Are MRI results accurate?

Most physicians and patients think that the MRI scan is one of the more sensitive and comprehensive diagnostic tests.

However, there is significant variability in reading and performing the scans, which makes having it done at a reputable institution more imperative:

Magnetic resonance machines, though, vary enormously, and not just in the strength of their magnets. Even more important, radiologists say, is the quality of the imaging …

Read more…

Bernie Mac, pneumonia, and sarcoidosis

Comedian Bernie Mac dies at age 50 from pneumonia. Sad news.

He had been recently hospitalized, and as recently as two days ago, it was reported he was stable and responding well to treatment. What happened?

There is very little medical information to go on. It was known that he had …

Read more…

My take: Tim Russert

WSJ Health Blog: “Russert’s doctor Michael Newman said the tough-questioning but congenial host of NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ had been under treatment for asymptomatic coronary disease, but that it was under control with medication. He was carrying excess weight, Newman observed, but he got regular exercise and he performed well on an exercise stress test in April.”

GruntDoc: “I therefore propose a new sign in …

Read more…

My take: What makes a good medical blog?

Maria writes: “I’d like your take on what you think constitutes a ‘good’ medblog . . . I am continually surprised with what people like about medblogs. Some people like brief links, some people like critical discussions, some people like stories.

This ultimately all boils down to opinion, but I’d like to know what traits you like in medblogs.

Can you start by opining that you strongly dislike …

Read more…

Abortion by massage

Disturbing:

The petite 44-year old, who declined to give her last name, paid 150 pesos ($3) for a hilot, or traditional midwife like Minda, to crush her three-month old fetus using rough strokes and pincer-like grips on her belly.

The procedure, which can also involve pounding the lower abdomen to trigger a miscarriage, is called a massage.

(via Healthbolt)

What killed Beethoven?

Lead poisoning is the common answer. However, new analysis (found in the Beethoven Journal – which I never knew existed) sheds new light:

Christian Reiter has conducted months of painstaking work applying CSI-like methods to strands of Beethoven’s hair.

He says his analysis, published last week in the Beethoven Journal, found that in the final months of the composer’s life, lead concentrations in his body spiked …

Read more…

"Take two tablets twice daily"

What does that mean to you? More patients than you think are confused by drug labels:

Did that mean a total of two, or a total of four? A third of patients who were deemed literate got confused. A more clear instruction would be: “Take two tablets in the morning and two tablets at night.”

Cafepharma.com

The NY Times with a profile. Unsurprisingly, they lack corporate support:

Not surprisingly, Cafepharma lacks corporate fans.

Pfizer, the subject of the site’s most popular bulletin board, declined repeated requests to discuss Cafepharma. Shreya Prudlo, a spokeswoman, said that Pfizer monitored every “communication channel” that reached its constituency, and that each needed to be “viewed based on their accuracy and integrity.”

Medtronic, which has the busiest Cafepharma …

Read more…

Death by Bengay

Overuse of muscle cream lead to this teen’s death:

A medical examiner blamed a 17-year-old track star’s death on the use of too much muscle cream, the kind used to soothe aching legs after exercise.

Arielle Newman, a cross-country runner at Notre Dame Academy on Staten Island, died after her body absorbed high levels of methyl salicylate, an anti-inflammatory found in sports creams such as Bengay and Icy Hot, …

Read more…

The demise of Flea, who live-blogged his medical malpractice trial

Stunning news. The Boston Globe on Flea, his trial and how his blogging ultimately led from a possible victory to settlement:

As Ivy League-educated pediatrician Robert P. Lindeman sat on the stand in Suffolk Superior Court this month, defending himself in a malpractice suit involving the death of a 12-year-old patient, the opposing counsel startled him with a question.

Was Lindeman Flea?

Flea, jurors in the case …

Read more…

Physicians: "We are the new factory workers"

This article was from six years ago:

Lots of patients fork over nothing but a co-pay, the mandatory cash outlay that can be as low as $10, or even $2. “What do you value a physician at if you pay $2?” asks Stracher, who says that sometimes, for that amount, patients blithely skip even bringing along money. For two bucks, patients sometimes don’t show up. Or they get the idea …

Read more…

Defensive medicine

What is defensive medicine?

Defensive medicine is the deviation from sound medical practice to avoid the threat of malpractice litigation.

According to a 2005 study in JAMA, over 90 percent of physicians surveyed admitted to practicing defensive medicine. This can range from “positive” defensive medicine, like ordering unnecessary tests, referring to consultants, or performing unneeded procedures; to “negative” defensive medicine, like avoiding high-risk patients or procedures.

Read more…

Do nurses complain too much?

Scalpel likens nurse complaints to how lawyers consider lawsuits:

Nevertheless, it seems to me that many nurses will complain about each other and about physicians at every opportunity. They will fire off e-mails to their bosses, my bosses, or even the CEO of the hospital about any disagreement or perceived mistreatment, whether or not it affects patient care. Everyone has to walk on eggshells or we will end up …

Read more…

Epidural overdose: An anesthesiologist responds

Tragic event, but as usual, news reports raises more questions than answers:

The drugs used in labor epidurals are usually a dilute local anesthetic and a small amount of narcotic. Using both types of drugs in combination allows lower concentrations of each individual drug to be used, hence improving the margin of safety for each. In labor epidurals, our goal is relieve pain without causing significant weakness. That is why …

Read more…

Dr. Anna Pou on 60 Minutes

The Attorney General sounds pretty ignorant to me during the piece. Dr. Pou responds:

Asked if she murdered those patients, as the attorney general alleges, she says, “No, I did not murder those patients. Mr. Safer, I’ve spent my entire life taking care of patients. I have no history of doing anything other than good for my patients. I do the best of my ability. Why would I …

Read more…

A former colleague comments on Dr. Anna Pou

Due to intense interest in the Anna Pou story, the following post will be republished to stay current.

Original post date: 7/19/2006

Waking Up Costs offers his support:

I just learned that a former colleague and friend has been charged with second degree murder in the death of four patients at a New Orleans hospital after Katrina. I worked with Dr. Anna Pou in the operating …

Read more…

The hypertension conspiracy

Dr. Crippen thinks Big Pharma is to blame:

Dr Crippen’Â’s old fashioned” treatment for blood pressure costs a few pence a month, and the drugs he uses (such as beta-blockers and diuretics) have been around for years. They have a proven safety record. They are not going to produce any surprises. The only problem is that they do not offer any profit to the big drug companies.

479
pages