality measures, and hence lower costs, which are goals that hospital administrators pine for.

The problem is, there aren't enough intensivists to staff closed-ICUs for many medical centers across the country.

So, hospitalsts are stepping in as a "stop-gap" measure, and ...

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