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A Stethoscope App for the iPhone: Is It Better The Old Fashioned Way?

It’s out there. It makes a cool picture, but I wonder how many medical students realize how unimportant apps like this have become to today’s cardiovascular care. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to hear the difference between a systolic and diastolic murmur, or for the really talented, a diastolic rumble on physical exam. Recognizing the difference between mild and severe aortic stenosis is also very helpful. After all, the physical exam remains the most cost-effective instrument in medicine. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*

Reducing Hospital Infections: A Stethoscope Strategy

When a patient comes in with an infection related diagnoses, efforts are often undertaken to keep that pathogen from spreading to other patient rooms.  In British hospitals they’ve banned ties and long sleeves.  At Happy’s hospital we place a dedicated stethoscope in the patient’s room which is then shared by all health care workers caring for the patient.  And that stethoscope shall remain forever in that patient’s room.

At Happy’s hospital, the dedicated stethoscopes look like they were made in a Chinese toy factory.  Read more »

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

MD Seniority Determined By Pocket Content?

Long, long ago, when I was a medical student, we joked that you could tell how senior a physician was by how much junk was in their lab coat pockets.  As students, we tended to carry around big bags full of every medical gadget we could think of, plus a few reference texts.  The attendings were slim and graceful in their long white coats with empty pockets.

When I became an intern and moved into the hospital full-time, all that crap became just too much to lug around.  I ditched the bag, and my short white coat (with interior pockets, thank god) became loaded down with tons of stuff: reflex hammers, pocket reference guides, photocopied research papers for reading, patient lists, a procedure log, a PDA with epocrates, a bit of a snack maybe, and more.  The coat weighed at least ten pounds fully loaded.  As a junior resident, I pared it down to the few references and gadgets I actually used frequently, and the coat got a lot lighter.  With each succeeding year I have lightened the load somewhat, down to the absolute essentials.  I shed the white coat years and years ago.  Now the only things I bring with me to the hospital are:


Three items.  It’s very liberating.  Of course, I have epocrates and more on every computer workstation, so the references are there in the ER for me, but still, it’s something of a victory over inanimate junk and my own packrat tendencies that I can go to work with only three things in my pockets.

The downside is that if I happen to forget any one of these three sacred totems, it totally ruins my whole day.

*This blog post was originally published at Movin' Meat*

The Friday Funny: Pediatric Cardiology


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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