croppedvscan2_610x451 I first picked up an ultrasound transducer 17 months ago, at an emergency medicine ultrasound course at Harvard University. I had just barely heard about using ultrasound as a clinical tool and was vaguely interested. The course was 3 days long and cost a little under $700 and changed my life forever and made me a better doctor. Emergency physicians have embraced the ...

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I know what I want in healthcare. I want it to be efficient, effective, thoughtful and inexpensive. I want it to create healthy people who don't need very much health care. I want it to involve elegant solutions to problems that take less time, money and effort. I want it to be so much easier and less expensive that taking care of all of our people uses even less resources ...

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shutterstock_124682011 The use of ultrasound has had a large impact on health care in resource poor countries. This article details some of the research that has been done overseas to look at the impact on bedside ultrasound by caregivers to deliver more appropriate care for injured and ill patients in Africa, Asia and Mexico. Using an ultrasound to determine how dehydrated a child ...

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calcium An article from Sweden was recently published showing that in a very large group of women, over 60,000 of them, followed for 19 years as part of an also very interesting study of the effectiveness of mammograms, women who get more calcium, in their diet or as supplements, had a higher risk of dying of anything, but especially of heart attacks. It is ...

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First a disclaimer: People often receive compassionate, considerate and effective care at hospitals. They have countless interactions which impart the miracle of human caring and enrich their lives. It is also institutionally prevalent to have haphazard care with poor communication, near misses and avoidable misery. I have been working at a university hospital emergency room as part of a mini-fellowship in bedside ultrasound.  It is the first time I have spent ...

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Hospitals are very focused on avoiding harming patients lately. They have been moving in that direction for a long time, but with health care reform legislation, payments are on the line, which makes something that was a very good idea into an imperative. In the year 2000, the Institute of Medicine, a non-profit organization that monitors various aspects of medical care, reported that 44,000-98,000 people died each year due to medical ...

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During the last year I have been paying particular attention to lesser known and under appreciated miracles in medicine. It is a mystery why miracles of any sort would be under appreciated, but it is so very human to ignore things in plain sight which disrupt our deeply held belief systems or even are simply not what we are looking for. For those readers who don't believe that they could actually ignore something ...

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shutterstock_125966744 Colorado and Washington state have legalized the recreational use of marijuana. I thought this would take longer to legislate, especially with the recent backlash from the federal government about medical marijuana. Eighteen states (including California, Alaska, Vermont and Oregon) allow marijuana to be used for medical reasons, but have restrictions on which conditions can be treated with it, which don't necessarily correlate ...

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Locum tenens (literally "place holder") is professional work done to fill in where help is needed. It is what I have primarily been doing for the last year, and has been an interesting ride. When I decided to leave my practice related to losing a couple of partners and wanting to update my knowledge base and re-evaluate my career, I decided to do locum tenens work. I had always thought that ...

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The bacteria that live in our healthy guts are a garden of cooperating and competing species that help to determine our intestinal health. When we take antibiotics, we kill countless bystander bacteria in our guts and sometimes develop changes in our digestion which can be severe. Clostridium difficile infection is one of these conditions, a superinfection with a bacterium which is pretty resistant to antibiotics and causes infection of the ...

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shutterstock_17897284 Today I've been feeling stupid. My job absolutely requires critical, creative thinking and the ability to focus well, which was really hard today. But I don't think I'm actually stupid. I think it has something to do with the task at hand. So this is how today went. I think it kind of explains the stupid feeling. My morning shift started at 7:30am in ...

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Recently, an article was published in the New England Journal of Medicine questioning the utility of mammogram screening for prevention of death from breast cancer. The authors were research professor Archie Bleyer MD at Oregon Health and Sciences University in Portland, an oncologist who was chief of pediatrics at MD Anderson Cancer Center and H. Gilbert Welch MD, MPH, a professor at ...

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Internal medicine is the branch of medicine that deals with diseases of the internal organs in adults. It also involves dermatology, minor surgical procedures, general psychiatry and preventive care of well people. It is an excellent field, full of opportunities to think and feel and connect with people, mysteries to be solved and an endless variety of stuff to be learned. ...

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American Medical News featured an article with the disturbing title, "Massive health job losses expected if Medicare sequester prevails." I wasn't entirely sure what a "sequester" was, since I thought it was a verb. Sequestration, I thought, was the noun. (I hear a loud knock. It must be the grammar police.) The story, as I understand it, is that when our government decided to pull together and raise the debt ceiling, ...

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Traditionally the patient is supposed to come to the doctor to get some sort of help with a problem. That's what people pay us for, I guess. Patients bring us their various miseries, we help them figure out what they mean and what causes them and prescribe potions or recommend they do something that will help make them better, if there is such a thing. But in the normal give ...

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During an internal medicine residency, newly hatched doctors are responsible for some of the sickest patients in their teaching hospitals. This is because those patients often don't have private doctors to attend them and are poor and sometimes self abusive, with the complex problems that go with smoking, drug and alcohol abuse and lack of regular medical care. These patients often present with their diseases late in game, when much ...

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It is a very odd thing that most doctors, especially ones who really love what they do, provide advice and sometimes treatment to family members and good friends. It is also held to be true that this is a bad practice. How do we reconcile this? In 1847 the AMA published its first "code of medical ethics" which covered many subjects and, though short, is dense and diatribe-like. It seemed to ...

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It isn't that it was a bad day, because it wasn't really. There was too much work, yes, and I ended up staying late, but it was mostly made of good interactions and I felt generally competent. So, no, it wasn't just a bad day. Still, this evening I feel like the best possible future would be one in which there was no technological medical care, where we just worked ...

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The Annals of Internal Medicine occasionally reviews the articles and studies of note in a particular field of internal medicine for those of us who don't read all of the specialty journals. Recently, there was an update in pulmonary and critical care medicine, the internal medicine specialty that is most intimately involved with caring for the very ill and those people who are at the ends of their lives. ...

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It is entirely clear that too few medical graduates go into primary care. Although the number of family physicians is increasing modestly, there are very few internal medicine residents becoming primary care doctors. This year there will be only about 200 new internal medicine doctors entering the workforce from training programs, which will not even begin to cover the attrition of older and more efficient physicians, and due to improvements ...

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