When the veins of a severed penis cannot be reattached in a timely fashion, surgeons apply live leeches to suck up the blood
That's good to know (via Dr. Charles).

A no-fault model of malpractice could more consistently compensate victims of avoidable mishaps and more effectively reduce error and incompetence
Although it makes the most sense, it is unlikely to happen here. As the article states: "Americans are used to blaming someone - in this case, doctors - when something goes wrong."

As you have heard, the Pope underwent a tracheotomy for respiratory distress. It was stressed by the Vatican that it was not done as an emergency measure. Just to clarify, the procedure where the hole is being created is called a tracheotomy, while the hole itself is called a tracheostomy.

From UptoDate, here are some advantages and disadvantages between the tracheostomy and intubation for mechanical ventilation:


The Pope will be undergoing a tracheotomy
Some are speculating that he is suffering from secondary bacterial pneumonia related to influenza. Streptococcus pneumoniae and Staphylococcus aureus are the two most common bacteria implicated. More from UptoDate:

The hallmark of the clinical presentation in patients with secondary bacterial pneumonia is the exacerbation of fever and respiratory symptoms after initial improvement in the symptoms of acute influenza. Fever may ...


A study estimates that only one of six malpractice claims had any valid basis

Docs still have room for improvement when policing themselves
"New Hanover Regional Medical Center allowed a surgeon with known alcohol and psychiatric problems to operate on hundreds of patients, scores of whom apparently got an operation different from the one they were promised "“ and different from the one that Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance companies were billed for."

Galen's back with some perspective on ibuprofen's relative safety
"The media is a powerful tool in educating the public of possible risks, but it doesn't always use this power efficiently. Watching media reports tends to distort the watchers assessment of risk, leading us to focus on the least appropriate of issues."

Yesterday's article takes a fairly standard attack on tort reform, popularized by some who read this blog. Walter Olson responds:

In any event, consider the centerpiece graphic of the Times piece, which plots the rise of rates and payouts since 1975 based on data from the highly regarded firm of A.M. Best. (I suggest keeping it open in a second window.) If I were trying to get ...


Medpundit links to a couple of websites that tries to get behind the often inadequate health reporting by major media
The first is Behind the Medical Headlines:

Welcome to Behind the Medical Headlines, which has been developed by the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, to provide authoritative and independent expert commentaries on topical medical matters reported in the international media.
Next ...


Terry Schiavo's parents and husband square off in court today over whether he is fit to be her guardian
The saga continues.

"Unnecessary spending will continue until we have a reliable system of medical justice that protects reasonable decisions - like prescribing aspirin instead of a CAT scan for a headache."
"Said Dr. Alan Sager, a co-author of the Boston University study, '[W]e need to demand that health care gets reshaped in ways that encourage and persuade doctors to take charge of spending money more carefully [and] ... weed out clinical waste.' ...


There is a lack of PET scanners in the UK
There are 10 PET scanners on the UK, and 80 in Germany. To put that in perspective, there are 80 in the state of Florida alone.

Television drug advertising is about promotion, not education
"It furthers the notion that there's a pill for every ill and that the road to better health begins with self-diagnosis and treatment.

But many consumers, say doctors, are not asking questions so much as simply asking for the drug. And doctors usually comply "“ 75 percent according to one study."

Instapundit's wife is out of the hospital
The discharge was predictably held up by paperwork. A former nurse comments on the hospital experience, both from the patients' and staff's view.

The CDC is starting to get worried about bird flu

An in-depth story, behind the scenes at Pfizer
"Every weekday, some 38,000 Pfizer Inc. sales reps fan out around the globe. Armed with briefcases full of free drug samples, reams of clinical data, and lavish expense accounts for wining and dining their quarry, the reps infiltrate doctors' offices and hospitals. Their goal: to persuade medical professionals the world over to make Pfizer drugs the treatment of choice for their patients' ...


Grand Rounds 22 is now up
Come get your weekly best of the medical blogosphere.

Docs are still skeptical about rapid opiate detox
"It's like treating someone in the hospital with high blood sugar with insulin and then discharging him from the hospital without the insulin."

This was touched upon last month.

Gift certificates for breast cancer screening
"REACH for Breast Health is offering a $10 gift certificate to a local supermarket to every woman who completes breast screening who has never had a mammogram, or who has not had one in over two years."

It's come down to this - paying people to maintain their health.

There are many who are willing to take the risk of Vioxx in the quest for pain relief
It would be tough to prescribe it in today's litigious environment, no matter how much the patients want it. I wonder if someone can introduce a legal waiver that patients can sign (an informed consent of sorts), which will make many physicians more comfortable prescribing it.

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