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Book Review: “Steeped In Blood: The Life And Times Of A Forensic Scientist”

This post is a bit of a diversion from my usual posts, but I think it may still be worthwhile. You see, I want to promote a book.

I’ve just read the book, “Steeped in Blood: The Life and Times of a Forensic Scientist“ by David Klatzow. What a stunning book. It really gives insight into the South Africa of old and possibly what South Africa of future may end up being like. I suggest that everyone get ahold of it and read it.

However, David, I do feel I must challenge you on one point. Towards the end of your book, you say one of your surgeon friends told you a story of one of our Cuban import surgeons who tried to do a tonsillectomy through the neck rather than through the mouth, the normal way of doing it. I know this story and have heard it often myself in the corridors in Pretoria. Unfortunately it’s urban legend and nothing more.

I have worked with the Cubans, and they aren’t too shabby. Don’t get me wrong — they aren’t a scratch on a South African specialist (although the standards are dropping as you rightly point out, and quite soon they may be far better than homegrown specialists), but the point is that they wouldn’t do something so bizarrely stupid. I even suspect I know who your surgeon friend might be, especially if he presently finds himself in Pretoria rather than Johannesburg, where you no doubt got to know him.

Anyway, still an absolutely brilliant read for anyone who wants to get a peek into the workings of the apartheid government of old. Go and buy it now.

*This blog post was originally published at other things amanzi*

Grand Rounds From The Shores Of South Africa

It’s not just the soccer world cup that’s on South African shores, but the great Grand Rounds (something that some would say is far more important than the world cup — okay, only one guy would actually say that, and he’s in a psychiatric institution in Outer Mongolia) is also presently hosted in South Africa! Proudly South African!

Time to see what the bloggers have dished up for us this week. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at other things amanzi*

Heard Around The MedBlogosphere 4.12.09

Some fascinating posts from our blogging colleagues this week…

1. First up, Better Health’s favorite South African surgeon, Bongi, describes how his government is planning to credential traditional healers as physicians. He offers a sample of their history and physical forms:

sangoma20001

Check out the comments section of this blog post for more commentary. Apparently “evidence-based medicine” is not honored in the US or in South Africa.

2. Happy, the cantankerous hospitalist, discusses the cold, hard facts about the costs of healthcare, and suggests that we should ration care based on personal lifestyle decisions. In other words, smokers who get lung cancer should not be eligible for Medicare. Check out the comments section for one very spicy conversation.

3. Anesthesiologist Joe, from the Book of Joe, always has interesting tidbits on his blog. My favorite three of the week: 1) A Silicon Valley baby onesie, 2) A Chanel bag made of beef jerky, and 3) a black bear sleeping bag. Check them out! (Here’s a sneak preview of the bear:)

bearbag

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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