Archive for patient safety

When humanity transcends global politics

A recent Boston Globe story just blew me away.  Amid the usual uninspiring tales of  the fiscal cliff, famine in Africa, and the overuse of antipsychotics in elderly nursing home patients, today’s op-ed page featured a story of extraordinary human kindness.

It’s a story about a boy. But because the boy is Palestinian, his story is intertwined with geopolitics. The boy was born terribly ill. He got treatment, for years, at an Israeli hospital, financed largely by the Israeli government. And when Israeli doctors felt they couldn’t perform the complicated surgery he needed, they turned to Boston Children’s Hospital, and to a group of mostly Jewish benefactors.  They came together, across borders and boundaries, to save a boy — but they were also well aware of the statement they were making.   Read Joanna Weiss’  beautifully told story here:

The Smoking Gun

A just-breaking piece in the Lancet suggests that in the UK, patients who receive the lungs of smokers have a better overall chance of survival than those who remain on waiting lists, despite the fact that they tend to survive for a shorter period after transplantation than those who receive the lungs of non-smokers.   While this intuitively makes sense to me, it still gives me the creeps! Read more

Taking the Patient Into Consideration

I just read a very thought-provoking article in a recent New England Journal of Medicine that discussed the concept of goal-oriented patient care. Read more

The Patients Have Spoken…

In overwhelming numbers, patients express interest in exploring the notes that their primary doctors write about them after an office visit, but doctors worry about the impact of such transparency on their patients and on their own workflow, according to a study just published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Read more

When “More” is not “Better”

Once again, it appears that ‘more’ medical care is not necessarily the ‘best’ medical care. Read more

Do We Really Need to Screen All Children for High Cholesterol?

An expert panel has recently recommended that all children, regardless of family history, undergo universal screening for elevated cholesterol levels. The panel recommends that adolescents undergo lipid screening for non-fasting non-HDL-cholesterol levels or a fasting lipid panel between the ages of 9 and 11 years followed by another full lipid screening test between 18 and 21 years of age. Read more

Revisiting the Mammography Controversy

Great controversy ensued in 2009 when the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended that asymptomatic women undergo mammography every 2 years starting at age 50.  A new study sheds some surprising light on the fall-out from those recommendations.
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Profit vs. the Public Good

Kudos to our friends in California for banning young people under the age of 18 from tanning salons.   With today’s early release of CDC data reinforcing that melanoma is the third most common cancer in adolescents and the fact that intentional sun exposure is the most preventable risk factor, I applaud the California legislature for their forward thinking.   Read more

When the Hype Outpaces the Medical Evidence

What’s a responsible healthcare provider to do when the hype for an unproven medical procedure far exceeds the evidence?   Read more

Free Webinar Series for People with MS

The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America and the National Disability Institute are presenting a free, four-part webinar series designed to assist the MS community in learning about strategies to protect and improve their financial well-being.  For more information, go to:

Helping Patients Make Sense of Cancer Treatment Options

For some healthcare providers, communicating with patients can be a challenge in and of itself.  And presenting bad news or complicated treatment options makes that challenge even more difficult. Read more

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