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Latest Posts

Healthcare Reform And Pulling The Covers Over Your Head

My alarm clock  is set to “radio” and my radio is set to the local NPR station. Now, I’m not one of those people who leaps out of bed when the alarm goes off. Instead, I lie in bed slowly waking up to about 15 or 20 minutes of the morning news.

This morning however, the news just made me want to pull the covers over my head and never get out of bed. That’s because the focus was healthcare reform, and the amount of misinformation — and, yes, I have to say it: stupidity — out there about what the current proposals will or won’t do is making me literally sick to my stomach. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at A Medical Writer's Musings on Medicine and Health Care*

Why You Should Contribute To The Health Insurance Risk Pool

Gather round boys and girls. Today’s lesson is on “risk pools.”

Before you pull out your iPhone to ward off the boredom you assume will come, know this: the concept of risk pools is at the heart of today’s healthcare reform debate.

To understand risk pools, you first have to understand the basic concept of insurance. Insurance is something you buy in case something happens. The more people buying the same type of insurance, the less risk the insurer faces that it will have to pay out for that aforementioned “something.” Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at A Medical Writer's Musings on Medicine and Health Care*

Hot Dogs And Common Sense Parenting

So the American Academy of Pediatrics just came out with a statement that–gasp!–hot dogs (and hard candy, peanuts/nuts, seeds, whole grapes, raw carrots, apples, popcorn, chunks of peanut butter,
marshmallows, chewing gum, and sausages)  pose a choking hazard to young children.

Maybe about a dozen children a year die from choking on hot dogs. So the AAP would like hot dog manufacturers to put warning labels on their products and consider changing the wiener’s shape so they pose less of a risk to young children.

I honestly do not know where to start. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at A Medical Writer's Musings on Medicine and Health Care*

The Cost Of Healthcare With Health Insurance and Without

$2600.
$544.

Look carefully at those two numbers. The first is the sum of three bills I received for my husband’s day-after-Christmas visit to the emergency room for unusual dizziness. A CT and EKG ruled out a stroke or heart attack. Diagnosis? Vertigo.

(Note: both figures will likely be much higher once all the bills come in, but I needed a blog post so I’m going with what I’ve got now).

Now look at the second figure. That’s what I have to pay after the discounts my insurance company has negotiated with the hospital and radiologists. Note: there are no payments from the insurance company in there because we had not yet met our deductible. These are just the discounts. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at A Medical Writer's Musings on Medicine and Health Care*

Genetics And The Blame Game

Just heard a news story that researchers have identified three genes responsible for about 9 percent of  stuttering. In the story, a woman who stuttered as a child and teenager and who now works with other stutterers was nearly in tears at the news. Her clients, she said, would be so happy to learn that their stuttering “wasn’t their fault.”

I’m happy for the stutterers of the world. But this story made me think about so many other things related to our health that we try to find an “out” for, something that makes it not our “fault.” The more we learn about the contribution of genes to human health, the more stories like the stuttering one we’ll hear. The thing is, our genes do not operate in a vacuum. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at A Medical Writer's Musings on Medicine and Health Care*

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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