Grand Rounds Vol. 6 No. 8

Grand Rounds Vol. 6 No. 8

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Welcome to Grand Rounds.  With Thanksgiving rapidly approaching, we thought we’d get you in the spirit by highlighting articles that involve thankfulness and gratitude.

How To Cope With Pain brings us a truly amazing video.  It’s a reminder to be thankful for all that we have, and for the things in life (like this video) that inspire us.  It’s well worth the five minutes it takes to watch it.

Amy Tenderich of Diabetes Mine shares a “would you rather…?” moment from her 9-year old daughter.  It’s a poignant reminder, seen through the eyes of a child, that all of the parts of our lives – even the bad parts – combine to make us who we are.

Kerri Sparling, of Six Until Me, has a very moving story about her pregnancy and how the online diabetes community has helped her along the way.  Kerri has put an immense amount of effort into getting her body ready for a baby, and it’s wonderful to know that things are going well for her and her husband as they expand their family.

The Hippocratic Oaf gives us some glimpses of life as a medical student, detailing interactions with patients and highlighting incidents that remind him to be grateful for his own life and health.

The rest of the articles cover a wide range of subjects, from the perspectives of patients, doctors, nurses, and policy makers.  Read on…

Dr. Val Jones, writing at Get Better Health, has written a very insightful article about how medical malpractice insurance premiums make it nearly impossible for primary care doctors to practice part time.  The premiums aren’t affordable unless the doctor is a specialist, or a full-time PCP.  She points out that our PCP shortage could be remedied by adding more part-time docs.  But in order to do that, malpractice premiums have to become more reasonable.  And in order for that to happen, we need tort reform.  Hopefully the lawmakers are listening.  Maybe if they’re trying to find a PCP in Washington DC they’ll notice the problem Dr. Val describes.

Health Business Blog’s David Williams brings us an interview he did with Dr. Henry Anaya of the VA, a research scientist working with HIV.  Dr. Anaya describes new rules at the VA that require less paperwork in order to give consent for an HIV test, and the benefits of a rapid result HIV test that is done with a swab instead of a needle, with results in 20 minutes.

Dr Rich, writing at The Covert Rationing Blog, gives us a very colorful depiction of the migration of cardiologists to other specialties.  It conjures up images of marauding Huns and defeated Roman Empires.  But in addition to the Western Civilization lesson, it brings up several good points about the territorial nature of specialists, the Medicare reimbursement cuts for certain cardiology procedures, and the options that are available for doctors seeking to replace lost income once the Medicare cuts take effect.

Lauren, from Novel Patient, describes her recent visit to a Sjogren’s specialist.  Instead of getting the answers she was looking for, she is now on a quest for a new diagnosis, as the specialist things there is an underlying condition.  While she’s in the midst of such a frustrating situation, Lauren manages to keep a positive outlook.  We wish you well Lauren, and hopefully the visit to Johns Hopkins will provide some answers.

Barb Olson, of Florence Dot Com, writes a very interesting article about a survey of 1000 non-profit hospital board chairs regarding the quality of care that their hospitals delivered.  Only 1% rated the quality of care at their hospitals as worse or much worse than a typical hospital.  But as Nurse Olson points out, it’s typical for people to overestimate their own positive attributes when self-evaluating (the Lake Wobegon Effect).  And in addition, the hospital board chairs generally weren’t well trained on quality measures, so it’s hard to expect them to have a clear understanding of what constitutes quality of care.  Good food for thought for people who are responsible for improving quality of care standards at our nation’s hospitals.

Clinical Cases and Images Blog has an article about a study showing that for married couples, having children has a positive impact on life satisfaction – and that the level of satisfaction increases with the number of children.  I know that our son has added a great deal of happiness to our lives, but I don’t think I’ll test this theory by having a dozen children!

Laika Spoetnik of Laika’s MedLibLog is making it easy for people to combine social networking with an interest in science and medicine.  She’s created Twitter lists pertaining to biomedical journals, medical journals, and scientific journals – making it easy for a person interested in one or all of those subjects to find up-to-the minute articles and commentary.

Dr. Jolie Bookspan, the Fitness Fixer, brings us a detailed post about how to look upward without placing strain on our necks.  I like the part about how our necks are not Pez dispensers – good visual image.  The article is a good reminder that we need to use proper form in all of our daily activities, not just while we’re at the gym.

Nancy Brown, PhD, of Teen Health 411, brings us some insight into what teens want when it comes to their relationships with their parents.  If we think back to our own teen years, I imagine we can all relate.

InsideSurgery has written about Dr. Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter.  The article delves into the responsibility that doctors have for their patients, and the moral obligation they have to seek help for themselves if they feel that they are being overwhelmed by their responsibilities.  In addition, the article address the fact that physicians who get their training paid for by the military have to expect that during their required years of service to the military, there may be a war, and they may be deployed.  Especially during times of peace, this is food for thought for anyone who would consider having the military pay for their training in return for military service.

Healthline’s Dr. Paul Auerback writes about how physicians who receive training in high-tech environments and then go on to work in settings with less technology often feel uncomfortable about their ability to provide quality care to their patients.  Most teaching hospitals are more technologically advanced then the average small town hospital or clinic where the doctor might end up working, so it might be advisable for the teaching hospitals to incorporate some low-tech training for their students, in order to better prepare them for situations where they might need to improvise in order to help a patient.

InsureBlog’s Hank Stern brings us a very interesting article about a British hospital that will no longer admit expectant mothers with a BMI of more than 34 (210 pounds for a 5′6″ woman).  The hospital’s labor and delivery unit is run by midwives, and not high-tech.  Because they have patients who want to delivery in a low-tech setting (which I can very much understand), they have no plans to make the facility more capable of handling complicated births.  In addition, one has to assume that there would be significant expense involved in making the hospital equipped to handle birth complications.  The ban on very obese mothers (the lower edge of obesity is defined as a BMI of 30) has to do with the higher risk of delivery complications associated with obesity.  I can understand the hospital’s position, but it seems that it would make more sense to go on a case-by-case basis, evaluating the mother’s health during her pregnancy to see if complications arise (for thin mothers, as well as obese ones).  If they do, it makes sense to have them deliver at a hospital that is better equipped to handle complicated deliveries.  It seems that this might serve their purpose better than a blanket ban on all mothers with a BMI over 34.

Dr. Catherine Busch of Child Psych explains the impacts of the mental health parity law that was passed last year.  The law takes effect on January 1, 1020, and will apply to group health insurance policies covering more than 50 employees.  Individual and small group plans are not required to comply with the law, and the law does not require policies – even for large groups – to offer mental health services.  If they do offer mental health services, the benefits have to be equal to the coverage offered for any other medical condition, but we might start to see policies discontinuing their mental health benefits all together under the new law.  Time will tell.

Eve Harris, writing at A Healthy Piece Of My Mind, gives us a clip of comedians Larry David and George Lopez discussing the results of an ancestry DNA test.  It’s lighthearted, but does make one wonder about the accuracy of direct-to-consumer DNA testing that claims to be able to scientifically determine our ancestry.

HealthBlawg’s David Harlow gives us an intro to what he calls Son of HIPAA – the new federal regulations that went into effect in September regarding protected health information and how data breaches are to be handled and reported.  As medical data is increasingly stored and transmitted electronically, these rules are both necessary and cumbersome, depending on your perspective.  David’s article is a good primer for providers and patients alike.

Allergy Notes explains that IL-33 is a newly-discovered marker of severe asthma.  In a study of people with mild, moderate, and severe asthma, along with non-asthmatic control subjects, those with asthma showed higher levels of IL-33 than those without, and the difference was especially pronounced in cases of severe asthma.

Elyse Nielsen, writing at AntiClue, details the information technology component of opening a new hospital.  One of the aspects that stood out for me was that we should work to eliminate multiple systems that serve the same purpose.  IT is the way of the future in medicine, and much has been said about the ability of technologically advanced systems to save health care dollars.  But this will be especially true if we make sure that our IT systems are as efficient as possible, with no redundancy.

Ryan DuBosar, writing at ACP Hospitalist, tells us about the results of a study that indicates that men with sleep apnea who are treated with nasal positive airway pressure (NPAP) improve their golf handicaps compared with control subjects.  Not surprising, since a better night’s sleep is probably linked to improved performance in nearly every activity.  But promises of a better golf game might make people more likely to be compliant with their treatment.

Laurie Edwards, writing at A Chronic Dose, reminds us all that unsolicited advice is rarely appreciated.  The H1N1 vaccine (along with the seasonal flu shot and pretty much any other vaccine you can think of) is a controversial topic, and it gets people fired up.  But each of us need to make our own decisions, for ourselves and our children, regarding whether to get the shot.  Our health care providers can be expected to weigh in with advice – that’s their job.  But no matter how strongly any of us feel one way or another about the vaccine, it’s not right to give unsolicited advice to other people, especially when we know nothing about their medical history.

Dr. Charles, of The Examining Room, has a very thorough article about Desiree Jennings, the Redskins cheerleader who was supposedly stricken with dystonia following a seasonal flu vaccine in August.  I remember seeing the clip on the news of Desiree, but hadn’t followed the story since then.  Dr. Charles’ article uncovers quite a few details that are worth reading.

ACP Internist’s Ryan DuBosar explains how easy it was for him to get the H1N1 vaccine.   He was able to get it at the county clinic without even standing in line – even though his baby’s pediatrician and his family doctor didn’t have the vaccine available at all.  It does seem to be pretty random in terms of where the vaccine is available and to whom.  In our own family, we have childless adults who have been able to walk right into their doctor’s office and get the shot, along with families with small children who were told they had to continue waiting.

Thanks to everyone who submitted articles for this edition of Grand Rounds.  They were a pleasure to read, and we’re honored to be your hosts this week.  Grand Rounds next week will be hosted by How to Cope with Pain.

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Posted on November 14th, 2009 by admin

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