My spry, 90-year-old patient decided she had a urinary tract infection two weeks ago. She had difficulty urinating and the constant urge to void with no fever, no chills, no back pain, no bloody urine. She was advised to come in for an appointment the same morning, but this didn’t suit her. The alternative choice was to see her urologist who made time available that same day. She decided this ...

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“Do not get caught” seems to be the real rule of the law in South Florida, where I live. I was trained to limit the use of controlled substances, narcotics, hypnotics and sedatives. Their use can affect consciousness, ability to drive a car and work.  More severe consequences include respiratory depression and overdose from too high of a dosage or mixing too many medications and over the counter items. The Joint Commission, ...

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My 74-year old obese, poorly controlled diabetic patient with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, coronary artery disease, asthma, obstructive sleep apnea has been difficult to motivate to improve his lifestyle and his health. He is bright, sweet and caring but just not very disciplined. At each office visit, we review his medications, review his dietary habits and go through the check list of check-ups for diabetic complications including regular ophthalmology exams ...

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One of the most challenging and difficult parts of my professional day is trying to determine if my patients are actually taking their as prescribed. I ask my patients to bring their medications to each visit in the original pill bottles, and we count pills. I ask them to bring their medication lists as well, and we go through the time-consuming practice of reviewing each medication against the prescribing date and ...

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As an internist and geriatrician, I deal with elderly patients all the time. We always end up talking about end-of-life issues: “Should I be resuscitated if my heart stops and I stop breathing?" “Do I want a feeding tube or gastrostomy tube if I stop eating and require nutrition?” “Should I be kept alive on machines and for how long if there is no reasonable hope of recovery?” “When should we refuse tests for ...

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A recent publication in a fine peer-reviewed medical journal of the SPRINT study proved that lowering our blood pressure to the old target of 120/80 or less led to fewer heart attacks, strokes, and kidney failure.  There was no question on what to do with younger people but to lower their blood pressure more aggressively to these levels. Debates arose in the medical community about the ability to lower it ...

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My 66-year-old professional athletic patient had a history of a scar tissue related small bowel obstruction seven years ago related to a previous appendectomy. He now had similar symptoms with cramping, lower abdominal pain, and some nausea. Since his office was next door to his longtime friend and gastroenterologist, he called over there. He was given an appointment with the junior partner since his buddy was out of town. Thirty years ...

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shutterstock_175968083 I care for a 65-year-old woman suffering from sarcoidosis affecting her lungs, her skin, her bones, her nerves, her blood chemistries, her kidneys, her colon and her mind. She has gone from an active spouse, mother, grandmother, tearing up the dance floors with her husband, to a home recluse calling friends to drive her to medical and care appointments while ambulating with ...

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shutterstock_31681267 On Monday March 30, 2015 our Greenway PrimeSuite electronic health record had a system-wide failure at the level of the Edgemed Computer service center in New York State. It meant that I was back to using pencil and paper to interview patients and record the answers and physical findings. With much trepidation, I began seeing patients with two sheets of white blank ...

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I was finishing tying my shoes as I got dressed to take my lovely wife out to dinner for our 41st wedding anniversary. It was 7:30 p.m. after a hectic day at work and we had a wonderful dinner planned at a local restaurant. The telephone rang with the caller ID identifying a call on my office work line. “Hello this is the emergency department, please hold on for Dr. S.” ...

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Once again government regulators have put in place well-meaning rules without anticipating the consequences. We all hate sitting around in the emergency department waiting to be seen and to be treated. On October 15, 2014 as part of the new Affordable Health Care Act and the patient satisfaction portion, hospital ERs will have about 180 minutes from the time you arrive and sign in to evaluate you , treat you ...

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Well over a year ago, I advised my 80-year-old patient and her children that due to progression of her Parkinson’s disease.  Because of her frail nature, she needed a higher level of assistance and care if she wished to remain in her home.  She was extremely unsteady walking and several courses of physical therapy had not improved the situation. The patient was feisty and would only allow help to come ...

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I recently attended the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine graduation for the class of 2013. It had special meaning for me since this was the last group of students at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine-Charles M. Schmidt Florida Atlantic University (FAU) joint venture to pass through my tutelage prior to the Boca Raton program becoming solely an FAU program. One of the graduates visited my office ...

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“J.T.” is 92 and clearly a soul who lives to the beat of a different drummer. She has no children and her closest relative is a niece who she despises. Despite this the niece oversees her care, sending in a full time aide and her personnel assistant to run the household. J.T. will not come to the office for a visit. If I call and make an appointment to see ...

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We are frequently reminded by the General Accounting Office and CMS that a great proportion of Medicare health costs are incurred in the last three months of a patient’s life. Health care policy experts have tried to reduce these costs by encouraging end of life planning.  Living wills, health care directives and the availability of hospice and palliative services will not put a dent in these costs because of human ...

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My elderly and infirm parents live 15 minutes south of my home in an assisted living facility.  They moved there after it became apparent that they could not manage their affairs in their own home, have some degree of independence and socialization with friends and receive the care and supervision they needed to stay out of the hospital.  Their cognitive impairment ...

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The state legislature in Florida decided it is legal and appropriate for pharmacists and pharmacies to begin administering vaccines against multiple diseases.  Their list of adult vaccines includes seasonal flu shots, Pneumovax (pneumonia vaccine) and Zostavax (vaccine to prevent shingles).  The rationale of the legislature is that access to doctors to receive these preventive vaccines is limited and difficult. By refusing to administer vaccines in their office because it is time ...

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As school bells ring out announcing a new school year and pigskins fly through the air announcing the arrival of a new football season, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) begins its annual influenza vaccine campaign.  “Flu” or influenza is a viral illness associated with fever, severe muscle aches, general malaise and respiratory symptoms.  Most healthy children and adults can run a fever for 5 – 7 days ...

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The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has requested that all individuals born between 1945 and 1965 be tested for the presence of the hepatitis C virus.   This is a clear cut change in their policy which had previously asked that only high risk patients be tested. Hepatitis C is a viral infection usually transmitted by blood to blood transmission.  High risk patients include intravenous drug users who share needles, ...

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Research radiologists at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston evaluated the accuracy and detail of imaging the colon (a virtual colonoscopy or colonography) with no laxatives as preparation and comparing it with traditional colonoscopy.  There are clear evidence based guidelines suggesting that all low-risk men and women have a screening for colon cancer with a colonoscopy at age 50.  If that study is normal they are directed to repeat it ...

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