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Latest Posts

Why Are Painkillers Dangerous For Pregnant Women?

A nurse recently asked a very important question that bears repeating: What effect does long-term use of pain pills have on pregnant women? She was concerned because of the increase in number of pregnant women who are taking pain pills on a long term basis based on previous surgeries, accidents or a history of chronic pain.

The most common “pain pills” prescribed are opiates which effectively eliminate or reduce pain but have a great tendency to be abused. Opioids are natural and synthetic type drugs that have the characteristics of morphine. It can only be obtained with a prescription and unfortunately physicians contribute to the problem of dependency and abuse through their lack of scrutiny regarding patient requests. My present home state of Florida has the unsavory distinction of being known as the country’s largest pill mill and it was reported that 80 percent of opiates were not dispensed by pharmacists but by physicians who dispense them from their offices. Consequently, the Florida legislators now prohibit physicians from dispensing opiates in their offices with rare exceptions.

Why are opiates or pain killers dangerous for pregnant women? Read more »

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

Woman Faces Murder Charges After Newborn Son Dies From Methamphetamine Intoxication

Could breastfeeding kill a newborn?  That is the question a California district attorney will ask a jury at the trial of a breastfeeding mother. Most women do not intend to harm their children but substance abuse and addiction comes with a heavy price. Such was the case of Maggie Jean Wortman, who has been charged with second degree murder after medical tests revealed that her newborn son died from methamphetamine intoxication obtained through her breast milk. Wortman’s 19-month-old daughter also tested positive for methamphetamine and was placed in protective custody. How could this happen?

The transfer of drugs from the mother’s blood to human milk depends on the chemical composition of the drug. Antibiotics such as penicillin will remain in the mother’s blood for long periods of time whereas certain types of blood pressure and heart medications will remain in the milk. During the first three days after birth, higher concentrations of medicine remain in breast milk. Wortman’s attorney is attempting to argue that methamphetamine in breast milk could not kill a baby but here’s why he’s wrong: Read more »

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

Live Birth, MRI Style

At the Charité Hospital in Berlin, researchers have built a specialty MRI machine with enough space to fit a woman undergoing labor. The Local, a German newspaper in the English language, is reporting that the first images of a baby moving through the birth canal have been captured, and that the mother and child are doing just fine. The clinicians involved in the project hope to be able to study why some women end up requiring a Caesarian section, while others do not.

More at The Local: MRI scans live birth…

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

The Diabetic New Mommy

You know you’re a diabetic mommy when…

  • The bottle of glucose tabs is just as important as the bottle of breast milk in the diaper bag.
  • You have already started wondering how you’re going to explain juice as “medicine” to the kiddo.
  • When you wake up for 3am feedings and they double as a 3am blood sugar check.
  • You start cooing sweetly at your meter when it gives you a result of 100 mg/dl. (“Oooh, what a good meter you are! Yes you are!”)
  • Your baby ends up with a dot of blood on the back of her pajamas from your middle-of-the-night blood sugar check that didn’t stop bleeding right away.
  • When you talk about “the pump,” you need to clarify “the insulin one, not the boob one.”
  • Sometimes you have to draw numbers to see who gets to feed the baby. And by “draw” we mean blood samples.
  • Nothing makes you happier than a full baby with a clean diaper and a full pump with a full battery.
  • You need a diaper bag just for diabetes supplies.
  • Your bedside table has just as many burp clothes as used test strips gathered at its base.

And when the Dexcom starts to “BEEEEEEEP!” you wonder if it needs a diaper change.

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

Newborn Denied Care For “Pre-Existing Condition”

Thanks to reader “m.scott” for alerting me to the latest Corporate Hall of Shame award. Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) of Texas is the winner for it’s egregious denial of care for a 10-day-old baby who was born with a congenital heart defect. Coverage for surgery to treat transposition of the great arteries was denied for — are you ready for this — a “pre-existing condition.” The baby’s parents had previously purchased coverage for their two other children, but were denied coverage for their newborn baby.

Denial of care for children will not be allowed when the new healthcare reform laws go into effect. Until then, it’s business as usual for the likes of BCBS of Texas.

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

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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