Archives for January 2005

This IS your Liver Donor Card! – Mystery ailment leaves Marine clinging to life

LOMA LINDA, CALIF. – With little time left before his organs would likely fail, a U.S. Marine received a new liver Sunday for a mysterious ailment doctors said would kill him if he didn’t get a transplant.

Doctors operated on Lance Cpl. Chris LeBleu, who had been in a coma and on life support, for nearly 12 hours Sunday after an unidentified donor from New Mexico was found late Saturday night.

Doctors said the procedure went well, said Sgt. Jennie Haskamp, spokeswoman at Twentynine Palms, where Le-Bleu was stationed. He was in critical condition late Sunday.

In the hospital lobby, his 21-year-old wife, Melany, found comfort in photos of her wedding last fall, shortly after Le-Bleu returned from Iraq.

Several of LeBleu’s commanding officers, fellow Marines and other family members huddled with his wife Sunday.

This is terrific news! This young Marine has at least a shot at life, albeit a much different life than he’d want. I was very afraid this story would have an unhappy ending.

I wonder whose life ended in New Mexico, and what family is now grieving for their loved one. I’m not a philosopher, and the calculus of human life is beyond me, but grief and hope are sometimes bitterly intertwined.

God bless the donor’s family, and God bless this young Marine and his wife.

Is this your Liver Donor Card? Part II

The Military Family Network at

Help urgently needed for combat Marine veteran
Story by – Marine Corps News Staff

MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. (Jan. 28, 2005) — A Marine veteran recently returned in September from a successful combat tour in Iraq only to begin a battle for his own life in the United States.

Lance Cpl. Christopher R. LeBleu, a native of Lake Charles, La., is currently in very critical condition in Loma Linda University Hospital, Calif., for an unexplained complete liver failure.

LeBleu returned from Iraq Sept. 9, 2004 where he conducted support and stabilization operations as a rifleman with 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment. The month after his return to the United States, he married his hometown sweetheart, Melany.

The 22-year-old Marine is not expected to live through February, according to the attending physician, Dr. Kenney Ruh. However, LeBleu may recover if a new liver is found, added Ruh.

A liver donor is desperately needed to save LeBleu. Julie Smith, LLUH public affairs, said that the only thing needed for a liver donor is to have a matching blood type. LeBleu is O-positive.

He’s at Loma Linda Medical Center, where they perform transplants like this. He needs a “whole-liver” transplant rather than a partial, so it requires a deceased donor.

As a Lance Corporal, he cannot afford billboards to heighten awareness, so consider this my billboard for him.

via Marine Corps Moms

Urologic Dysfunction


As far as I can tell: the original Urology match on January 24th left several prominent schools with unfilled positions. The odds are strongly against places like Hopkins and Baylor having unfilled spots, when so many excellent applicants rank them highly.

A re-match occurred on the 27th. I don’t know if this kind of error has ever happened before.

Wow. Spend 4 years in medical school, put your money and blind faith in the system, and watch it fail.

The good news is that they’ve re-run the urology match; the bad news is that it’s caused not just a little anxiety among the applicants. Read the whole post to see.

via Cut to Cure

Rabies Talk

This morning, after a modestly long night shift, I was back at the hospital to give a lecture to a regional nursing symposium. These are quite well attended, and I am told they had about 195 pre-registered; from the crowd I saw, they had that and more.

A well-attended lecture

Oh, I was there after a night shift because I requested the wrong day off. I got the requested day off, but was too embarrased to make changes in the schedule to compensate for my screw up.

The topic of the talk was rabies, an ancient plague that is endemic here in Heaven (Texas, for those unfamiliar with geography). I enjoyed it, and hope the audience did too.

I am chagrined, though, that I forgot to tell my most humanizing story about rabies (I don’t seem very human, but I can be, or at least I have a story that makes me sound human).

When I was but a pup, somewhere in the 11-13 range, I saw a movie that had a subplot about a person who contracted rabies from an infected wild animal. It scared me witless. I was terrified I would get rabies, and be turned into the foaming, convulsive person on the screen. I mean, I was scared in the way that kids are: it was real to me, completely stupid in retrospect, and doesn’t make the fear then less real.

I was a geek even then, so I read about rabies in the World Book Encyclopedia, circa 1968(?). I read about hydrophobia (fear of water) being a hallmark sign of the disease, but was not calmed. However, I did decide on a test: if I could drink water I was demonstrably not hydrophobic, and therefore did not have rabies!

I think I got up every night for 2 weeks, scared I had the dread rabies, and poured myself a Dixie cup of water from the bathroom sink. Drinking it, I was relieved I had dodged the bullet that night, and would see morning. Silly now, but vital then.

Anyway, I enjoy speaking (I get to release my inner smart-ass) and the photo is of the crowd for the speaker who followed my warmup act.

Thanks for coming!

More Identity Theft Offline Than Online-Study

Yahoo! News – More Identity Theft Offline Than Online-Study

Federal regulators warn that the Internet is the thriving frontier for identity theft, but 72 percent of the thefts of personal information for scams last year was done offline, a new report says.

Identity theft — the practice of stealing someone’s personal information and running up bills in their name — cost Americans $52.6 billion last year, the report says.

Thieves got their victims’ bank or credit information online in just 12 percent of the cases.

Identity thieves aren’t making a killing electronically — they’re picking through trash and thumbing through lost or stolen wallets,…

Yeah, it bugs me those numbers as a percentage don’t get to 100, but I can live with it.

I have family members (hi, mom!) who cannot believe how much of my life goes online, including my buying and bill-paying. Some is discomfort with the truly new (so, I push this button and all my money vanishes to where?) to fear of the Dread Internet Pirate.

DIPs exist, but are less common than the old fashioned theives. Just thought you should know.

Mobile virus infects Lexus cars

This belongs here because all docs drive Lexus cars, right?

SC Magazine

Lexus cars may be vulnerable to viruses that infect them via mobile phones. Landcruiser 100 models LX470 and LS430 have been discovered with infected operating systems that transfer within a range of 15 feet.

“If infected mobile devices are scary, just thinking about an infected onboard computer..,” said Eugene Kaspersky, head of anti-virus research at Russian firm Kaspersky. “We do know that car manufacturers are integrating existing operating systems into their onboard computers (take the Fiat and Microsoft deal, for instance).”

It is understood the virus could affect the navigation system of the Lexus models, it transfers onto them via a Bluetooth mobile phone connection. It is still unclear which operating system the cars in question use.

I’ve given this about 20 seconds of thought, and am still wondering why anyone would go to the trouble of writing a virus to screw up a Lexus.

The only answer I come up with is they’re trying to hack the security system, to make it easier to steal. Nothing else makes sense, unless it’s kids trying to prove they can break something.

Glad my car isn’t bluetooth capable. I’d be turning it off.

Update: Or, it’s a competitor (Mercedes, Porsche, Buick (snicker)).

Bill Gates and Vaccinations

Bill Gates gets a lot of fully justifiable grief for his companies’ business practices, but not enough credit for his philanthropic giving. His family’s foundation has given $750 million for vaccination programs in the undeveloped world.

Yahoo! News – Gates foundation injects 750 million dollars for infant vaccination

The foundation run by American computer software multi-billionaire Bill Gates is to donate 750 million dollars (575 million euros) over 10 years for worldwide infant vaccination.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation said the money would go to the Geneva-based Global Alliance for Vaccination and Immunisation (GAVI), a partner of the World Health Organisation.

“In just five years, GAVIs efforts have saved hundreds of thousands of childrens lives, and its work in the coming years will save millions more,” said Bill Gates, founder and president of the software giant Microsoft.

“GAVI will use the funds announced today to support national immunization programs in 72 of the worlds poorest countries,” he said in a statement. “Supporting childrens immunization is undoubtedly the best investment weve ever made.”

I’m completely impressed with this kind of giving. He could use his money to build art galleries and stuff them with paintings only a sliver of the world cares about, making sure his name is famous forever.

Instead, he’s giving money away, through a multinational intermediary group, to vaccinate kids that won’t get to use a computer for years, if they live that long. Those kids won’t know who paid for their vaccines, and their parents won’t care, they’ll just be glad to have healthy, immunized kids.

Good for Bill and Melinda Gates.

MedBlogs Grand Rounds XVIII

A Chance to Cut is a Chance to Cure

Early in the morning before the sun is up, the pre-rounds have already been done and the disturbed patients have returned to their slumber. No drug-rep money for this conference so the breakfast fare is the standard plastic cups of juice, bad coffee, and Sam’s Club danish. The auditorium fills up with attendings, residents, and students. Their place on the hierarchy can be determined by their state of dress, (unless there are resident interviewees present and they will be the best dressed of all). At the appointed hour the presenter arises to the podium and Grand Rounds, surgical style, kicks off:

More excellence, as always.

Platoon Leader awarded Silver Star

1st Infantry Division News

FORWARD OPERATING BASE SCUNION, BA’QUBAH, Iraq — After leading his platoon through a fierce onslaught, enemy fire pounding them from every direction, 1st Lt. Neil Prakash went back in for more.
First Infantry Division Commander Maj. Gen. John R.S. Batiste joined Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 63rd Armor Regiment at FOB Scunion Jan. 14 to award this 24-year-old tank platoon leader one of the military’s highest honors – the Silver Star Medal.
“An incredible officer, his accomplishments on 24 June are clearly heroic,” said Batiste. “He sets a very high standard for every one of us. I guarantee veterans of the past are standing very tall right now.”

Oh, and he’s a blogger! His citation is amazing, and he’s just what makes America great (the article explains that).

via InstaPundit

Johnny Carson

I was going to write about his passing, then read a post and the following comments that say what I would, could I write:Vodkapundit – Johnny.

Fair winds and following seas, sailor.

Another interesting blog link

Medisiinarin p?iv?kirja

tiistai, tammikuu 18, 2005
Aikaiset her?tykset ovat t??ll? taas
Ei, en todellakaan ole aamuihminen. Aikaiset her?tykset ja uni silm?ss? laitokselle raahautumiset alkoivat maanantaina HAIT-jakson…

No, I can’t read it either. It’s the blog of a Finnish med student, who apparently has a strong resemblance to George Clooney.

It’s a small world, and the internet is making it smaller.

Hand Cleaning Snot

Really, isn’t that what our new “waterless hand cleaner” looks like?

Hand Cleaning Snot

I decided to call it that when I had a dispenser malfunction and got some on my pristine lab coat, then found it a few minutes later but didn’t know what it was. “Mucous” was the polite version of my initial eval, then I figured it out the next time I used the same dispenser, having an ‘aha’ moment with the coat.

Yeah, I’ll still use it, but I’m not happy about its appearance.

JibJab: Second Term Everyone else will be linking to this, so why not me? JibJb has their latest out, and literally just in time for the inaguration.

Funny, like the others.

Der Spiegel Online links to the C-130 Pics

Welcome, Der Spiegel visitors!

Today, I got two heads-up in the comments of a post about C-130 crash photos posted here January the 7th.

Der Spiegel Online picked up the story, and published the photos, with as the source caption (which is how the commenters found their way here).

I have no idea what the article says, as my German is non-existent. Another blog link in a language I don’t speak. I sense a theme for the week…

Update: ran the above through a Bablefish translation, and it’s essentially the same story, citing Aviation Week & Space Technology as the source of the story.

More bad reasons to bring your child to the ER

From an Undislosed Location

More bad reasons to bring your child to the ER

1. For crying for a half hour, then sleeping, then crying again (infants tend to do this)
2. For vomiting…once

Good, I’m not the only one making these lists…

via Shrinkette