On Breaking One's Neck
. Dr. Arnold Relman
, former Editor in Chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, gives a first-hand account of a catastrophic accident, intensive care, and rehabilitation--as a patient. I am a senior physician with over six decades of experience who has observed his share of critical illness--but only from the doctor's perspective. That changed suddenly and disastrously on the morning of June 27, 2013, ten days after my ninetieth birthday, when I fell down the stairs in my home, broke my neck, and very nearly died. Since then, I have made an astonishing recovery, in the course of which I learned how it feels to be a helpless patient close to death. I also learned some things about the US medical care system that I had never fully appreciated, even though this is a subject that I have studied and written about for many years.
posted by russilwvong
on Jan 19, 2014 -
The Course of Their Lives.
While much in medicine has changed over the last century, the defining course of a first year medical student's education is still 'Gross Anatomy.' This is their hands-on tour of a donated cadaver -- an actual human body -- and is an experience which cannot be replicated by computer models. When Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Mark Johnson came up with the idea of following a med school gross anatomy class for a feature story, his editor challenged him to make it different. So he chose to intertwine the students' stories with that of Geraldine 'Nana' Fotsch, a living future donor, as sort of a stand-in for the cadaver. (Via
. This four-part series contains descriptions of a human dissection. Some may find it disturbing.
) [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Oct 19, 2013 -
It’s not a frequent topic of discussion, but doctors die, too. And they don’t die like the rest of us. What’s unusual about them is not how much treatment they get compared to most Americans, but how little.
How Doctors Die
posted by Foci for Analysis
on Dec 5, 2011 -
A simple question shows how complex the issue is.
Chris at "Cynical C" asks his fellow citizens where they get thier health care (insurance) from and the incredible diversity of the current options and situations is immediately apparent. Quite spontaneously (but surely not unexpectedly), the question of "How much does it cost you?" becomes an essential part of the answers. Outsiders opine and tell stories and commiserate. [more inside]
posted by sid abotu
on Aug 4, 2009 -
In December 2003, Brent Cambron gave himself his first injection of morphine. Save for the fact that he was sticking the needle into his own skin, the motion was familiar--almost rote. Over the course of the previous 17 months, as an anesthesia resident at Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Cambron had given hundreds of injections.
- Going Under
by Jason Zengerle of The New Republic [print version
] is heartbreaking article about the high rates of drug addiction among anesthesiologists. It tells the story of Brent Cambron and his spiral into addiction. His live was also sensitively chronicled in The Boston Globe by Keith O'Brien in Something, anything to stop the pain
]. [more inside]
posted by Kattullus
on Jan 9, 2009 -
The Surgery of Love.
Dr. James C. Burt was an Ohio gynecologist who circumcised over 2000 women without their consent over a period of 22 years. He didn’t operate in secret, and actually published a book about it in 1975, which he called “The Surgery of Love”. He claimed that female genitalia were "structurally inadequate" for intercourse, and that by removing their clitoral hoods and "realigning" the vagina, he could turn women into ”horny little mice” (PDF).
His surgeries often left women with sexual dysfunction, infection and the need for corrective surgery.
But although other doctors in the area knew about him,
they dismissed the problems with a laugh: “Oh, I see Jim Burt got hold of you.” At least 10 women who tried to sue Burt had their cases dismissed when no doctors would testify against him, and when one doctor finally reported Burt to the state medical board after treating one of his victims, he was ostracized by the local medical community for breaking rank.
But the lawsuits, and their attendant publicity, finally caused the Ohio State Medical Board to pressure Burt into voluntarily surrendering his license in 1989.
Further attempts to sue were dismissed because of statutes of limitation and a 1987 law giving hospitals immunity from certain lawsuits.
James Burt retired to a comfortable life in Florida, making no apology.
posted by kyrademon
on Jan 8, 2007 -
Dr. Lisa Marcucci's surgical blog, will give you a lovely preview of exactly what they'll be doing to your guts, from gallbladder surgery
, artery plaque removal
, hemorrhoid removal
, and more. Supplement the text with this extensive collection of surgical videos
(NSFW), and you'll be ready to operate -- or, at least, to understand what'll go on during your operation.
posted by vorfeed
on Dec 18, 2006 -
"Doctor, it hurts when I do that."
Doctors and patients agree - doctors are lousy when it comes to recognizing, diagnosing and treating pain. The AMA developed this free Continuing Medical Education tool (requires Flash) to help docs learn and understand how to deal with pain - but other folks, folks who are now in pain or might someday be in pain, might find it quite interesting as well. All docs in California have to complete this seminar or a similar one by the end of 2006 to get relicensed; the hope is that this will help the docs and the patients who have to deal with pain on a daily basis.
posted by ikkyu2
on Jul 1, 2006 -
is a problem that often prevents doctors from treating immigrant patients effectively. Language and cultural barriers prevent patients from understanding doctors instructions, sharing their symptoms of illness, and even from being examined by the doctor in cases where religious beliefs prohibit contact with someone of the opposite gender.
posted by gregb1007
on Sep 6, 2005 -
Conscience Clauses and Health Care
--"Yes, we need to respect individual freedom of religion. But at what point does it cross the line of not providing essential medical care? At what point is it malpractice?" she asked. "If someone's beliefs interfere with practicing their profession, perhaps they should do something else." The Protection of Conscience Project
feels differently: Protection of Conscience Laws are needed because powerful interests are inclined to force health care workers and others to participate, directly or indirectly, in morally controversial procedures
, while NARAL says: ... Many of these clauses go far beyond respecting individuals' beliefs to the point of harming women by not providing them with full information or access to medical treatment. Medicine, not ideology, should determine medical decisions.
posted by amberglow
on Sep 17, 2004 -
Paracelsus: the mercucial mage.
The Fortean Times' David Hambling on one of the 16th's century's most colorful figures. A rabble-rousing non-conformist medical genuis who arguably was centuries ahead of his time, but also an egomaniac, drunk, alchemist and self-described "Prince of Philosophy and Medicine" and "Monarch of all the Arts"
posted by skallas
on Aug 30, 2002 -
I Am a Racially Profiling Doctor
"In practicing medicine, I am not colorblind. I always take note of my patient's race. So do many of my colleagues. We do it because certain diseases and treatment responses cluster by ethnicity." (NYTimes link)
posted by Irontom
on May 8, 2002 -