A letter to the editor by the defendant physician's wife leads to a mistrial
The physician was then ordered to pay the plaintiff's legal fees thus far.

A tort reform bill moves forward in Virginia

The NEJM published a study suggesting that Plavix (clopidogrel) had a higher-than-previously-thought risk of ulcers:

We enrolled 320 patients (161 patients assigned to receive clopidogrel and 159 to receive aspirin plus esomeprazole). Recurrent ulcer bleeding occurred in 13 patients receiving clopidogrel and 1 receiving aspirin plus esomeprazole. The cumulative incidence of recurrent bleeding during the 12-month period was 8.6 percent (95 percent confidence interval, ...


Wired magazine writes an extensive story on 24-hour heroin detox

$15,000 buys you rapid detox with intravenous naloxone. The acute withdrawal symptoms can be so severe that the patient needs to be sedated with general anesthesia - which is shown in the picture above (taken from the story). This physician has turned "instant detoxification" into a thriving business.

Cancer overtakes heart disease as the top killer of Americans under 85
The single most important reason: fewer smokers.

A mathematical formula has determined next Monday, January 24th to be the most depressing day of the year

Should a student's body mass index (BMI) be on their report card?

I have added two excellent medical blogs that I have been recently reading to the blogroll. The first is insightful OB/GYN commentary at The Well-Timed Period. Also, the Bioethics Discussion Blog provides some thought-provoking dilemmas.

Seems that more Florida doctors were using unapproved Botox

Researchers were infected with tularemia
I discussed tularemia earlier this month. The researchers were from Boston University, which presents an interesting sidebar, since BU is set to build a Biosafety Level 4 lab near the medical campus.

This is who you want if you need CPR in the operating room

Is a black box warning the next step for Bextra and Celebrex?
This comes on the heels of a pair of studies which continue to show cardiovascular harm from COX-2s.

The problems facing doctor report cards
This article brings up some valid concerns about grading physicians:

If all physicians receive the equivalent of an'A' on a certain indicator, that does not help distinguish between the doctors. For some indicators, it can also difficult to obtain reliable data from patients. And finally, surveying a doctor who doesn't treat enough patients won't give you an accurate picture of how the physician is performing.

Congratulations to the 2004 Medical Blog Award winners

Bank of America gives a medical opinion
"Banc of America (sic) said 'there was a fear that if OTC statins became available it would cause a weakening in the prescription cholesterol market. That was not our belief as relatively few patients would have been able to reach their cholesterol goals with 20mg of Mevacor.'"

Nice to see a bank give a medical opinion. Statins, specifically 20mg of ...


Waking Up Costs hosts Grand Rounds
Come get the weekly best of the medical blogosphere. Medical errors is the theme this week.

Fourteen hospitals in Taiwan refused to treat a 4-year old girl with a head injury, citing a lack of beds

The digital fecal occult blood test is worthless

(Sorry for the unappetizing picture - the test on the left is a negative fecal occult test, the right is positive.)

I never rely solely on a digital fecal occult blood test for colorectal cancer screening. The take-home fecal occult test is a more helpful test:

The digital fecal occult blood test was positive in only 5 percent ...


Fast-track cardiology fellowships
To become a cardiologist, one has to complete 3 years of internal medicine followed by 3 years of cardiology. To avert a shortage of cardiologists, the American College of Cardiology is proposing a "fast-track" - skipping the last year of the internal medicine residency. The obvious losers would be the internal medicine training programs which will potentially lose senior residents to the cardiology fellowship.

The BMJ is under fire for its accusations against Prozac

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