Physician

Emergency physicians and the choice of overtesting or lawsuits

Emergency physicians are in a dilemma.  Risk missing a diagnosis and be sued, or be criticized for overtesting.

Regular readers of this blog, along with many other physicians’, are familiar with the difficult choices facing doctors in the emergency department.

The Associated Press, continuing its excellent series on overtesting, discusses how lawsuit fears is a leading driver of unnecessary tests.

Consider chest pain, one of the most common presenting symptoms in the …

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Local control can be used to empower patients

by James Baker, MD

In public mental health care, “local control” is the mantra that describes the desire to assure that mental health policy is dictated by local communities rather than by state or federal government.

I hope that folks who insist upon this are mindful that power-hoarding in the form of “local control” is no blessing in itself, except when it is used, in turn, to empower the people we serve.

I …

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Doctors should ask patients whether they text and drive

It’s time to ask patients whether they text and drive.

An important perspective piece from the New England Journal of Medicine urges doctors to include that question during preventive health exams.

The data surrounding texting and driving is grim:

Although there are many possible distractions for drivers, more than 275 million Americans own cell phones, and 81% of them talk on those phones while driving. The adverse consequences have reached epidemic proportions. …

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Healthcare providers still aren’t washing their hands enough

by Chris Emery

Nurses and other healthcare providers complied with hand hygiene guidelines less than half of the time before participating in medical procedures, results of a new study showed.

Compliance was better after procedures, with 72% following guidelines after procedures compared with 41.7% before procedures, according to a report published in the May issue of Applied Nursing Research.

Overall compliance with hand hygiene guidelines was just 34.3%.

“It is important to note that …

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Why a doctor chose OB over family practice

by RH+, MD

More than anything in life I wanted to be a family practitioner (FP).

Going into medical school there was little doubt in my mind that this was my chosen path. I chose a school that had a significant focus on primary care and was president of the Family Practice Club my second year. I had shadowed several FPs and truly enjoyed the continuity of care that went into FP.

When …

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Don’t let a doctor make you feel uncomfortable

by Diana E. Lee

One member of my health care team is a migraine specialist in another state. Since we don’t have many opportunities to work together in person, we generally try to pack a lot into my periodic two-day visits.

Last time I was there I had an experience that has left me feeling guilty all these months later.

My doctor, who I respect and admire greatly, asked if I was interested …

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