Hiatal hernia in women can present with heartburn

by David Edelman, MD

Heartburn and acid reflux disease are common problems affecting women of all ages. The problem develops when acid in the stomach backs up into the esophagus. There is a muscle known as the diaphragm that separates the chest from the abdominal cavity. When you eat or drink, the food goes from the mouth down the esophagus, through the diaphragm and into the stomach. …

Read more…

A pre-medical student writes to her gross anatomy cadaver

A letter from a pre-medical student honoring her gross anatomy cadaver.

Letter to the other side
by Hana Low

Thank you for donating your body to science and medical education. It’s so generous to give yourself to those you will never meet. I hope you’re having a good time, up there or wherever you are.

Working with your body has made me acutely conscious of the dangers in my everyday environment. I have to …

Read more…

Family comes first for some who have finished residency

by Dr. Whoo, MD

I have met several women who have completed residency and maybe even practiced beyond that, but decide to quit and stay at home with kids. I wonder – why would a woman who has gone through all of that training just quit? It would seem like the hard part is behind them and I am perplexed by their decision but, of course, I …

Read more…

Avoiding the ER and arranging a direct admit is not easy

Are emergency departments solely responsible for the bulk of unnecessary tests?

Most would like to believe so, but emergency physician Edwin Leap says that’s not the case.

He cites an instance involving a primary care doctor and hospitalist:

Local physician, who does not admit to the hospital, sees patient in the office. Patient has uncontrolled hypertension and is having some chest pain and shortness of breath. Local physician contacts hospitalist. …

Read more…

Internal medicine is dead, will concierge physicians thrive?

by Steven Knope, MD

For the last several years, writers in the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association have authored doomsday editorials about the prognosis of primary care medicine. There has been much discussion about the fact that internists and family practitioners cannot keep pace with rising overheads and falling reimbursement under the traditional third-party payment system.

Paraphrasing a recent …

Read more…

Primary care is burdened by excessive paperwork

by Charles R. D’Agostino, MD

We’ve all seen the headlines –- “Primary Care Physicians Becoming a Scarce Breed”, “Wait Times for Appointments Increasing”, “Primary Care in Crisis” –- and have heard the pundits pontificating on the deteriorating state of primary care.

But rarely do we hear what’s happening from physicians on the front lines, those actually seeing patients. Consequently, with direct access to the primary care trenches, replete with an overworked …

Read more…

Alternative medicine isn’t taught to doctors in medical school

by Crystal Phend

Physicians don’t know much more about complementary and alternative medicine than their patients do, according to a new survey.

Most healthcare professionals who answered an online survey of Drug and Therapeutic Bulletin subscribers said their profession was just as poorly informed about herbal medicines (75.5%) as the general public (86.3%).

And almost half of respondents rated their own knowledge about herbal medicines as “quite” or “very” poor (36.2% and 10.4%, …

Read more…

Patient satisfaction scores improve when doctors sit

Patient satisfaction, as I wrote previously, is being increasingly focused upon.

Doctors are often pressed for time, and appear rushed — which can potentially lead to unhappy patients.

I saw this small study showing that the simple act of sitting down while talking to patients can have a profound effect. Many doctors I know already do this, but now there’s some data to support sitting.

According to the study, performed at …

Read more…

President Obama should have had colonoscopy without sedation

by Michael Kirsch, MD

Does anyone out there know why President Obama underwent a virtual  ‘colonscopy’ (VC) instead of a conventional colonoscopy earlier this year?

In my gastroenterology practice, we do not offer colon cancer screening to 48-year-old individuals, unless special risk factors are present. Of course, maintaining the president’s health is in the national interest, so I understand why professional screening guidelines might not apply to him. For …

Read more…

Medicine residency survival tips during pregnancy

by Dr. Whoo, MD

Q. I just found out last week that I’ll be a new mom in November, making me an official mother in medicine! I’ve been reading the blog for a while, because I love hearing what all of you have to say about your lives. Here’s my question: What tips would you give for surviving residency while pregnant, especially 30-hour calls (without caffeine)?

— From a future mom and …

Read more…

Primary care is the loss leader of medicine

Medicare’s sustainable growth rate, or SGR, has been the bane of doctors for years now.

To encapsulate, this is the reason for Medicare’s annual threat to cut doctors’ fees by 20% or more, only to be staved off at the last minute.

Emergency physician Shadowfax has a nice take on it, explaining why it has devastated primary care:

Primary care has many fixed expenses in addition to those we bear: they pay …

Read more…

480
pages