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The Problem With Medical Licenses

In one of those things I don’t really get*, Texas requires a separate license from an unrestricted medical license to prescribe narcotics. As the price of this extra license has always seemed to be more ‘cover the cost’, nobody has seriously objected. It’s $25, in case you’re interested.

Since it’s a State license, it’s required if your job could even perceivably need to prescribe narcs in a hospital. (So, Radiologists and Pathologists are usually exempted). It’s never been an issue, as long as you don’t screw up.

Until now.

From the Austin American Statesman: Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at GruntDoc*

Football Helmets: Which Ones Are Most Likely To Prevent Head Injuries?

Courtesy of Virginia Tech-Wake Forest School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences:

National Impact Database

Adult Football Helmet Ratings – May 2011

A total of 10 adult football helmet models were evaluated using the STAR evaluation system for May 2011 release.  All 10 are publicly available at the time of publication.  Helmets with lower STAR values provide a reduction in concussion risk compared to helmets with higher STAR values.  Based on this, the best overall rating of ‘5 Stars’ has the lowest STAR value.  Group rankings are differentiated by statistical significance.

If you’re in the market to buy a loved one a football helmet, or just curious, go and have a look. It doesn’t take long, there are only 10 helmets on the list. Go to the list.

I got to this from ESPN’s Page 2: Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at GruntDoc*

Bad Medical Practices On Television

I watch some TV (and essentially no commercials, thanks to DVRs) and have been enjoying some shows: Necessary Roughness and Covert Affairs. Yes, put a reasonably attractive female in the lead role of a show with some action and I might watch. Demographic shocker.

So, within the last two days I saw one completely egregious professional breach, and one exercise of pretty awful medical judgement (in an ED, which makes it way worse for me), and I will now outline my concerns/gripes.

(Yes, I’m aware they’re TV shows, and are therefore not reality. What I’m unhappy with is the glib way in which these terrible decisions played out, like it’s not a big deal to act against the interests of your patient, even especially, on TV). (I think TV behavior, not the cartoon violence but the everyday mundane stuff, influences how regular people think, which is why I’m writing this: so the zero regular people who watch TV and read this blog have something to consider).

So the Necessary Roughness (episode Anchor Roughness) thing: (Background): the protagonist is a female psychologist hired by a football team to get their star player “TK” (with more than a mild resemblance to “TO“, the former 49ers Eagles Cowboys Bills Browns wide receiver) playing and catching; it’s a TV troubled relationship. (Player is aware she works for the team). In the show TK threatens to leave the team, is convinced not to leave in a bluff by the team to send him to a cold climate, and TK decides to stay with the team. In the denouement, it is revealed that the whole idea for the bluff was the psychologists’ idea, for which she was praised by the team.

Umm, I have an objection. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at GruntDoc*

When Doctors And Dentists Start Requiring “Mutual Privacy Agreements” With Patients

We (especially doctors themselves) like to think docs are smart. While all are very well educated in medicine, it doesn’t mean they’re actually smart at much else. Docs are well known to lose gobs of money in stupid ‘investements’ like Avacado farms and ostrich ranches (and yes, there are those with the chicken ranch problems, as well).

Here’s a dumb thing some docs are adopting I hope goes away quickly, as it’s actually not in the best interest of medicine:

When I walked into the offices of Dr. Ken Cirka, I was looking for cleaner teeth, not material for an Ars Technica story. I needed a new dentist, and Yelp says Dr. Cirka is one of the best in the Philadelphia area. The receptionist handed me a clipboard with forms to fill out. After the usual patient information form, there was a “mutual privacy agreement” that asked me to transfer ownership of any public commentary I might write in the future to Dr. Cirka. Surprised and a little outraged by this, Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at GruntDoc*

An ER Physician’s Checklist

Laugh if you want, this helps my life, at least at work.

For months after starting my current gig, I would sometimes get to work with everything in all my pockets, and sometimes not.

I’d forget my ID, or my pen, or my phone, or my…well, there you go.

Then my OCD started to kick in, and, a Mental Checklist was born.
I now have to get 6 things, and set them on the table or I screw it up every time.

  • ID
  • stethoscope
  • my phone
  • work phone
  • pen
  • sharp stick (I’ve written about this before, but cannot find it. You should search an ER blog for the word ‘knife’ and then wonder why you bothered).

Last week I apparently went against the checklist, and halfway through the shift realized I’d lost my ID. Of course, after about a combined half-hour of fruitless search I gave up, and found it in my bag on the way out. Geez.

Yeah, it sounds stupid. But if it’s stupid and it works, it’s not stupid.

*This blog post was originally published at GruntDoc*

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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