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Doctors Use ECMO To Save A 19-Year-Old’s Life

Robert Loftus

Robert Loftus

On August 5, 2011,19-year-old Robert Loftus tripped while catching the game-winning touchdown pass in a football game with friends. He broke his leg — both his tibia and fibula — and was rushed to the ER at Hudson Valley Hospital Center. On the morning of the 6th, he was visited by his orthopedist, Dr. Steven Small, and surgery to place a rod in his broken leg was scheduled for 3 pm that day. Just as the operation was beginning, however, the anesthesiologist was alarmed to find that Robert’s lungs were dangerously filling with fluid. The surgery was called off, and while still in the OR, Robert was put on a mechanical ventilator.

Robert had developed a severe case of ARDS, or acute respiratory distress syndrome; his lungs were failing. After four days on the ventilator, Robert’s breathing was not improving; on the contrary, it was rapidly getting worse. Recognizing the severity of his patient’s condition, Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Columbia University Department of Surgery Blog*

Wireless Transceivers Used To Monitor Breathing

A couple years ago, a team of researchers from the University of Utah managed to create a wireless network made from standard home automation devices to “see” through walls.

Now, the engineers are using the same technology to monitor breathing in patients with sleep apnea, post surgery, and babies at risk for SIDS. The system consists of Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Looking For A Surgeon: Board Certification Is Not The First Thing To Consider

Don’t simply look for a surgeon who is board certified.  Make sure they are trained to do the procedure you are having.  Yes, board certification is important, but the training is more so (in my humble opinion).

If you are having a breast augmentation, you don’t want a board certified maxillofacial surgeon or Ob-Gyn or neurosurgeon.  You want someone trained in plastic surgery.  It is a bonus if they are board certified.  By the same token, if you need brain surgery you don’t want a board certified plastic surgeon you want someone trained in neurosurgery.

This rant was prompted by Read more »

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

Weight Loss Encouraged Before Breast Reduction Surgery

Many women with large breast and weight issues seek breast reduction.  I was taught to encourage them to lose weight first.  Now there is a very small study that backs this up  (full reference below).

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons issued a press release entitled “Breast Reduction and Bariatric Surgery—Which Should Be Done First?” and provided the answer “Final Results May Be Better When Weight Loss Comes First.”  I agree, but find it odd that such a small study was published.  There should have been more patients included.

Jeffrey A. Gusenoff, MD, and colleagues reviewed two groups of patients who sought consultation for body contouring surgery August of 2008 and February of 2010 after massive weight loss (defined as a weight loss of greater than 50 pounds).

Group I (n=15) included Read more »

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

Surgery Is An Organized Chaos Of Cords, Tubes And Wires

Surgery is messy… and I don’t mean in terms of blood and guts…

What I mean are wires, cables, tubing, etc.

Electric cord for the operating tableLet’s take a routine tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy for example…

  1. Electric cord for the anesthesia machine
  2. Electric cord for the surgeon’s headlight
  3. Light cord from the surgeon’s headlight to the lightbox
  4. Breathing circuit tube from the patient to the anesthesia machine
  5. Carbon dioxide outflow tube from the patient to the anesthesia machine
  6. Suction tubing from the surgical table to the vacuum canister
  7. Vacuum cable from the vacuum canister to the wall socket
  8. Electrocautery cable (along with electric cord to power the machine)
  9. Coblation cable (along with electric cord to power the machine)
  10. IV fluids lines from patient to IV bags
  11. EKG lines
  12. Grounding pad cable
  13. All the wires and cables that go with running a computer
  14. etc. etc. etc. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Fauquier ENT Blog*

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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