Ouch! That Hurts!

Ouch! That Hurts!

  A patient is offered Vicodin (an opioid) at an E.R. for a sprained ankle and level 5 pain. Proponents of the war on drugs (which isn’t winnable) contend that this is inappropriate because of lack of efficacy and the risk of addition/tolerance. As one physician stated (without citing any studies): “Narcotics have no...

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Excessive Medical Treatment?

Excessive Medical Treatment?

Upon reading Tara Parker-Pope‘s article, “Too Much Medical Treatment,” I was moved to compare and contrast my experience at San Francisco Kaiser Medical Center for the same issue: a moderately-severe sprained ankle that occurred on a Sunday. I checked in to the Emergency Room and was  immediately placed in an examining room. A nurse-practitioner...

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The Prognosis: You Know the Diagnosis, Now What?

The Prognosis: You Know the Diagnosis, Now What?

The brave new world of cancer treatment – and prognostic information – was featured in the New York Times: “A Life-Death Predictor Adds to a Cancer’s Strain.” This is notable not only for the novel medical treatment but also for the revelation of practicing physicians’ ethics and the way in which new treatments are...

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An Ethical Question: Whether to Reveal a Devastating Diagnosis

An Ethical Question: Whether to Reveal a Devastating Diagnosis

Suppose you learn that your mother’s longstanding memory problems have been diagnosed as “mild dementia” by her neurologist. You are witnessing her deteriorating cognitive impairment and memory loss and so you meet privately with her doctor. You learn that your mother has Alzheimer’s. The physician counsels postponing this information to your parent because he...

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What is “Informed Consent”?

What is “Informed Consent”?

How Informed is Informed Consent? It depends. The term Informed Consent means that you have been told of the reason for a procedure, the alternatives to the procedure, the risks and benefits, and the likelihood that the procedure will be helpful. The term applies not only to medical care that you need but also...

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Can We Talk?

Can We Talk?

A new report by a division of the AHA agrees with previous research: that effective physician-nurse communication positively impacts patient safety. The research was conducted by HealthGrades, which identified the top performing 5% hospitals in patient safety. Kristin Reed, Vice President of Clinical Quality Programs and author of the study, asserted that it is...

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