Can to fear of lawsuits lead to defensive drug dispensing?
"Corporate lawyers say they are concerned that the thousands of lawsuits will pressure manufacturers to 'overwarn' patients about the risks of drugs.

Drug companies may restrict patient access to 'lifesaving' drugs out of fear of lawsuits, defense lawyer Dan Troy said at a seminar in Washington Wednesday."

A group of doctors started an impromptu clinic in the midst of New Orleans
"Houston physician Roberto Andrade, in New Orleans with his family for a meeting, was one of 17 doctors and pharmacists trapped by Hurricane Katrina in the Ritz Carlton on Canal Street. They raided a Walgreens drugstore under police escort and treated hotel guests - and passing police officers - with diabetes, hypertension and other health issues ...

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Forbes.com recommends testicular self-examinations
Note that the USPSTF does not recommend this:

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends against routine screening for testicular cancer in asymptomatic adolescent and adult males.

Rating: D Recommendation.

Rationale: The USPSTF found no new evidence that screening with clinical examination or testicular self-examination is effective in reducing mortality from testicular cancer. Even in the absence of screening, the current treatment interventions ...

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Nick with more stories from New Orleans
Here's the second one.

Profiling the lawyer next to take on Merck in the second Vioxx trial
"Chris Seeger knows a thing or two about slugging it out.

As a teenager on Long Island, he fell in love with boxing, winning 16 of 18 amateur matches by the time he turned 21. And the experience, he said, served him well when he later became a lawyer.

'If you want to know the ...

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Does Merck have a "homefield advantage" in the next Vioxx trial?
"In Texas, there's significant bias against what's considered an out-of-town evil drug company. But in New Jersey, you actually know people who work at Merck and Pfizer, so it puts a human face on it. It's not big, bad pharma; it's my neighbor Joe."

Cost is preventing some hospitals in the UK from following clinical guidelines
Thanks to the reader who sent in this tip.

It looks like Arafat died from a stroke
Certainly a complicated case. There was also mention of disseminated intravascular coagulation: " An American hematology consultant theorized that Arafat might have had a common infection known as diverticulitis, which develops in sacs in the large bowel. An infected diverticulum can burst, leaking its contents into the abdominal cavity to cause a localized abscess or an infection like peritonitis.


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Doctors vs lawyers in Washington State
Voters will decide the battle over dueling malpractice initiatives in November. Both sides are trying to outspend the other: "No question facing voters this November has drawn political powerhouses the likes of those waging the battle over dueling medical malpractice measures.

The only common ground in the contest, which has shattered fund-raising records, is this: The stakes are highest for patients.


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No surprise: A malpractice attorney is against special health courts
"It would be a travesty to undermine our civil justice system based on the faulty premise that lay juries are not competent enough to decide facts "“ after presentation of both sides at trial "“ and that superior results would be achieved by having panels of doctors decide a patient's right to compensation. True, there are specialty courts for bankruptcy, ...

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More medical stories from New Orleans
"Inside, a sea of blue fold-out beds was partitioned into units labeled 'ICU,' 'dialysis' and 'X-ray.' Surgical supplies and defibrillator machines lay next to them.

While the two field hospitals can accommodate hundreds of patients, the University Hospital team helped treat a crushing influx of 5,000 patients whose ailments ranged from severe dehydration and sun exposure to heart attacks, strokes, gastrointestinal problems and ...

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A hospital and two doctors are sued for refusing to do surgery on an HIV positive man
"According to the lawsuit, Daniel Richardson was referred to HealthSouth Provo and had his surgery scheduled for December 2004, but then it was cancelled. The suit says that one of the doctors who referred Richardson for surgery said that "no scrub techs would do the surgery and it was the policy of HealthSouth ...

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My patient-oriented medical blog, Straight from the Doc, has introduced a new collaborative blogging feature, the "Creative Reporter" - where anyone can get paid for posting content on the blog:

Creative Reporter is your online reporter desk that allows you to share and contribute news with the audience of Creative Weblogging. In exchange all contributors will be mentioned when published and rewarded based on their contributions Page Views (actually ...

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The tragic story of a nursing home that failed to evacuate before the hurricane in New Orleans
"They nailed a table against one window, ran a heavy electric wheelchair with a table on top against another and pushed a couch against a door. These failed defenses are still in St. Rita's nursing home, as are at least 14 swollen, unrecognizable bodies."

Orac talks about sparring with alternative medicine supporters
"Unfortunately there are extreme alties out there for whom conventional medicine can do no good and alternative medicine can, it seems, do no ill. It is not just in the field of autism, either. I simply used this recent event to illustrate my point because it is fresh in my mind and because Kev documented similar, albeit somewhat less extreme, reactions ...

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WebMD on Tom Cruise playing doctor
"Celebrities can perform a valuable public service when they help raise awareness of health issues. But they can do harm when, like Cruise, they go further and pretend to be experts, recommending which medical treatments others should or should not embrace. While it's true that Cruise has a right to express his opinions, medical or otherwise, we as journalists have a responsibility to ...

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Drug addicts are struggling in New Orleans

Equating long physician work hours with an alcohol-induced state
Does this mean that physician work hours be further reduced? Not necessarily:

"This is, without a doubt, a notable finding," write editorialist Drew Dawson, PhD, and colleagues. But they don't support doing away with long hours for new doctors.

"In some scenarios, limiting working hours may increase risk to patients and physicians," writes Dawson, who works at the University ...

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A tale of two ER physician brothers and two hospitals in New Orleans

Jason Kottke on the American health care system
"You can point fingers at what's wrong or who's responsible all day long, but the facts remain, America's health care system sucks...well, unless you're rich, in which case nothing really sucks."

He also points to a Malcolm Gladwell article in the New Yorker ripping apart our health care system.

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