Medical News Digest

I perused the CNN health headlines today, and as a public service I’ve condensed the two that got my attention:

Smoking may negate pets’ allergy benefit. Don’t let your pets smoke, especially around the kids.

FDA issues suicide caution for antidepressants. News flash: depressed people sometimes commit suicide.

You’re welcome.


  1. As an E.R. doc, if you want to, could you run out and leap in the helo when there’s a call for some interesting trauma? I know there’s that tiny risk of a crash, but it seems like it would be the kind of exciting thing one would want to become an E.R. doc for in the first place.

    Would your various EM certifications let you do the same kind of thing the paramedic on board is allowed to? (or for some screwy reason, is the paramedic given more rights despite less education and experience.)

  2. Gerald,
    Good questions. I have a friend who works in EM in Little Rock, and one of his jobs is to go on the helo to crash scenes and the like.

    Don’t get me wrong: I have always enjoyed avaition and follow it extensively, and I’d like to goon medevac flights. I just voiced my understanding that there are risks involved. It’s NOT my position that those risks are unjustifiable, just that people need to understand the “what goes up must come down” aspect of flight.

    As for ‘can a Paramedic do more’, physicians are licensed by the State. A physycian can do anything they believe they can medically justify, and then has to deal with the consequences. As an ER doc (and previously a Paramedic) I feel I’d be more than capable to practice emergency medicine in a helo, given some familiarization with the gear, the space inside the bird, and my flight crew partners.

    Thanks for the comment!

  3. I swear there were exceptions to this (tasks that allied healthcare professionals are licensed to do that a physician is not). Neat reply, been reading your blog. You know, for a journal by an EM doc you certainly don’t discuss cases. I have read other journals who discuss pretty much every detail except the name of the patient, sometimes even photos. Not saying you have to go that far…but saying around a year and a half ago, ‘bob’ came in with…. Surely that would protect confidentiality for all practical purposes? I have to confess, I sorta would like to hear about all those blood and guts and weird sexual fetishes that everyone else immeadiatly thinks of when they hear the world “Emergency Room”. Surely you’ve gotten to see your share, and maybe ‘once or twice’ even saved someone’s life.

  4. I have deliberately chosen not to discuss cases. Though it’d be fun, I feel like it would cheapen my interaction with my patients. When I rant, I rant generally, or about topics, not about specific patients.

    I do have cool cases (all docs do), and maybe someday I’ll find a nice way to write about them, but for now I’m happy with what I’ve got.

    And, to my knowledge, docs can do anything any allied health provider can. Doesn’t make it either smart or right, but theirs is the responsibility, so theirs is the right.