Archives for January 2005

Marines Literally Under Fire

Well, at least next to one…
Hoo RahWhen help arrived, the Marines continued doing their part at the scene of the accident by directing traffic and assisting with emergency vehicles.

“They were working on him when we arrived,” said Westport Fire Chief, Jim Westover to the Press- Republican. “They grabbed gear from the ambulance and kept working. They were incredible.” …

These young Marines charged into a fuel truck on fire to pull the driver to safety. Incredible. I sincerely hope they’re put up for a commendation, and that the “unidentified truck driver” is rewarded similarly.

via Marine Corps Moms

Military Censorship Closes Medical Blog

Mudville Gazette

A Bucks County military doctor serving in Iraq says he was forced to shut down his Internet war diary last week after Army officials decided his gripping accounts of frontline medicine constituted a breach of Army regulations.
Maj. Michael Cohen, a doctor with the 67th Combat Support Hospital unit, had chronicled the bloody aftermath of the Dec. 21 mess-hall bombing in Mosul that killed 22. That account and 12 months of other postings on his Web log,, were replaced with a short notice:

“Levels above me have ordered, yes ORDERED, me to shut down this Web site. They cite that the information contained in these pages violates several Army Regulations,” Cohen wrote, adding that he disagreed with the ban…

This is the kind of crap that drove me out of the service. Some pinhead gets a bug in their ass, and we’re all expected to squirm.

I hope he keeps some sort of journal and publishes it when he’s out of the service (this should help the military doc reserve retention, eh?). Dumbasses. Quote me.

Condom testing

I have never wanted to blog about condoms, and I do so now only because it appeals to my sense of irony: – Condom testing reveals best brands – Jan 4, 2005

A melon-colored model distributed by Planned Parenthood performed the worst, bursting during a test in which the latex condoms were filled with air.

Well, now. This is quite amusing, but not as amusing as one of the last paragraphs:

While abstinence has a 0 percent failure rate, doing nothing to prevent pregnancy has an 85 percent failure rate, the group found.

I wonder who came up with that statistic. Many people “try” abstinence, and a lot of them are called “parents”.

OK, no more condom blogging for a while. Or abstinence blogging, for that matter.

Jigsaw puzzles and personalities

BBC NEWS | Health | ‘Jigsaw plan’ reveals personality

The researchers said examining how people tackle jigsaws, alone and with others, can give clues as to how people behave in such situations.

Count me a “border obsessive”, but I’m not a hoarder.

via Kevin, MD

MedBlogs Grand Rounds XV

I want to thank all those who submitted material for this week. The issues covered were so varied that I found it difficult to organize it all into topics but I tried to do so anyway. I hope the length of this Grand Rounds is not too long. I thought it would be more helpful for the reader if I included more information about each post and even included some interesting choice quotes from the article.

Dr. Rangel has applied himself, and this is an excellently prepared and presented Grand Rounds.

Go, and read.

2004 Medical Weblog Awards: Polls are Open!

The 2004 Medical Weblog Awards are now open for voting, in the following categories:

2004 Medblogs Awards

.: Best Medical Weblog
.: Best New Medical Weblog (established in 2004)
.: Best Clinical Sciences Weblog
.: Best Health Policies/Ethics Weblog

Yours truly is nominated for Best Medical Weblog, if you wondered.

Voting ends midnight on Sunday, January 16, 2005 (PST), so you’d better get with it if you want to vote.
I’m closing the comments here. Don’t vote here, go to Echo Journal and vote there!

“Doctor, I’m having chest pain…”

…was the chief complaint of a nice fellow the other evening, but in Spanish, so there was a lot of hand waving and pointing going on. He looked a little familiar, but I couldn’t place him or his spouse. (An aside: I recognize faces fairly often, but not the context in which I saw them, so this isn’t unusual for me, at all).

An hour or so later, as some of the (completely normal) test results were coming back, I had the requested old records and a professional interpreter, so we went back to the patients’ room.

As the interpreter is going back through the complaint, allergies, etc., I’m scanning the most recent admission history, and realize this was my patient three weeks ago. Not just that, this patient required CPR twice while in the ED, and I spent about an hour at the bedside then, working hard to keep him alive. No wonder he looked a little familiar.

So, we return to the chief complaint, ‘chest pain’, and it’s chest wall pain, worse with deep breaths. He says it’s been getting better since he ‘woke up’ about a week ago, but it still bothered him, and the family made him come in a get it checked out, as they’d had plenty of worries about him already.

I explained to him what had happened ‘while he was out’, and described the CPR he’d gotten. That was the first he’d known of that, and was more than a little surprised. So, his chest pain was caused by CPR. He was relieved, and went home to follow up with his doctor.

The family was very gratifyingly grateful, which makes me uncomfortable in some weird way. I’m used to criticism and disappointment from patients, and I tend to shrug off the occasional compliment. This was no different, but it did make me feel good that what we do in the ED had really made a difference, had saved this man with a family who cared for him, and that except for some chest wall pain he was doing great!

The rest of that shift was terrific. Sometimes chest pain can be a reminder that it’s good to be alive.

also posted to LingualNerve

…and good riddance – So much for the school milk carton – Dec 29, 2004

…Encouraged by a milk industry study that shows children drink more dairy when it comes in round plastic bottles, a growing number of schools are ditching those clumsy paper half-pint cartons many of us grew up with.

“Those damn square containers are awfully hard for kids,” says New Hampshire Agriculture Commissioner Steve Taylor, who has watched the trend spread to some 320 schools in New England. “Teachers say you can spend the whole lunch period just walking around and opening those containers.”

Good idea: easier to drink the milk if the kids can actually get to it!

My elder kids went through school during the ‘plastic bag’ period, and though the milk could be drunk, it was just very unappealing to drink anything from a plastic bag (per my kids). Now we’ll hear how the round bottles are ecologically unsound. My families’ answer: pack your own lunch. You know what you’re getting and you don’t pack things you cannot get into.

Gumball IV

I got this funny gift from one of my excellent aunts, and said I’d take it to work in the ED, for fun.

It was enjoyed by all, so much so I have no idea where it is now, but I have this terrific photo to remember it by:

infuse the sweet, sweet gumballs

Thanks for the gift, and thanks to my valued colleague for the pose!