Better Health: Smart Health Commentary Better Health (TM): smart health commentary

Latest Posts

Video: One Primary Care Doctor’s Journey

Doug Farrago is a family physician in Maine and the editor of the entertaining Placebo Journal. He uses his Placebo Journal media platform to show his audience what primary care is all about. In this video, “Doug Unplugged,” Dr. Farrago gives us a little taste of that journey. Hollywood, take notice.

*This blog post was originally published at*

The Case Of The Winkler County Whistleblowing Nurses

I can’t speak for anyone else who blogs here at Science-Based Medicine, but there’s one thing I like to emphasize to people who complain that we exist only to “bash ‘alternative’ medicine.” We don’t. We exist to champion medicine based on science against all manner of dubious practices. Part of that mandate involves understanding and accepting that science-based medicine (SBM) is not perfect. It is not some sort of panacea. Rather, it has many shortcomings and all too often does not live up to its promise.

Our argument is merely that, similar to Winston Churchill’s invocation of the famous saying that “democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried,” science-based medicine is the worst form of medicine except for all the others that have been tried before. (Look for someone to quote that sentence soon.) It’s not even close, either. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Science-Based Medicine*

New Books About Combat Medicine And Battle-Zone Care

Paradise GeneralWhen Americans think about wartime medicine, “MASH” reruns and the comic antics of Hot Lips Houlihan and Hawkeye Pierce are likely to come to mind. A decidedly more authentic view can be found in “Paradise General” and “The Nightingale of Mosul,” books by a real-life Army surgeon, Dr. Dave Hnida, and an Army nurse, Col. Susan Luz. Both authors served in Iraq during some of the bloodiest days of the war in 2006 and 2007.

At an age when people often retire from the military, 48-year-old Dr. Hnida, a family physician in Littleton, Colo., volunteered for service, answering the Army’s call for doctors. Col. Luz was a 56-year-old Army reservist—her previous tours had included delivering babies for military families stationed in Germany and bringing humanitarian aid to South America—when she was deployed to active duty in the bloody urban Nightingale of Mosulbattleground of Mosul.

via Book Review: Paradise General; The Nightingale of Mosul –

So, my summer book list is set.

*This blog post was originally published at GruntDoc*

Solving The Primary Care Crisis: Are We Training Enough Doctors?

In a few years, every American will be required to have health insurance. As a result, the 32 million people currently uninsured will seek out a personal physician. This role typically is filled by a primary care doctor, like an internist or a family physician.

While passage of the healthcare reform bill affirmed the belief that having health insurance is a right rather than a privilege, the legislation falls short on building a healthcare system capable of absorbing the newly insured.

Universal healthcare coverage is not the same as providing universal access to medical care. Having an insurance card doesn’t guarantee that individuals can actually get care. Read more »

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

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…

Read more »

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…

Read more »

See all interviews »

Latest Cartoon

See all cartoons »

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…

Read more »

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…

Read more »

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…

Read more »

See all book reviews »