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Urine Testing: If It’s Not Captured Via Catheter, It’s Not Accurate

After eight years of hospitalist medicine and seeing inaccurate urinalysis results day after day, year after year, I’ve come to the conclusion that the straight cath vs clean catch debate is not a debate.  If the urine didn’t come from a straight cath, I have zero faith in the accuracy of the results.

I know, I know.  It takes time and effort for a nurse to perform the straight cath.  It’s not comfortable for the patient to have a catheter inserted into their urethra.  Plus, with bad nursing technique, one could introduce bacteria into the bladder when performing a straight cath urinalysis.

All that aside, if I’m a physician trying to make medical decisions based on accurate data, then having bad urine results that don’t represent the true picture is worse than not having any data at all.  For example, here’s a classic case of what I have to deal with day in and day out when trying to make medical decisions on my patients.  Below is a snap shot of three UA results obtained from Happy’s ER over two visits.  I’m sure it’s the same no matter where you get your care in this country.  The first two urinalysis results came from a clean catch sample of a horribly weak 89 year old female who presented with family complaints of “fever and weakness”, both days. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The Happy Hospitalist*

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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