Thanks, Dr. Kevin!

I'm a psychiatrist who blogs from Eugene, Oregon. I'm surprised to be over here! (I've never "guest-blogged" before.) I think I'll be posting the way I usually do, but I'll have an eye out for more medically-oriented topics. (I'm especially interested in how people cope with all sorts of things, including medical problems...)

In absentia

I will be away for a few days. But fear not, loyal readers - our favorite blogging psychiatrist, shrinkette, will kindly be guest-blogging in my absence. Enjoy!

Dr. Craig Hildreth, The Cheerful Oncologist, will also be guest-blogging. Enjoy both of these unique medical blogging voices in the next few days.

A woman who had suffered a massive heart attack died after hospital personnel moved her out of a trauma room to accommodate a flu-stricken Michael Jackson
Big surprise, the family is now suing Jackson and the hospital. Chris Rangel comments:

The problem is that like the majority of medical lawsuits this case has little if any merit. It is standard procedure to disconnect the patient from the ventilator and ventilate ...


In the trauma room: Columbus man kills his two children, then kills himself
Dr. Bard-Parker was there. Incredible.

2,000 defibrillators are being recalled
"The company said the machines may not correctly analyze a patient's
heart rhythm, possibly preventing the machine from defibrillating the
heart when it is needed."

The complex manual dexterity required to be a stellar video gamer and minimally invasive surgeon are strikingly similar
"Dr. Rosser, 50, practices what he preaches. He keeps an Xbox, along with PlayStation 2 and GameCube consoles, just a few strides from the operating room so he can warm up with a favorite, Super Monkey Ball, just before surgery."

"Soul murder is a small price to pay for a good story."
An essay criticizing the media's often tabloid-like coverage of health information. After all, stories about catastrophes sell more papers than those about safe care. Some points:

Professor Tallis said there had been many other instances of "disgraceful" treatment in the press, with the "unhuman pursuit of the human story." He said, "Numerous doctors have been hounded and when ...


Does Hollywood accurately portray disease?
Not surprisingly, the answer is more than likely, no.

In the UK, 17,402 operations were cancelled at short notice for non-clinical reasons during a four-month period
"Operations may be cancelled at the last minute if a bed is no longer going to be available, or if staff are needed elsewhere."

It took one year to recruit a neurosurgeon in Illinois after his predecessors left due to a hostile malpractice climate
"I didn't think we'd be able to do it this rapidly."

Malpractice rates in Texas will decrease an average of 14 percent
"The Doctors Company, a physician-owned medical malpractice carrier, will file with the Texas Department of Insurance to decrease its average rate level.

Ninety percent of the company's current Texas insureds will receive rate reductions. Although some reductions will range up to 30 percent, the average decrease for insureds at $200,000/$600,000 limits of liability is 14 percent."


Almost a third of the members of a government panel that voted last week to let the pain pills Celebrex, Bextra and Vioxx stay on the market recently consulted for the makers of the drugs
"Without the votes of those 10 members, the committee would have voted 12 to 8 that Bextra should be withdrawn and 14 to 8 that Vioxx should not return to the market. The 10 ...


DTC advertising gets a wrist slap from the FDA
"The majority of the FDA advisory panel on cox-2 inhibitors, drugs that include Bextra, Celebrex, and Vioxx, called for a ban on all cox-2 advertising. The agency is unlikely to follow that recommendation. 'Such a ban would be almost certainly illegal. The FDA has no statutory authority to ban advertising. Even if it were to have such authority, such a ban ...


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."

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