For those who have been following the incidents at the South Shore ER, written here earlier this month, the Boston Globe writes about the status of the investigation. As an aside - an 82-bed ER is bigger than some of the hospitals that I round at.

Medpundit has commented on the ER (mis)use piece written earlier this week, emphasizing the convenience ("In fact, you don't even have to walk to your tests. You get rolled to them in a wheelchair or gurney." - how true). Perhaps people are willing to wait the 5-6 hours in exchange for a second opinion, or in some cases a specialist evaluation. Beats waiting months. ...

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Today's Boston Globe contains an interesting piece on malpractice reform from a professor of law at Columbia University. One nice analogy:

Current practices make no more sense than asking airline pilots to guarantee safety for the entire aviation industry, and forcing those who fly the most dangerous routes to compensate injured passengers from their personal paychecks.

What a quote from the president of the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers in response to the increasing number of physicians going without malpractice insurance (i.e. "going bare"):

'You can't hide all of your assets and you can't hide all of your wages forever. One way or another, we'll find a way to represent these medical malpractice victims because they deserve it,'' said Alexander Clem, president of the ...

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Medical Economics discusses the use of clinical guidelines in malpractice litigation. One interesting point is raised regarding whether new guidelines are being affected by the current malpractice atmosphere:

. . . as trial lawyers are using guidelines more in court, the organizations writing them are changing their motives. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, for example, has recently come under fire from plaintiffs' lawyers . . . ...

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Our second winning entry is a story from a paramedic:

A late-fifties male gets up in the morning [wife's still sleeping] to go to the bathroom. He's overweight, smokes like a chimney, and is now grunting away - trying to push out the pound of steak he ate for dinner last night. While he's doing that, the pressure he places on his bowels produces a sudden drop in his ...

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Our first winning entry is a story from a grizzled resident:

A lot is on my mind these days. I am thirty years old, I have a one year girl who is turning into an Olsen Twin with melodrama substituted for'acting'. I just had a new baby boy 7 days ago who has decided to make me relive my intern year all over again; sleepless nights and ...

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Gmail invite status



It seems like Google is giving away Gmail invites like candy. I now have 7 (!) to give away. Instead of posting the top three stories, I'll be giving away the invites on a rolling basis. Again, I'll accept anything medically-related that's interesting or entertaining - just email me your submission.

This will go on until I run out of invitations. ...

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Despite the current controversy on importing medications, it seems a recent report has observed that Canadian pharmacies are pretty safe. In fact, some have stricter standards than US-based pharmacies:

Despite safety concerns voiced by opponents of prescription drug imports, congressional investigators said they encountered few problems with medicines purchased from Canadian Web sites.

In some instances, Canadian online pharmacies had stricter standards than those in the ...

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As a follow-up to what I wrote last week on the ER stories near Boston comes this report. Most of it we know already, but it's nice to see some concrete data:

One-fifth of patients coming to the ED did not have conditions requiring emergency care, and another one-fifth had urgent conditions that could have been treated in a primary care setting, the report shows.

Uninsured ...

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No waiting rooms

Some practices are eliminating waiting rooms altogether and bringing patients directly into the exam room. It seems like shifting the waiting from one place to another, but patients feel they are one step closer to seeing a physician.

Almost 1 in 3 had no insurance for at least one month in the past two years. Unacceptable.

More stories are coming out that demonstrate physicians taking the malpractice crisis in their own hands.

As a follow-up to what was written here last month, the AMA chimes in with their opinion.

. . . to help curb cigarette use. Shock tactics. I love it.

All cigarette packs sold in Singapore will soon carry gruesome messages including images of a cancerous lung and a sliced brain oozing blood to scare smokers into quitting, health officials said.

Here is one physician's extreme response to rising malpractice costs. It surely was meant to be inflammatory. The fact it was allowed to get this far reflects the deep frustration within the physician community. Some doctors are taking matters into their own hands.



I have three invitations to Google's upcoming Gmail service. It is currently in a beta-test stage, but many people are taking advantage of the invitation to secure their own preferred addresses before the service goes public.

If you're interested, email me an interesting medically-related story, anecdote, editorial or opinion. It could be from a patient or provider perspective. At the end of ...

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From today's Boston Globe comes a story detailing the controversy about allowing psychologists (non-MD's) to presribe medication. The state of Louisiana recently passed a law allowing this to happen. Here are some excerpts detailing the arguments on both sides:

. . . [the] president of the American Psychiatric Association, calls the Louisiana law ''really scary," saying undertrained nonphysicians will harm, and perhaps kill, patients. ''Without a ...

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Nice to see the AMA taking a stand against the sometimes biased drug company study data:

Proposals facing the American Medical Association include a measure seeking to make all drug study results public, even unpublished research funded by pharmaceutical companies that might reflect poorly on their products.

. . . It is critical for doctors to have all information on tested drugs so they can make ...

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A few weeks ago, a patient who sells these things gave me some magnet wristbands to try. They are meant for acute pain and osteoarthritis. I was dubious of their claims and was not aware of any supporting evidence. I recently came across this recent POEM from the Cleveland Clinic which cites a small study on this topic.

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