Medicine

Pure Pedantry

Category archives for Medicine

Nature Clinical Practice Neurology has a salient article on ethics and medicine. The article asks the question: is it ethical to confront an individual with whom you do not have an official doctor-patient relationship, if you think they have a medical problem? Should you or should you not tell them if you see a medical…

This is just unbelievable. At a day care center in Arkansas, 10 kids were accidentally given windshield wiper fluid instead of Kool-Aid: Child welfare investigators plan to talk to the owner of an Arkansas daycare center where 10 children were sickened after they were given windshield wiper fluid to drink. “They’ll go out, they’ll get…

Here is a lesson in why defensive medicine should be avoided: it costs a lot, it doesn’t help patients, and it has the potential to hurt them. Chou et al. published a study in the Lancet showing that in patients presenting with lower back pain without serious clinical symptoms (more on this in a second)…

There is a very good article in the NYTimes about whether doctors should inform patients about disparities in care between hospitals: An article published online in October in the journal PLoS Medicine really hit home with me. Noting that the quality of cancer care is uneven, its authors argued that as part of the informed-consent…

PhRMA — the association of pharmaceutical companies — has agreed to a voluntary moratorium on drug paraphernalia given to doctors: Starting Jan. 1, the pharmaceutical industry has agreed to a voluntary moratorium on the kind of branded goodies — Viagra pens, Zoloft soap dispensers, Lipitor mugs — that were meant to foster good will and,…

I was sorry to read over at Megan McArdle’s blog over at the Atlantic yesterday that she has Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and as a consequence has to give up being a vegan. (Her diet was high in soy for protein, and there is some evidence that soy interferes with thyroid function. More on this in a…

Thanksgiving Dinner with a Side of ER

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I was reading the Web this morning, and this story reminded me of a Thanksgiving a couple years ago.

The Ethics of Using Placebos

A survey of American internists and rheumatologists has revealed that over 50% of them regularly prescribe placebos. Tilburt et al. surveyed internists and rheumatologists to see whether they were prescribing placebos, and if so how and what kind they were using. The study, published in BMJ, found the following: 679 physicians (57%) responded to the…

Whenever you are having a debate — particularly a policy debate — it is always important to check your premises. That is why I found this article in the Journal of the American Medical Association refreshing. Emergency Department utilization is clearly on the rise in the US, and this rise in use is leading to…

Would you apply for that job?

USA Today prints a (sort of) joke job description for the next generation of doctors: Idealistic Generation X/Y overachievers with low- to mid-six-figure student loans to work in imploding health care system currently subject to runaway entitlement spending. Future salary to be subject to government whim and guaranteed not to keep up with inflation. Will…