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Research Shows A Large Number Of Women Have Experienced Domestic Violence

domestic violence, CDC, reporting on healthDomestic Violence: 25 percent of women surveyed by the government say they were violently attacked by their husbands or boyfriends in a finding one federal official called “astounding,” the Associated Press reports.

C-Sections: The number of births by Cesarean section in Calif. has risen 50 percent in the past 10 years, new research shows, but it isn’t because of the health benefits over vaginal delivery. Researchers cite financial incentives for doctors and an “awareness gap” of the procedure’s risks among the explanations, Stephanie O’Neill reports for KPCC public radio.

Health Reform: South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley predetermined the findings of a state committee working on health reform even before Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Reporting on Health - The Reporting on Health Daily Briefing*

Mental Health: Too Many Pills, Too Little Truth

This is my column in [the September 17th] Greenville News. It’s a follow-up to a recent column I wrote on the mental health “crisis” in America, as seen in our emergency rooms.

My last column addressed the unfortunate truth of the overwhelmed mental health system in South Carolina, and indeed in much of the U.S. While I lament the fiscal condition of our mental health system, and while I feel for those who truly need the help we are often powerless to supply, I would be a poor observer if I didn’t report the truth. And the second truth we must face is that much of what we call mental illness is neither truly “mental,” nor even “illness.”

Let me first state the obvious: The brain is an organ. It is incalculably complex and truly a wonder of design and engineering. But, it remains an organ despite its wonderful capacities. Therefore, it requires energy, its support structures feel pain, it may be injured and swell, it can bleed and parts of it can die when its owner has a stroke.

Sometimes the dysfunction of this fantastic organ, or of the chemicals which course through it, is manifest[ed] as mental illness. In certain cases, medications can restore the brain to normal function. Therefore, I am not suggesting that true mental illness is wicked, or reflects character flaws. I have met too many sweet, confused schizophrenics to believe either of those things. I am suggesting that too often we allow character flaws, unpleasant personalities, remorse over bad choices — and even, yes, wickedness — to masquerade as mental illness. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at edwinleap.com*

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*

Rural Emergency Medicine: Stigma & Stereotypes


Lee Falls, SC

I practice in the rural, northwest corner of South Carolina, also known as “The Upstate.”  It is a place of expansive lakes, white-water rivers and the mist covered foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The area includes thousands of acres of Sumter National Forest.  The natural beauty is breathtaking.  Sumter National Forest and our various parks are laced with hiking trails, which are lined with unique plants and trees, some found nowhere else.   Fish and game abound.  In fact, our wooded hospital grounds support a flock of at least 30 wild turkey.  And last deer season, the only deer I saw were the three does grazing at the end of the ED driveway one night, spotlighted by two of our paramedics.

We have a lot of wonderful things here, things that are gifts of the rural life.  We have good people, the salt of the earth types who care about personal morality and Southern courtesy.  People who bring you a glass of sweet tea when your car breaks down.  We live with a low crime rate, and minimal illicit drug use compared with more populated areas.  It is a good place to raise children.  It’s also a cool place to practice, where a busy summer shift can bring an acute MI, a near drowning (from inner-tubing on Class IV white water while drunk), a pit viper bite, a bull goring and many other pathologies, more or less interesting.

But, as physicians in a rural area, we pay a price.  Because we have to endure a certain stigma.   Read more »

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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