“Write only if you cannot live without writing. Write only what you alone can write.” -Elie Wiesel My patient needed a way to deal with his loss. Between the loss of his lung function and my surgery to remove his voice box, his life had really changed. Two of his biggest pleasures, an energetic round of golf and a ride in the hills on his bicycle, were no longer possible.
There are some lessons we learn and keep re-learning in medicine. For me some of these recurring lessons are, Listen to your “gut.” Pay attention to the clues. Listen to your team. Don’t be afraid to call for help. and Stick to your guns when advocating for your patient.
A fellow physician called me with a consult this afternoon. He described the case as a 60 year old who had stridor (difficulty breathing) for the past week and was admitted to the hospital recently. A CT scan showed lymph nodes in his neck which was compressing the trachea, and other scans didn’t show much better.
At the start of my surgical training, I helped to care for a middle-aged patient who was struggling to recuperate from a major operation on his aoarta, the body’s central artery, and the blood vessels to his legs. As the days wore on, the surgeon in charge began consulting various experts until the once spare patient file became weighted down with the notes and suggestions of a whole roster of specialists.
On December 3, 2010, the world will take a moment to recognize the International Day of Persons with Disabilities . The United Nations observance aims to promote a better understanding of disability issues with a focus on the rights of persons with disabilities. Too often we forget that many people, from all countries and all age groups, struggle with disabilities every day.
Why can’t we have an adult conversation about smoking? Why resort to scare tactics and simplistic messaging on cigarette cartons when it’s unclear whether they’ll do any good? November 19, 2010 Did you know that cigarettes are addictive, tobacco smoke can harm your children, and that smoking can kill you? If yes, congratulations, you are just as intelligent as members of the Food and Drug Administration and probably passed your middle school health class.
Olympic swimmer Dara Torres, who has won 12 medals in five Olympic games, including 3 silver medals at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, has recently undergone a cutting edge procedure on her knee to repair severe arthritis. The 43-year-old was the oldest swimmer on the U.S. Olympic swim team, but has won at least one medal in each of the five Olympics in which she has competed, making her one of only a handful of Olympians to earn medals in five different Games.
From watching television we tend to think we know what a hospital emergency looks like: violent, dramatic and optimally bloody. Someone calls the alarm, a team that includes at least one handsome doctor surges into the room, and people yell out “STAT!” as needed. The patient always survives.
The patient was a classic “worried-well” type of patient — a thin, 50-year-old educated woman with a long litany of nonspecific, unrelated complaints and tight worry lines carved into her face. She unfolded a sheet of paper on that Thursday morning in my office with a brisk snap, and my heart sank as I saw 30 lines of hand-printed concerns.
Terry Coggins, MSN, RN, WOCN, CWCN Medical Education Manager, Smith & Nephew One of the biggest concerns in hospitals today is related to surgical site infections. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there are an estimated 780,000 operations every year that are complicated by surgical site infections.
I did a little “self care” earlier this week. I did it by not caring for myself. I went to the doctor. I was sitting in the waiting area for my appointment and saw the mother of one of my patients. ”Why are you here?” she asked. “I have a doctor’s appointment.
When the very first surgeries were performed, wound closure wasn’t an issue. The surgeons often left the incisions open with the hope that they would close by themselves over time. Scarring was rarely a problem because these very first patients often didn’t survive the post-operative period, usually as a result of infection.
[Last] Tuesday's election brought us what I think must be a record number of physicians in Congress – 19. I haven't done my own retrospective analysis, but I did find a nice little piece of research from Johns Hopkins that found a total of only 25 physicians in the House or Senate in all the years from 1960 to 2004.
I wish I could say that every patient encounter worked out well, that all my patients went home happy and satisfied. It would be nice, but unfortunately that is not true at all. There are many patients who present with unrealistic expectations or an agenda which is non-therapeutic and I am relatively straightforward and unapologetic about correcting patient's misconceptions about the care that is or is not appropriate in the ED.