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Latest Posts

How Doctors Treated Ear Infections In 1908: Cocaine And Scalpels

I want to share this section of the old textbook, A Text-Book of Minor Surgery by Edward Milton Foote, MD (1908) mainly because I want to share the photo of the “angular knife for incision of the tympanic membrane” with you.

Otitis Media

This is a common disease of childhood, usually following a cold in the head. The prominent symptom is earache. Every physician ought to be able to recognize the bulging outward of the membranum tympani and to relieve the pressure by incision of the membrane at the most favorable situation – viz., the inferior and posterior portion. The introduction of warm olive oil into the external meatus will sometimes relieve pain, and the application of external heat may also be tried; but the pain of a severe earache, unless relieved by puncture of the membrane, usually demands the internal administration of morphine. Read more »

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

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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