This eating contest season, there was only one death this year, as far as I can determine. A 41-year-old California man died in August while participating in a taco eating contest at a minor league baseball game. The coroner said he choked to death. In case you were wondering, the Associated Press thoughtfully stated: “It was not immediately known how many tacos the ...

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What About Recovery” is a provocative essay by Yale professor Lenore Buckley, MD, in JAMA. She writes in detail about the death of her 68-year-old brother in a hospital. She felt his doctors did not do enough to help him recover because his nutritional and physical therapy needs were not met. However, there’s more to it. She calls out the system existing in every hospital I’m aware of writing, ...

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Google that phrase, and you will come up with lots of hits. The following is a partial list of things that have been found to have more germs than a toilet seat: Kitchen cutting boards, sponges and sinks, refrigerators, spatulas, pet food bowls, clean laundry, smartphones, electronic tablets, computer keyboards, carpets, faucet handles, handbags, can openers, ice served in restaurants, menus, reusable shopping bags, TV remotes, ...

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In August 2014, a 13-year-old boy with Type 1 diabetes died after being treated by self-described “master herbalist” Tim Morrow who was tried for child abuse resulting in death and practicing medicine without a license. He had told the boy’s mother to stop administering insulin and instead prescribed herbs which he sold. According to one report, Morrow told the parents that insulin was poison, and if they took ...

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This notice appeared on a general surgery news website in early February. I don’t know who has been long anticipating this, but I’m pretty sure it’s not people on medical Twitter. My informal, nonscientific Twitter poll garnered 707 votes with 87 percent of those responding saying they would not allow their residents to participate in a reality television show. Many of those who ...

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By now, I’m sure most of you probably have heard about the Cleveland Clinic first-year resident who was fired last September when it became known that in 2012 she had tweeted she would “purposely give all the yahood [Jews] the wrong meds …” The website Canary Mission documented numerous tweets expressing similar thoughts. She has apologized but will likely have great difficulty finding another job as a physician. This ...

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A New Mexico woman, suffering from Dercum’s disease (adiposis dolorosa) which causes painful fatty tumors, is suing a Santa Fe hospital and an emergency physician claiming she was the victim of two negligent acts in 2016. One, according to the Albuquerque Journal, she told hospital personnel she was allergic to Dilaudid but went into cardiac arrest after receiving an injection of the drug. Two, despite the presence of a lawfully ...

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A number of media outlets recently featured a story about a Florida general surgeon who removed a normal kidney from a woman who was undergoing spine surgery. How could this have occurred? The 51-year-old patient who had been injured in a car crash was scheduled for an anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF) of the fifth lumbar to the first sacral vertebra. The general surgeon’s role was to provide ...

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Everything is being rated these days. But who is rating the ratings? As a public service, I have been blogging about the shortcomings of various rating systems since 2010. Two recent papers on this topic are worthy of review. In a randomized controlled study, investigators from the University Hospital of Münster, Germany found that medical students who were provided cookies during academic course sessions rated the experience significantly higher than ...

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Here are a few thoughts about the latest chapter in the never-ending debate about antibiotics vs. surgery for the treatment of uncomplicated appendicitis. You will recall the randomized controlled trial from Finland published in 2015 that found a 27% rate of failure of antibiotics within the first year. Now that the patients have now been followed for five years, 100 (39%) of the 246 patients treated with antibiotics have experienced persistent ...

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