Gaining attention

Almost a month ago, some Maryland physicians protested a 33 percent increase in malpractice premiums. It seems like they have brought about some action:

Maryland leaders raised hopes yesterday for a special session of the General Assembly next month that would focus on curbing insurance rate increases for doctors, but they acknowledged that key details -- including how to pay for new initiatives -- remain unresolved.

Don’t believe it

With the popularity of anti-bacterial soaps and cleansers, I have been asked - do they really work? No.

No sharing

Canada isn't sharing their flu vaccine supply: "The stuff that's sitting in my fridge isn't for them."

Update:
Waiting some four hours for the flu vaccine caused someone to collapse and die.

You can blame the lawyers for the flu vaccine shortage (via Medpundit):

Whether doctors are quitting the profession because of an out-of-control tort system, whether malpractice premiums are the cause of health care increases--such ...

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BMJUSA with a comprehensive look at the role of email consultations (in two parts).

Drug importation

The NY Times writes a price on how drug importation from Canada isn't a cure-all.

A reader responds to the recent WSJ story on the effects of non-economic caps:

I have become a pediatric patient safety advocate, not by my own choosing. I have received several emails from grieving parents over the past few months asking me for advice. They can't get answers why their child died - because of the archaic and accepted disclosure policies most hospitals insist upon - nor an attorney ...

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A report came out today focusing on the dangers of osteoporosis:

Americans of all ages must do more to protect their bones now to protect themselves from fractures and other related problems later in life, U.S. health officials warned on Thursday.

About 10 million Americans ages 50 and older already have the bone-weakening disease osteoporosis, and another 34 million risk developing it. By 2020, 14 million older adults ...

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Medscape with a nice article on the divergent malpractice views by the candidates:

Skyrocketing malpractice premiums have forced physicians to perform additional tests and procedures they might not need to, driving up federal costs by $28 billion a year, Bush told audiences attending debates in Tempe, Arizona, on Oct. 13 and in St. Louis, Missouri, on Oct. 8. Enacting tort reform with a $250,000 limit on payment for noneconomic damages ...

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Music and medicine

It is thought that a connection between music and medicine exists - as evidenced by the prevalence of medical community orchestras. AMNews highlights the VA-National Medical Musical Group, while during residency, I used to play in the Longwood Symphony Orchestra.

The root of the problem

The NEJM gives the most accurate assessment on why health-care costs are increasing:

Over the long term, new medical technology has been the dominant driver of increases in health care costs and insurance premiums. "New technology" includes not only new diagnostic procedures and treatments that are more costly than older ones, but also some that cost less per unit but are more effective or cause less discomfort to patients ...

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Bottom line

Amidst all the flash of the fad diets, comes a study that reminds us the key to losing weight: portion control.

Before the debate

As the final debate approaches, the focus on health care intensifies.

Bush is attacking Kerry's health care proposals, while the Washington Post calls Bush's ads not entirely accurate. The USA Today writes in an editorial that both candidates fail to grasp the crisis of the health care system.

Finally, Medpundit plans to liveblog the debate tonight.

Outsourcing radiology

The Public Health Press writes about the increasing practice of outsourcing radiology services to overseas physicians, otherwise known as "nighthawking".

Medrants links to a NY Times article on direct-to-consumer advertising in the wake of the Vioxx debacle, along with poignant commentary.

Grand rounds #3

It is my pleasure to host the third edition of Grand Rounds, a weekly best of the medical weblogs. The blog format provides a unique and powerful opportunity to bring medicine, "behind-the-scenes", to light.

This edition features a diverse collection of voices - ranging from physician commentary on breaking medical news to personal stories from nurses, EMTs, and medical house staff. I invite you to browse and read the ...

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Rest in peace, Superman

As has been reported, Christopher Reeve passed away yesterday of complications from pressure sores:

Reeve went into cardiac arrest Saturday while at his home in Pound Ridge, New York, then fell into a coma and died Sunday at a hospital surrounded by his family. . .

. . . In the last week, Reeve had developed a serious systemic infection from a pressure wound, a common complication for people ...

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Medicine and politics

A slew of health-care headlines today in advance of the upcoming election.

The NY Times writes about the factors hindering the new Medicare law.

The San Francisco Chronicle and the Boston Globe comparing the candidates' health-care positions.

The Washington Post supports Kerry's approach.

Smokers need not apply

More companies are discriminating against smokers, citing increased health care costs:

Smokers cost employers an average of $753 per year more in medical costs than nonsmokers, and miss an average of two more workdays a year than nonsmoking colleagues, the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department's literature states.
Another reason why smoking harms more than your health.

Blame

"Don't blame the doctor" for rising health costs, writes a pulmonologist in the Washington Post.

Nitty gritty detail

Graham posts an illustration for the drug mechanism of Viagra from a pharmacology text. Priceless.

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