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When Inducing Labor Is The Right Choice

At some point during a pregnancy, the topic of labor induction might emerge. Inducing labor means that contractions are being started before a patient begins labor naturally or without any external influence. Elective inductions of labor has doubled in the past 20 years according to medical literature. Early term inductions of labor that begin between 37 and 38 weeks have quadrupled from 2 to 8% within the U.S. Inductions are usually done when the risk of maintaining the pregnancy poses a threat to the mother or fetus. However, more and more patients have requested to have an induction of labor based on personal preference. Early elective inductions have recently been criticized because of an association with an increase in fetal and newborn complications as well as an increase in the C. Section rate.

The Bishop Score was developed in the 1960’s by Dr. Edward Bishop as a means of evaluating the cervix to determine if the patient would successfully have a vaginal delivery. Based on Bishop’s research, he determined that women who were pregnant for the first time and women who had an “unfavorable” cervix were Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Linda Burke-Galloway*

The Reason I Stayed A Doctor

This week I traveled to a small town outside Chicago to help my mother with her move from an assisted living facility to Alabama so she can live with my sister. I suspect many people, thanks to current economic times, have realized that the savings that were supposed to be there are not and change must happen. Such is the case with my mother.

It’s sure to be an emotional time, one which both of us had hoped to avoid. For her, she will be moving from the region of her childhood, her college, her marriage, her first home, her dream home, her caldron of first-grade student graduates and her dearest friends. For me, I will miss our spontaneous visits, morning coffee conversations, trips to the local restaurant in the town of my childhood, her gentle smile, and her helpful advice.

But this is not what I’ll miss the most. For me, I’ll miss the single greatest gift she could ever give a son: her kindness. Read more »

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

Music Goes iUtero

Music In UteroThe new Ritmo Advanced Pregnancy Sound System from the Nuvo Group of Columbia, South Carolina, gives an interesting twist to “In Utero,” the title of the famous Nirvana album.

“Research in human fetal development shows that babies exposed to music while in-utero display advanced intelligence, coordination, and learning abilities,” says the product website. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Baby-Monitor Bracelets Connect Mommy And Baby

It’s only a concept, but the Sikker (Danish for “safety”) baby monitor is a great idea by designers Jessica Mendoza and Henoc Monte that will likely have both parents and babies alike going gaga.

The bracelets, charged on a docking station during the day, would allow two-way communication between mother and child, as well as the ability for the mother to monitor the baby’s temperature and heart rate. It would also allow the mother to play .mp3 lullabies to the baby.

If built, they’d probably have to ditch the idea of monitoring temperature, since any readings at the wrist would be poor indicators of core body temperature, but connecting parent and child via bracelet is a good idea that has promise, and it’d be great to see this built.

More from Yanko Design: Sikker is for Safety

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Accepting The Death Of My Mother

20010921-babbaFor years my friends and patients have told me how surprisingly shocking the death of an elderly parent can be.  We know it’s inevitable yet the finality is jarring.  But knowing and KNOWING are two different things.  So her son the doctor reacted just like so many others when my mother died unexpectedly last March at 86 after falling and striking her head.  I found it hard to get my arms around the idea that my mother was no longer alive.

I received an outpouring of beautiful condolence letters and contributions but have only written a handful of thank you notes.  My undoubtedly over-simplistic armchair psychiatrist explanation is that if I don’t write the notes then maybe she didn’t die.  And I’m not alone in my behavior.  My 90-year-old father, married to my mother for over 66 years, asked me a few months after her death if it was ok that he was pretending she was still alive.  “Absolutely,” I replied.  “That’s why God invented denial.”

My mother lived totally in the moment.  She’d start to peel an orange and would say “at this moment this orange hasn’t seen the light of day.”  Every morning she would look out the window at our breakfast table and say, “Good morning, dogwood tree.”  More often than not, whatever she was experiencing was “the best ever.”  The best ever sunset was the one she was watching.  The best ever salad was the one she ordered at our last lunch alone together a few weeks before she died.  Her best ever meal was the one she had just finished.  She did not want to waste a single second, as was reflected in a hilarious essay she submitted to the New York Times upon turning 75.  It was rejected; so here is the world premiere {link to NYT submission below}.

My wife had the idea to plant a dogwood tree on the top of the beautiful Vermont hill where we had sprinkled my mother’s ashes.  Yesterday my family gathered under cloudy skies for the ceremony.  One of my two sons sang a beautiful song he had composed using the lyrics of a poem called “Growing” that my mom had written when my three sisters and I were little.


Goodnight sweet baby and goodbye
I’ll see you as you are no more.
For dusk has settled in the sky
And you have wondrous dreams in store.
As you sleep, a magic hand will touch you
And you’ll grow more wise.
Tomorrow morning you’ll awaken
New and different in my eyes.

This morning my father admitted that he still finds it hard to accept she’s gone and sometimes imagines that “she’s just out shopping.”  But we’re both starting to accept that we’ll see her as she was no more.  This afternoon I’m going to start writing thank you notes in earnest.  Well, maybe tomorrow.


Dear Editor:

I just celebrated my 75th birthday, and do you know what?  I’m better than ever!  Well, I guess you could say I’m stronger than ever.  No, not in my muscles, which can be developed and maintained during regular workouts in the gym, but in my mind, which gets a daily ongoing on site workout.  I now have the strength of my convictions, something I never had when I was young because in those days I always aimed to please, so that everyone would like me.  I have now become much more assertive, more determined, more stubborn, and more aware of the passage of time, and as I calculate how much of it I have left, I have made a firm decision not to waste one moment of it.

With that thought in mind, here are some resolutions I’ve made to myself for the New Year:

1. I will not open unsolicited advertisements in the mail.  This includes 10 million dollar lotteries and free trips to the Caribbean.  Into the garbage they go!

2. I will not make dinner dates with boring people.  This includes people who didn’t used to be boring but are now.

3.  I will not put off doing things that I want to do.

4.  I will not attend meetings out of a feeling of obligation.

5.  I will not play singles rather than doubles in tennis or play an extra hour because I’m afraid to say no.

6.  I will not ride when I can walk or walk when I can ride, depending on how I feel at the time.

7.  I will not take part in long phone conversations with talkative people who are boring.

8.  I will not dress up to go out if I feel like wearing a shirt, sneakers and jeans.

9.  I will not shop ’til I drop.  I never did and I certainly won’t start now.

10.  I will not agree with someone unless I really do.  I won’t be afraid to express my opinion.

11.  I will hang up instantly on phone solicitors with no apology whatsoever.

12.  I will remove the tag from each and every mattress that I own with absolutely no fear of penalty of the law, and when I make the bed I won’t always do hospital corners.  Sorry, Mom!

13.  I won’t be afraid to break a date if something better comes along.

14.  I plan to make a lot of money selling something on Internet.  Don’t know what yet.

15. I will not be intimidated by a surly maitre d’ or waiter. I won’t be afraid to send something back if it’s not to my liking, and if the rolls aren’t hot, back they’ll go.

16.  I’ll squeeze the toothpaste from the top of the tube–so there!

17. I’ll watch every Seinfeld rerun, all Frasier episodes and all Woody Allen movies.

18. I will wear white before Memorial Day and after Labor Day if I want to.

19.  I will always remember that health takes priority over everything, and I will guard it carefully.

20.  I will keep smelling the roses and seeing, tasting, touching and hearing the world about me for a long, long time.

Happy New Year!!

Elsa LaPook

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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