The recently instituted 30-hour-shift work restrictions placed on medical residents have created a need for "dayfloat" services to safeguard potentially unsafe handoffs in patient care and help residents adhere to duty hour limits. The past two weeks I’ve been the dayfloat resident for the cardiology inpatient service.  My job is to round with the post-call team, help them get out of the hospital on time, and then take care of their ...

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The science of nutrition is changing and not in the way you might expect. After years of "reductionist" thinking — where food has been viewed as the sum of its parts – a call to treat food as food has been sounded. No more poring over nutrition labels to calculate grams of fat or chasing down the latest go-to chemical – be it vitamin E, fish oil or omega-3. ...

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In the real world of medicine, "great saves" are rare. Most patients that you expect to die will die, and those who experience a cardiac arrest or code rarely survive. Mr. GR is the closest I’ve seen to an exception to both of these rules, and his story illustrates the best but also the worst of what our health care system achieves. I first met Mr. GR in the emergency room. As ...

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Why do my patients with cancer get better care than my patients in primary care? As the senior resident on my hospital’s inpatient leukemia service recently, this question troubled and intrigued me daily. Despite the sheer complexity of treating leukemia (administration of chemotherapy, bone marrow biopsies, stem cell transplantation), the resources required (transplantation routinely costs $1 million), and the severity of the illness ...

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At the end of a busy afternoon, Mrs. MJ was exactly the kind of case I needed. Two of my patients had come in late but needed to be seen and another was acutely short of breath and refusing to be admitted to the hospital. The chaos had put me almost an hour behind schedule, and I still had to return to the wards to round on my cancer patients. Fortunately ...

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On my drive in to work this past week I came across this: A bus-side advertisement for a local hospital (sadly, not mine) claiming that it was “home to the city’s best transplant outcomes.” Normally I drive right by these moving billboards without paying much attention. But this time I immediately got excited, whipped out my cell phone and snapped ...

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"You know, what Mr. HD really needs is for his mom or somebody to chain herself to him …" [the ICU team laughs] … "But seriously, he needs to be watched over, he needs to be talked to. He needs someone to give him his medications, someone to take him to his appointments, someone to take care of him. With that somebody he can live for years to come. Without ...

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Cancer prevention is built around screening. In screening, the hope is to catch cancer at an earlier stage than it would be found otherwise and increase options for treatment and chances of cure. In some cases, screening prevents cancer — for example, when a precancerous polyp is removed from the colon during colonoscopy — but generally it is aimed at early detection. What if instead we could prevent cancer from developing ...

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“You know, what Mr. HD really needs is for his mom or somebody to chain herself to him…” [the ICU team laughs] … "But seriously, he needs to be watched over, he needs to be talked to. He needs someone to give him his medications, someone to take him to his appointments, someone to take care of him. With that somebody he can live for years to come. Without that somebody ...

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In case you missed it, salt is the new fat. It seems that everybody from the FDA to Steven Colbert of the Colbert Report has set their sights on limiting our consumption of salt. In the past week, I’ve seen dozens of articles from the blogosphere to the front page of USA Today and a recent edition of Time on reducing our alarming levels of salt consumption. Many of us are aware ...

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