White Coat Underground

Archives for January, 2010

This is a special shout out to the doctors and scientists out there. Everything we do in our fields has repercussions, often unexpected ones. Because of this, we strive to practice ethically to help prevent or minimize negative repercussions. This discussion comes up specifically as an epiphenomenon of the release of The Immortal Life of…

Saturday miscellania

It’s a cold day here in Lake Woebegone southeast Michigan. I’m looking out the kitchen window at the thermometer: +11 F, which is apparently the same -11 C. From my kitchen table, I can see the neighbors let out the dog, who seems unfazed by the cold. He’s some sort of little fuzzy white dog…

Whose demons?

“…It never was our guise  To slight the poor, or aught humane despise:  For Jove unfold our hospitable door,  ‘Tis Jove that sends the stranger and the poor…” —Homer: The Odyssey, Translation by Alexander Pope A few weeks ago, Drugmonkey wrote a piece about perceptions of drug users.  Specifically, the study looked at how mental…

Attention, Geekoverse!

I’m hard on hardware, apparently. My current computer, an hp tablet, is falling apart. I need to start thinking about replacement. Cost is the number one issue, so I was thinking about an Acer or a Dell Mini or similar product. I use my computer all day, every day, for work and for writing. My…

Outbreak! (again…)

Salmonella is lots of fun. Human infection usually involves fever, abdominal cramping, and diarrhea, which is often bloody. Salmonella infections are reasonably common, especially food-borne outbreaks. It’s unknown exactly how many people in the U.S. suffer from salmonellosis each year since many probably never seek medical care or never have a stool culture done. The…

Why did they have to tell me about Sizer?

After learning of the British vicar who sent the cops after a blogger, I decided to read up a bit more about this guy. Sizer is a Mideast activist. By “activist”, I mean that he sees the State of Israel as an abomination. He has revisionist ideas about Middle East history which he feels was…

From my pal Arikia, I learned of a disturbing case in the UK. A blogger over there has been posting information about Stephen Sizer, an Anglican vicar and holocaust denier. The vicar apparently felt so threatened by the dissemination of his own ideas that he called the cops. According to various news and blog reports,…

Of checklists and tragedies

In The Checklist Manifesto (Amazon, Borders, b&n), Dr. Atul Gawande expands on his previous writing about the work of Dr. Peter Pronovost. Pronovost developed a system to help reduce complications of hospital care, such as infected venous catheters. This system has been very successful.  It is based on the idea that some tasks are simply…

Bad Touching

Tragedy can bring out the best and the worst in humanity. The Haitian earthquake has seen an outpouring money (the most needed type of aid) and other emergency aid. A few days ago I pondered what sort of quackery would emerge to fill a need that doesn’t exist. Homeopaths responded, of course, and while clean…

Overheard on the internets

It’s funny because it’s true.