Have you ever wondered about the behavior of surgical residents on Facebook? I have. A study from the Journal of Surgical Education posted online in June 2014 looked at the issue. The paper, "An Assessment of Unprofessional Behavior among Surgical Residents on Facebook: A Warning of the Dangers of Social Media," identified 996 surgical residents from 57 surgical residency programs in the Midwest and found that 319 (32 percent) had Facebook profiles. Most ...

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A while ago, I wrote about a medical student whose school tried to dismiss him just prior to graduation for unprofessional behavior. A judge ruled that the school could not do so because it had tolerated some similar behavior earlier in his medical school career and had not considered it important enough to mention in his letters of recommendation. In that post, I said, "'Professionalism' is difficult to define, especially when trying to ...

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shutterstock_217177708 Radiologists discussing test results with patients, a subject that has been lurking under the radar for a while, recently came to light because of an article in the New York Times. The idea is that patient anxiety while waiting to find out a test result could be alleviated by an immediate discussion with a radiologist. That would be very nice, but there are ...

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A new study from surgeons at UCLA found that laparoscopic cholecystectomies done at night for acute cholecystitis have a significantly higher rate of conversion to open than those done during daylight hours. Nighttime cholecystectomies were converted 11 percent of the time vs. only 6 percent for daytime operations, p = 0.008, but there was no difference in the rates of complications or hospital lengths of stay. The study, published online in the ...

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In September, Doximity, a closed online community of over 300,000 physicians, released its ratings of residency programs in nearly every specialty. Many, including me, took issue with the methodology. Emergency medicine societies met with Doximity's co-founder over the issue and echoed some of the comments I had made about the lack of objectivity and emphasis on reputation. I wonder if it is even possible to develop a set of valid ...

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After listening to a lecture, third-year students at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine were surveyed about distractions by electronic devices and given a 12-question quiz. Although 65% of the students admitted to having been distracted by emails, Facebook, and/or texting during the lecture, distracted students had an average score of 9.85 correct compared to 10.444 students who said they weren't distracted. The difference was not significant, p = 0.652. In ...

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In August, I posted this: "A paper of mine was published. Did anyone read it?" A recent comment on it raised an interesting point. Dr. Christian Sinclair at Pallimed said the site had received almost 2 million views since 2005. He then made the following calculation: Two million views with an average of 1:30 minutes on a page = 3 million minutes = 50,000 hours = 2,083 days = 5.7 years ...

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Recently, my 16-month-old grandson was at a backyard barbecue with his parents. He had been eating some potato chips when he suddenly stopped breathing and turned blue. Having had CPR training, my son started rescue breathing and suspecting aspiration, performed toddler airway clearance maneuvers. No obstruction was found. The child slowly awakened but was very drowsy. Because of the concern for aspiration, an ambulance was called and the child was taken to ...

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shutterstock_126678482 Recently, I wondered why Medicare could not control its costs using the investigative power of the federal government instead of releasing physician payment data and relying on journalists to do the work. Two stories that appeared within days of each other raise a similar question about the private insurance industry's methods. An article in Modern Healthcare described the impending closure of ...

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The astronauts are halfway to Mars when suddenly one of them develops abdominal pain and requires surgery. What will they do? According to NASA, a miniature robot capable of assisting in surgery has been developed, tested in pigs, and is soon to be trialed in a weightless environment. The robot, which weighs less than 1 pound, can be inserted into the abdomen via the umbilicus and controlled remotely. The press release from ...

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Risk-adjusted 30- to 90-day outcome data for selected types of operations done by specific surgeons and hospitals are now being publicly posted online by England's National Health Service. According to the site, "Any hospital or consultant [attending surgeon in the UK] identified as an outlier will be investigated and action taken to improve data quality and/or patient care." After cardiac surgery outcomes data were made public in New York, some interesting unexpected consequences were ...

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Contrary to what you may have heard, pain is not the fifth vital sign. It's not a sign at all. Vital signs are the following: heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, temperature. What do those four signs have in common? They can be measured. A sign is defined as something that can be measured. On the other hand, pain is subjective. It can be felt by a patient. Despite efforts to quantify it with numbers ...

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An orthopedist asked me if I could explain why a couple of papers of his did not generate any feedback. He wasn't even sure that anyone had read them. He enclosed PDFs for me. Not being an orthopedist, I cannot comment on their validity. But I think I can explain why the papers have not created much interest. Are you familiar with the term, "impact factor"?

A journal's impact factor is an ...

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Several months ago, a post called, "Everything's my fault: How a surgeon says I'm sorry," appeared here on KevinMD.com. It was written by a plastic surgeon who feels that no matter goes wrong with a patient, surgeons should never blame anyone else. She gave some examples such as the lab losing a specimen, a chest x-ray that was ordered and not done, a patient eating something when he was not to ...

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In case you haven't noticed, a hot new topic in education is "grit." In order to reduce the long-standing 20% attrition rate of surgical residents, some say we should select applicants who have more grit or conscientiousness. A recent paper in Surgery reported residents who dropped out of programs had decreased levels of grit as measured by a short-form survey. But due to unexpectedly low attrition rates in the surgical programs ...

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You may find this story hard to believe, but it's true. A 75-year-old non-smoking man with no serious medical problems and a relatively low-risk family history (father, a life-long smoker, died of a stroke at age 76) has been undergoing routine physical examinations by his primary care physician in Florida every 6 months for several years. The visits include a full battery of laboratory studies, nearly all of which have been completely ...

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The other day Atul Gawande tweeted the following:

I am not against checklists. When I was a surgical chairman, I implemented and used one in both the operating room and the ICU. They do not add costs and ...

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It is so nice to be right. To summarize what I wrote almost 4 years ago, based on my experience, patients and families will accept the theoretical risk of a future cancer if it means they'll get an accurate diagnosis. A recent study validates that opinion. MedPage Today reports that before receiving any recommendation for CT scanning, 742 parents of children who presented with head injuries ...

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Live tweeting from conferences has become very popular, but I'm not sure why. The biggest problem is this: Lucid communication of a point made by a speaker using more than 140 characters at a time is difficult to capture in a tweet. The tweets tend to be filled with obscure abbreviations and references to previous tweets that may seem quite clear to the tweeter but not the tweetee. Some also post ...

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3022534-inline-s-6-a-surgeons-review-of-google-glass-in-the-operating-room The Royal London Hospital and the Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry presented the first live-streamed surgical procedure in the UK. The operation was an extended right hemicolectomy with resection of a metastatic liver lesion. Here is what I thought about the event. The case started about 30 minutes late, which is similar to what would have happened in any ...

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