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ER Physician Recharges At The Beach

This is my column in July’s EM News.  Have a restful day!

We travel to Hilton Head, SC, every spring for an ‘end of school-year’ vacation. It is a tradition that started several years ago; one which our family treasures. We plan months ahead, when we arrange lodging. Then, as the date draws closer we have to restrain ourselves from jumping up and down at odd, inappropriate times. The beach calls to us in an inexplicable way.

We live in a beautiful county, surrounded by mountains and lakes. It is, in itself, a worthy destination, perfect for biking, hiking, fishing and/or kayaking. But when May rolls around, our eyes turn to the east, and we long for the sand and sea. It is one of the special gifts of South Carolina, that highland forests and crashing surf are half a day’s car ride apart.

The morning we leave, the car is packed, the snacks tucked away, and we drive through the local Chick-fil-A for drinks. Then my dear wife immerses herself in a novel, her i-Pod turned to her music collection (eclectic as when we first met, running the gamut from Prince to Loreena McKinnet, from Aaron Copeland to Veggie-Tales). The children slip off their shoes and drift into games, or their own books and music before boredom takes them to sleep.

I am left enjoying the singular pleasure of driving across the state of South Carolina, Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at edwinleap.com*

Everything You Wanted To Know About Nasal Irrigation

A neti pot.Nasal irrigation is sometimes recommended to thin or remove mucous from the nose. The two most common conditions that produce mucous are upper respiratory infections (e.g., the “common cold”) and allergies. Irrigation may also be beneficial to clear out dust, dirt, and allergens, and to allow the cilia within the nose to function more efficiently. Cilia are organelles that work to move mucous and debris in the nose (among other parts of the body) to a location where they can be expelled more easily. Another benefit of nasal irrigation is that it moisturizes the mucous membranes inside the nose.

Methods of Nasal Irrigation

Irrigation can be pulsatile or non-pulsatile (sometimes called “laminar flow”). Each type has its advocates. It is generally felt to be a safe practice so long as Read more »

This post, Everything You Wanted To Know About Nasal Irrigation, was originally published on Healthine.com by Paul Auerbach, M.D..

Fourth Of July: Top Tips For Fireworks Safety

As the 4th of July approaches, I’ve begun to hear fireworks exploding in my neighborhood.  It’s been dry here, so in addition to the risk of injuring a person, there is a risk of setting the fields on fire.  I sure hope my neighbors are being responsible.

I hope you will all have a safe and happy July 4th.  Be safe and stay out of the ER.

Please use the following tips:

  • Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks.  A responsible adult should be in charge.
  • Read and follow all warnings and instructions.
  • Be sure other people are out-of-range before lighting fireworks. Small children should be kept a safe distance from the fireworks; older children that use fireworks need to be carefully supervised.
  • Do not smoke when handling any type of “live” firecracker, rocket, or aerial display.
  • Keep all fireworks away from any flammable liquids, dry grassy areas, or open bonfires.
  • Keep a bucket of water or working garden hose nearby in case of a malfunction or fire.
  • Take note of any sudden wind change that could cause sparks or debris to fall on a car, house, or person. Read more »

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

Red Neck Physician Antics

waspCR

A physician friend of mine recently bragged that, while driving along a rural South Carolina road, he had stopped, chased a timber-rattler into the bushes, located said rattler, then urinated on it.

‘I wanted to say I had peed on a rattlesnake!’  He beat a hasty retreat (and I imagine a hasty zip-up) when the snake rattled and struck at the air.  Who can blame Mr. Snake?

You can take the redneck to medical school, but you’ll just get a redneck with a medical degree.

Which brings me to me.  I have to work on our tool-shed/work-shop in the morning.  The tool-shed/work-shop is, however, over-run with red-wasps.  I counted no less than ten nests inside.  These are irritable, contentious creatures with no love of humanity.  If they were humans, they would be Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at edwinleap.com*

A Surgeon Watches Helplessly As His Patient Dies

Sometimes different people see the same thing from a slightly different angle, giving a completely different perspective. In my line this can turn out to be quite macabre.

It was one of those cases. It was probably hopeless from the beginning, but he was young and we had to give it a go. As soon as the abdomen was opened everyone knew things were bad. There was blood everywhere. It took a while to even see the damage to the liver because I needed to get rid of the blood in the abdomen before I could see anything. However, once I saw the liver even I was shocked.

The liver was ripped apart with one laceration dropping down to where the IVC sat menacingly behind it. It seemed to spit and splutter at my efforts to bring the bleeding under control in defiance of me. But I did what I could as fast as I could. At times like this the unsung hero is the anesthetist. If he can’t get fluid and blood into the patient fast enough, no matter what the surgeon does, it will be in vain. That day the anesthetist was great. Somehow he kept some semblance of a blood pressure in the patient against overwhelming odds. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at other things amanzi*

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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