I visit him in the ICU day in and day out. It's the man with the fedora. I see him every day because he is not going anywhere. The metastatic cancer has ravaged his colon, bones, liver, and lungs. His oncologist is willing to try more chemo — but not now — maybe someday “when he is stronger.” The man has already failed several other regimens. The oncologist hasn’t seen ...

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A meme forwarded to me last year showed a chimp with the caption: “Monkey trained to dispense Z-Paks at urgent care.” As one of the medical directors for a multi-office urgent care practice, one of the tasks is performing a chart review. One of the patterns we see too often is ubiquitous Z-Pak prescriptions for purported cough, sore throat, sinusitis and even an allergic rhinitis this last batch. Z-Paks are one ...

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I recently went to an infectious disease educational session sponsored by the Massachusetts Medical Society and the New England Journal of Medicine called "Epidemics Gone Viral." The focus was preparedness for the next epidemic, which may come from anywhere. John Brownstein talked about how its arrival will be monitored and reported using Twitter and artificial intelligence. With the meeting going viral with excitement as Bill Gates got ...

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Although my father did not discover penicillin, he helped do the research showing its effectiveness in curing infective endocarditis. As an internist, he then became enamored with the role antibiotics could play in treating infections. Growing up, my siblings and I can attest to his unbridled enthusiasm, as every time we contracted a cold, we would get a shot of the wonder mold in our butts. The fact that colds ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 28-year-old man is evaluated for a 2-month history of progressive lower-extremity edema, weight loss, and fatigue. Medical history is significant for recreational use of inhaled cocaine; he denies injection drug use. He has no other known medical issues and takes no medications. On physical examination, temperature is 37.2 °C ...

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Test your medicine knowledge with the MKSAP challenge, in partnership with the American College of Physicians. A 35-year-old woman is evaluated for intermittent fever, sweats, fatigue, and dull midchest pain of 2 weeks' duration. Medical history is significant for liver transplantation 6 months ago for primary biliary cirrhosis; she was seronegative for cytomegalovirus and Epstein-Barr virus, and her donor was positive for both. Results of ...

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recent article and accompanying commentary in the journal Pediatrics describe what we currently know about children who have died from influenza over the past decade or more. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has collected information about this since the 2003-2004 influenza season. In that first report, there were 153 deaths. Since then there have been at least 100 influenza deaths annually among children. Several characteristics have not changed. ...

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While I was reading an issue of New England Journal of Medicine, I came across an interesting perspective article. Usually, I skip these articles and focus on clinical studies, images in medicine and review articles that usually have higher yield information that I can apply to help care for my patients. However, Dr. Jerry Avorn's article, "The Psychology of Clinical Decision Making- Implications for Medication Use," ...

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Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is an acute infection of the lung parenchyma acquired outside of the hospital or less than 48 hours after hospital admission. CAP is classified into typical and atypical subtypes, differentiated by their presentation and causative pathogens. This illustration focuses on the classic features of typical CAP. The most common cause of typical CAP is Streptococcus pneumoniae. It is an encapsulated, gram-positive, ...

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I first experienced the impact of drug shortages in the U.S. in my first month of my residency training in emergency medicine. The most common drug used to sedate patients for intubation, etomidate, was on national shortage. I learned to use the second most common drug, Propofol, until it went on shortage too. We use it as the first line medication for sedation for painful procedures like re-aligning broken bones, ...

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