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Latest Posts

Confronting The “Empty Cradles” Of Infant Mortality

empty_cradles_logo.jpgI have gushed praise for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for a long time. (Disclosure: I cut my teeth in journalism as a Journal Company employee way back in 1973. No ties since 1976.) As a mid-market newspaper facing all of the same hurdles as other newspapers, it consistently demonstrates tenacity and creativity in tackling vital healthcare issues in this country. The latest: A project called “Empty Cradles: Confronting Our Infant Mortality Crisis.”

While there is a great health/medicine/science team in place at the Journal Sentinel, I believe that much of the credit goes to the top — to editor Marty Kaiser, who clearly understands that healthcare issues are among the most important his paper can report on in serving public needs. Kaiser writes:

“The Journal Sentinel today takes on an issue we have too long ignored — the death of children before their first birthday. Infant mortality is a crisis not just of public health, but of ethics and morality. The rate at which infants die in our city is unacceptable. In 2011 we will examine the problem and point to solutions.”

The project is off to a great start, taking a global picture and focusing it locally. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Gary Schwitzer's HealthNewsReview Blog*

Protecting Your Kid’s Brain

Neuropsychologist Kim Gorgens spoke at the last TEDxDU about issues surrounding children’s safety and what parents can do to prevent concussions — and it’s probably not to wrap the little ones in bubble tape. Watch for yourself:

(Hat Tip: Scope)

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Water Safety: A Drowning Child Doesn’t Scream

This summer I learned a couple of very important lessons. Drowning kids don’t scream. Mothers have a sixth sense even when it’s not their own child.

On a beautiful warm sunny day in San Diego, my family and our good friends were enjoying a well-deserved vacation. My five-year-old daughter was splashing around with her friends as their father and I observed them from the pool. Though he had to watch three kids, one was already on a swim team and the two younger children had followed their big sister in swim class. He also had some help. His wife was watching the kids from her chair.  The scene was certainly picturesque, serene, and unassuming. Children playing happily in the pool. Adults relaxing and talking. It was a great day to be away from home and work.

Who would realize that nearby a little boy would be in serious trouble? Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Saving Money and Surviving the Healthcare Crisis*

Medical Devices Injure 70,000 Kids Each Year

FDA researchers have published a study in Pediatrics that analyzed patient records from child and teen ER visits in 2004 and 2005. The investigators are reporting that 70,000 kids each year go to the ER because of issues caused by medical devices.

About a quarter of the injuries were from contact lenses, while the other major contributors were needles, wheelchairs, braces, and obstetric exam tools. The study also looked at the devices most likely to cause hospitalization, and they were found to be mostly invasive devices like ostomy appliances and implanted defibrillators. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

“Baby On Board” A Motorcycle?

Sidecar babyseatI’m at work the other day when I saw this great-looking motorcycle with a sidecar parked on the street. It looked like something out of one of those old James Bond movies. I thought it was pretty cool.

Upon closer inspection, Mrs. Happy noticed the sidecar was equipped with a babyseat inside. I don’t know about that. What do you think? Should a baby be carted around the city streets and countryside in the sidecar of a motorcycle while Mom and Pop bond with Mother Nature?

*This blog post was originally published at The Happy Hospitalist*

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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