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Latest Posts

How To Get Tar Off Your Skin

Even though its really cold outside in much of the U.S., it’s sunny in northern California and with a hooded sweatshirt, every day is a beach day! So, after a couple of nice days in the snowy mountains, I headed for the coast. On my first step onto the sand, I was reminded to write about a phenomenon that was called to my attention by a reader last April:

“Coast Guard Seeks Tar Source
By Janine Zúñiga
Union-Tribune Staff Writer

CORONADO — The Coast Guard is investigating the source of sticky tar balls that washed up on Coronado’s shores over the weekend. Emergency crews…worked amid bathing-suit-clad beach-goers, picking up pieces of tar that a city lifeguard first noticed Saturday afternoon. Read more »

This post, How To Get Tar Off Your Skin, was originally published on by Paul Auerbach, M.D..

What To Do When Your Child Glues Her Eye Shut

This little girl accidentally got Super Glue onto her eyelid. She came to the doctor without pain and she was able to move the eyeball under the lid but could not open it.

Her doctor in Decatur, Ala gently irrigated the eye area with normal saline and applied antibiotic ointment and a gauze patch over the eye area but the lid remained stuck together. The next day he was able to gently pull the lid open.

If you should ever glue parts of your body together with Super Glue (cyanoacrylate), the treatment is easy. Acetone, the ingredient found in nail polish remover will dissolve Super Glue. A Q-tip with acetone, gently applied to the area, will dissolve the bond without damaging the skin. Don’t pull the skin apart, but gently roll or peel it.

If Super Glue gets in the eyeball, the eye protein will disassociate from it over time. A warm sodium bicarbonate solution eyewash will help remove the adhesive.

Photo/story credit: Consultant

*This blog post was originally published at EverythingHealth*

Tattoo Regrets In Los Angeles

True story: As a fourth-year medical student I spent a summer working with a dermatologist in Los Angeles. In addition to all the skin cancer removal, sun damage, and Mohs surgery patients, my preceptor had a thriving laser tattoo removal business.

One day a rock band electric guitarist came into the office requesting help for an incident he’d had the night before. Apparently he’d gotten terribly drunk (+/- stoned) and made an impulsive tattoo decision that he regretted deeply in the light of morning.

The gaunt, long-haired gentleman entered the dermatology suite with his head hung low. He sat down in the exam chair and explained that he was there for a tattoo removal consultation. “Man, I can’t believe I did this to myself,” he muttered as he unbuttoned his shirt.

I wondered what on earth could be so terrible…

And then I saw it.

It was an 8 inch by 4 inch, bright yellow and black tattoo…

On the left side of his neck…

An exact replica of…

The periodic table of the elements.

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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