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Latest Posts

Paralyzed Man Wants To Know: “What’s Your Excuse?”

I have meet several amazing people at my new job.  Here is one of them:  Richard Vaughn (photo credit).  The poster isn’t accurate any longer, the 12 should read 20.

Richard is the IT guy at my work place.  He broke his back at age 17.  This hasn’t kept him from having a full life.

……Shortly after graduation as a 17 year old, a severe accident – a fall of roughly 85 feet from a scaffolding – left me paralyzed and in a wheelchair. This was in the early 1970s. It was suggested that I enter one of several “special schools” for the handicapped. There, I was told, I might learn a vocation and become a “contributing member of society.” Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Suture for a Living*

SCUBA Diving With A Disability

Charles James Shaffer (U.S. Navy) learning to SCUBA | Charles James Shaffer (U.S. Navy) learning to SCUBAOutdoor recreation is intended for everyone, and can be enormously beneficial for persons with disabilities. I am in awe of disabled skiers, climbers, divers, and others who have learned to coordinate their bodies and take great enjoyment and a sense of accomplishment from their wilderness activities.

It behooves everyone in the healthcare profession to be aware of certain special medical concerns for persons who are disabled physically or emotionally. Additionally, family members and friends are often well aware of what they can do to help in providing a joint effort to support the disabled.

At the 2010 Wilderness Medical Society annual meeting in Snowmass, Colorado, JenFu Cheng, MD (a pediatric rehabilitation specialist from NJ), gave a wonderful presentation on the medical aspects of (scuba) diving with a disability. He pointed out that there may be up to nine million certified recreational scuba divers in the United States alone. His presentation, rather than focusing on persons who are fully capable physically and emotionally, examined the lesser-known benefits of being in the water for individuals in need of additional support. For instance, aqua therapy (largely enacted in swimming pools) takes advantage of the buoyancy of water to allow a range of mobility that is not possible on land. For example, aquatic exercise has been shown to improve lung capacity and mobility skills in children with cerebral palsy. Read more »

This post, SCUBA Diving With A Disability, was originally published on by Paul Auerbach, M.D..

A Map App For Wheelchair Users

Getting around a city can be hard when you’re in a wheelchair because some places simply aren’t designed for wheels. Wheelmap is an iPhone app for wheelchair users which tells you about the accessibility of nearby restaurants, cafes, clubs, museums, and other locations.

Locations are color-coded on a map to show how accessible they are. The current location, but also any place around the world, can be viewed. Maps are based on OpenStreetMap data, and accessibility data about locations can be modified and sent back to the servers by users from within the app. There is also a corresponding website showing the same information online.

As with any other crowd-sourced initiative, success depends on the number of contributors, but we have good hopes for this one to succeed. Because the app was created by a German, coverage is most extensive in Germany, particularly Berlin, but other large cities worldwide are starting to catch up.

More from AP: German iPhone app guides handicapped around cities…

iTunes link: Wheelmap…

Homepage: Wheelmap…

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

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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