Oncology/Hematology

Root beer bonds a chemotherapy patient with his oncologist

by Krupali Tejura, MD

I am treating a patient for head and neck cancer — which can be one of the most harrowing therapies.

To receive chemotherapy and radiation concurrently can be pretty debilitating. Swallowing foods can be next to impossible, and the taste changes and saliva changes are brutal. It’s one of the harshest areas to treat … and I warn the patients beforehand: …

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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 …

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Radiologists and communicating mammogram results to patients and their doctors

by an anonymous radiologist

I recently read the article and comments on this link from this post, concerning radiologists, from Musings of a Dinosaur.

I was disturbed to discover the animosity with which this topic is covered. The tenor of the blog is that radiologists are greedy, self-serving and are out to erode the doctor-patient relationship. The suggestion that radiologists would schedule percutaneous breast biopsies for their financial enhancement is both …

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Steve Jobs received a new liver, and the ethics surrounding his transplant

Orac, a general surgeon who blogs at Respectful Insolence, writes the most comprehensive entry I’ve seen thus far on Apple’s Steve Jobs’ liver transplant.

For those interested in the medicine behind the transplant, go and read his post in its entirety. I’d like to highlight some of the potentially questionable ethics surrounding the case.

For one, there is the question why Mr. …

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Why do I need a rectal exam, and what can doctors find with the gloved finger?

Have you ever wondered why doctors have to perform a digital rectal exam?

Well, look no further, as primary care doctor Rob Lamberts gives us the answers discerning readers demand.

Simply by looking at the rectum, which by the way, indeed “takes some getting used to,” can lead to significant diagnostic findings. Furthermore, does tight sphincter tone matter? And should you be worried about the large hands …

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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 …

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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.

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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 …

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