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True Medical Detective Stories: A Great Little Book

I just finished reading True Medical Detective Stories, Dr. Clifton Meador’s personal collection of medical mysteries. Dr. Meador is a prolific writer and the former dean of the University of Alabama School of Medicine and professor at Vanderbilt School of Medicine. His 50+ years in the academic arena have exposed him to some delightfully rare and bizarre medical cases, and he shares his top 18 in this pithy little book.

Dr. Meador was inspired by Berton Roueché, a staff writer at The New Yorker, who helped to popularize the medical detective story genre in the 1940’s and beyond. Each vignette is between 3-5 pages in length, making for a very quick and entertaining read. In choosing to review this book I was very tempted to give away details of some of the cases in order to entice you to read it, but I have resisted the urge so as not to spoil the fun.

Broadly speaking, the stories include a rare case of intractable hiccups, a bizarre infection caused by sexually deviant behavior, and several examples of the power of the mind to inflict bodily harm on oneself and others. In each situation, the underlying cause of the symptoms or disease is uncovered through careful listening and analysis. Often, human shame and fear must be managed before the truth can bubble to the surface.

I highly recommend this book to healthcare professionals, skeptics, and anyone interested in a fascinating look at some of the most unusual medical cases described in one book. Perhaps we can all learn to become better listeners, or true “medical detectives,” from Dr. Meador’s stories. You can find his book here at Enjoy!

When Breaking The Rules Is The Right Choice

The call never should have been made.

It broke every proscribed rule.

After all, I was not on call. Thanks to the wonders of computer technology, it was very clear that I was being covered by my colleague. And yet, despite this, it came.

“Dr. Fisher, I’m so sorry for calling you at home, but I received a call from Ms. X, the wife of your patient Mr. Y. who said she really needed to speak to you about her husband… she seemed quite concerned and insisted I call you…. I told her I’d see if I could reach you at home… I’m so sorry, but it sounded urgent… I have her number, could I connect you?” Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*

The Year In Review: Social Media Medical Stories

2011 was a very intense and exciting year regarding the developments and new insights of the relationship between medicine/healthcare and social media. Here are my favourite stories from 2011 selected and featured month by month.


I had the honour to be included in the Advisory Board of the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media; I wrote about how a Samsung Galaxy Tab changed totally my online activities, how Google Translate can be used in medicine and featured HealCam, a medical alternative of ChatRoulette.


Facebook diagnosis by surgeon saved a friend; there was a lively discussion whether pharma companies can edit Wikipedia entries about their own products, it turned out Wikipedia can be a key tool for global public health promotion; and Scienceroll won the Best Medical Technology/Informatics Blog category for the third time in a row in the Medgadget’s Weblog Awards.

March Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at ScienceRoll*

On Alzheimer’s, Death, And Patients With Intellectual Disabilities

The Boerewors Emergency Medicine Chronicles has a great post which I think is worth your time:  On alzheimer’s

……..…I think it is beautifully written and provides a real window into the difficulty of loving someone who has this disease.

“The thing with this sentence, this arrest of dementia, is that its greatest victims aren’t those who have it. That’s not to say that the diagnosis isn’t dreadful for the recipient, but there is a peculiar and particular hammering sadness for those that love and care for an Alzheimer’s spouse or parent.

It is a wearying and lonely obligation, but with the added cruelty that the person you’re looking after vanishes, escapes before your eyes. In the end, you’re caring for the case that someone came in………”


Check out this post from @JordanGrumet who blogs at In My Humble OpinionFrom Birth To Death Read more »

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

Parents Get Tattoo In Support Of Their Diabetic Son

I was just making preparations for the top 2011 posts I’m planning to write in the upcoming days when I bumped into this cute story about a diabetic kid who felt ashamed to wear the insulin pump so his parents got insulin pump tattoos.

Some parents get tattoos of their child’s name, but Philippe Aumond and Camille Boivin went one better.

In a show of solidarity, they each have an image of an insulin pump tattooed on their abdomens, declaring that they are “forever linked” to their son Jacob.

“It is a great thing for him, and we were thrilled just to see his smile when he saw those pumps. It made our day, that’s for sure,” said Boivin, 36, from the family’s home in La Sarre, Que.

*This blog post was originally published at ScienceRoll*

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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