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Holiday Decoration-Related ER Visits: Are These Statistics Sending The Wrong Message?

Yesterday’s ACEP Member Communication email (entitled Emergency Medicine Today, in affiliation with BulletinHealthcare) had this as its top story: Injuries Linked to Holiday Decorating on the Rise, from a website called HealthDay News. The reported cites a US Consumer Product Safety Commission press release, crafted with help from Underwriter Laboratories (the wire engineers). They claim:

In November and December 2010, more than 13,000 people were treated in U.S. emergency departments for injuries involving holiday decorations, up from 10,000 in 2007, and 12,000 in 2008 and 2009, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

“A well-watered tree, carefully placed candles, and carefully checked holiday light sets will help prevent the joy of the holidays from turning into a trip to the emergency room or the loss of your home,” said CPSC chairman Inez Tenenbaum in an agency news release.

Good advice. Though it’s been said many times, many ways. So when it came time for CPSC and UL to raise the topic, did we need the very questionable statistics to justify it? Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Blogborygmi*

School Nurse Gives Some Insight Into Her Job

Well, what better time to post my interview with Erin at Tales of a School Zoned Nurse than now, when everyone’s headed back to the classroom?

Erin is a school nurse in the “cash strapped state of California.”  Her position covers two elementary schools and a middle school – almost 2000 students!!  She has been blogging since last year and her blog has definitely become one of my favorites.

She says she was never too set on working in a hospital.  After nursing school, she worked at a couple of summer camps, which gave her the idea to look into being a school nurse. She was hired right away and “leapt in without a second thought.”  She is starting her second year in this position.

Erin’s daily schedule is quite varied: Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at code blog - tales of a nurse*

What Really Happens On A Night Shift At The Hospital

I wonder how many cups of coffee an average night nurse consumes during their shift. Look, there’s someone we can ask, although it looks like her caffeine buzz is wearing off. Notice the telltale chin to chest head tip that gives sleep deprived nurses away. She may look like she’s charting, but she really is in a twilight sleep.

Working nights isn’t for wimps. Neither is working holidays and weekends. You are always short of help, and BIG things seem to go wrong just as the day shift staff heads out the door. I always thought that I was just paranoid about working the off shifts, but Muhammad Saleem from RN Central sent me some information that validated my observations. I’ve posted their research results below. I’ve lived through a lot of these situations. I’ve seen seasoned nurses nod off at the desk at 3AM because they’ve been working their butts off, and I’ve worked with doctors who don’t answer pages promptly during evening hours and on weekends even though they are on call. I’ve also worked with new residences who are unable to write coherent orders until the third week of their rotation. Sometimes I’ve wondered why more things don’t go wrong in a hospital.

I think their information looks accurate. What do you think? Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Nurse Ratched's Place*

The Global Burden Of Diseases: Who’s Healthier On The Planet?

survey_button_square.gifMy friend and colleague Bill Heisel, one of our news reviewers, also works at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. He wrote to me that this group:

“… has launched a major global health survey to measure the impact of more than 300 diseases or injuries and more than 40 risk factors. This is the most ambitious global health measurement project in two decades. And when people answer the survey, they will be providing information that will directly shape the final outcome of the research because ‘disease burden’ is partly objective but partly subjective.”

And his pitch to anyone to take the 15-minute, anonymous, online survey is this:

“With unprecedented money and attention pouring into global health efforts, the need for accurate data is urgent. By taking part in the survey, you will contribute to the scientific understanding of global health problems and ultimately enable policymakers to make better decisions.”

Click HERE to begin the survey. Thanks for the news, Bill. And thanks to anyone who takes the time to complete the survey. You may help this team reach its goal of 50,000 people around the globe filling out the survey.

The research is part of the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2010 led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, in collaboration with Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Queensland, and the World Health Organization (WHO).

And you can follow the project on Twitter.

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

Ski Season, Knee Injuries, And Posterior Cruciate Ligament Tears

We’re in ski season and so a few unfortunate individuals will suffer few knee injuries. A while back, a reader asked me to describe an uncommon injury, which is a torn posterior cruciate ligament (PCL).

This injury usually occurs during a fall. As you can see from the drawing, the PCL keeps the lower leg bone (tibia) from moving too far back in relation to the upper leg bone (femur). If a sudden unnatural force is applied, usually a direct blow to the front of the lower leg near the knee while the knee is bent, the tibia is jammed backwards and the PCL may be torn. In the skiing situation, this usually happens during a fall and a tumble, when someone strikes an immovable object, or when the knee is bent or “twisted” and struck forcefully from the side.

The immediate sensation is pain, and there may be a feeling of instability to the knee, particularly when trying to walk or change levels (e.g., walk over the snowpack or on stairs). When the injury occurs, there usually is not the “pop” sensation noted with an anterior cruciate ligament tear. However, the knee will almost always swell, because there is bleeding into the knee joint and/or soft tissue swelling. Read more »

This post, Ski Season, Knee Injuries, And Posterior Cruciate Ligament Tears, was originally published on by Paul Auerbach, M.D..

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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