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Latest Posts

Battling With The Insurance Company

A few months back, while we were on vacation in Washington, D.C., my 17-year-old son Noah sustained an injury at 1:00 a.m. I was asleep, but this is usually a few hours earlier than he typically retires. In our hotel room’s bathroom, he dropped a glass and then managed to step in the wrong place. A sharp shard sliced through the soft skin between his great and second toes. Blood was spurting wildly and he woke me up with a shout. He was spooked.

We gastroenterologists are experienced at stanching bleeding, although I was uncertain how to do so without some kind of scope in my hand. I reflected on my ACLS training, which is a comprehensive 2 hour course that my partners and I take every 2 years. In between those sessions, I neither think about nor practice any advanced life saving procedures. It doesn’t seem rational that a community gastroenterologist should be schooled in temporary pacemakers, when most of us haven’t interpreted an EKG in decades.

I still remember the fundamentals of life support, the famed A, B, Cs, standing for airway, breathing and circulation. I decided to apply this to the hemorrhage at hand.

Airway: the windpipe was open and functioning

Breathing: the kid was breathing

Circulation: BINGO!

After going through this brief but critical checklist, I now knew where to focus. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at MD Whistleblower*

SGR: Tired Of Congress Hitting The 6-Month “Snooze” Button

I have not a single thing I want to write about today. I am weary of the obvious topic: the “passage” of the 6-month extension on the SGR, but do feel I need to comment.

I am tired of this. I am tired of being jerked around by congress. I am tired of congress hitting the 6-month snooze button and somehow feeling that they are doing something good. This is procrastination, not a solution. Reassurances that something will be done are starting to be irrelevant. The problem is becoming the frustration, anger, and exhaustion that congress is thrusting upon doctors and patients, not the pay cut itself. The idea of no longer having to deal with the passive-aggressive tactics of congress is becoming increasingly appealing –- and if it’s this way for me, I’m sure it’s the same for PCPs across the country. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Musings of a Distractible Mind*

Middle Ground For Healthcare Reform

Partisan rancor was one of the signatures of the recent healthcare reform debate. Can middle ground actually be sought? That’s a question that Eric Segall asks in a recent AOL News op-ed. As is the case in Washington, both sides are to blame. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at*

Why Does A Salad Cost More Than A Big Mac?

A reader pointed me out to this current food pyramid subsidy model showing what the daily recommended servings are for each category of food compared with how the federal farm subsidy programs actually work against the goal of a healthy nation.  You can click on the image to enlarge it and take a close look at how powerful lobby groups have become.

There is no reason why dairy and meat farmers should be getting 50 billion dollars in farm subsidies.  And if we are playing the subsidy game (which I think is a fraud), why are vegetables, one of the most healthy things we can put in our mouth, getting slaughtered at the table of entitlement handouts? Read more »

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

Washington Healthcare Gridlock

Tom Toles’ editorial cartoon in todays Washington Post says it all.

Washington has become a place where nothing can move, advance or happen. Having been paralyzed by a huge snowstorm over the weekend, the federal government has been closed since Monday, our roads are clogged with unplowed snow, our Metrorail system won’t run above-ground trains, the schools are closed (until June, it seems)–and to top it off, another 10-20 inches of snowfall is expected in the next 24 hours. (Yes, our trains really don’t run when we get more than a few inches of snow. You Chicagoans can stop laughing now.)

Of course, the snow and ice will eventually melt, and Washington will get back to normal. Not so the partisan gridlock that apparently will prevent anything from getting done even when the government reopens for business. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at The ACP Advocate Blog by Bob Doherty*

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 Cartoon

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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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