Archives for 2006

MMR researcher paid by lawyers

via Blacktriangle:

The lead researcher in the “MMR causes autism” paper (since partially retracted) was paid by a legal group suing the manufacturers of the MMR vaccine:

Times OnlineMMR doctor given legal aid thousands

Brian Deer

ANDREW WAKEFIELD, the former surgeon whose campaign linking the MMR vaccine with autism caused a collapse in immunisation rates, was paid more than £400,000 by lawyers trying to prove that the vaccine was unsafe.

The payments, unearthed by The Sunday Times, were part of £3.4m distributed from the legal aid fund to doctors and scientists who had been recruited to support a now failed lawsuit against vaccine manufacturers.

Critics this weekend voiced amazement at the sums, which they said created a clear conflict of interest and were the “financial engine” behind a worldwide alarm over the triple measles, mumps and rubella shot.

Investigation, anyone?

Original Lancet article abstract and the Lancet Editorial on the partial retraction.

Jessica’s Well on Gerald Ford

The best quip I’ve seen so far regarding the recent passing of Gerald Ford is here: Jessica’s Well

Emergency Medicine loses another of its Fathers

Emergency Medicine is unique in that, as the newest specialty, its founders are still alive.  When a resident I heard a good lecture by an ACEP rep (I was tired, and have no idea who they were or their title) about the history of Emergency Medicine, and he was concerned that we were so new as a specialty we didn’t appreciate our thin but important heritage.

Today there’s an obituary in the Washington Post for one of the ACEP founders:

washingtonpost.comDr. Reinald Leidelmeyer, 82, a Fairfax doctor who was a pioneer in the nationwide effort to establish emergency medicine as a specialty, died Dec. 20 of complications from prostate cancer at Inova Fairfax Hospital.

In 1966, Dr. Leidelmeyer wrote an article in the Virginia Medical Monthly outlining six basic requirements for emergency medicine to be regarded as a specialty. The response to the article was positive, and in 1968 he organized the first national meeting of emergency room doctors at a hotel near Fairfax Hospital. Somewhat presumptuously, those doctors — 32 in all, from 18 states — declared themselves the American College of Emergency Physicians.

An interesting life, apparently well-lived.  I and the other Emergency Physicians owe him a debt of gratitude.

New Internist Blog

There’s a new Internist blog, from Texas: THE DOCTOR BLOGGER. Check it out; I like the Dairy Queen story.

Change of Shift

is up, at NeoNurseChic.

US Air Traffic as Flash Animation

It’s even cooler than you think when you add in an imaginative soundtrack.


a one-frame example:

Very, very neat.


Hat tip to the Aerospace Genius.

Coffee and my mind

In cartoon form:


Exactly right.  (Who is watching me?)

Hat tip to reader Big Jim

MedBlogs Grand Rounds 3:14

It’s the End of the Year edition, thoughtfully hosted by Nick at Blogborygmi:

Welcome to Grand Rounds, the collection of the best posts in medical blogging!

Grand Rounds has come a long way since the last time it was hosted here. By my count, eighty-nine unique bloggers have hosted 118 editions. This includes doctors, nurses, students, patients, administrators, analysts, entrepreneurs… with the occasional doula or transplant coordinator or epidemiologist thrown in, for good measure.

And, I’m embarrased to say, I didn’t read the instructions, so I submitted my best of last week, and not the Best of Year.

Thanks again to Nick for getting this all rollong, and I’ll host the Fourth time soon enough.

Charlie Brown Christmas: By the Cast of Scrubs

First of all, although late to the party, I love the TV show Scrubs.  I’m also a lifelong fan of Peanuts.

Then I see there’s a YouTube of the Charlie Brown Peanuts Christmas cartoon voiced by the Scrubs cast, and, bingo! Just so you know, they made their own story, so don’t expect the Charlie Brown you’re used to.


Major Content Warning.  Really, if you’re the Offended Type, spare me the emails, and don’t watch.

Merry Christmas

To you and yours!


(Photo originally here; be sure to check out the captions in the comments).

Beaumont ER Doc and a Warrant: Good for the doc Updated

CNN today has a story with lots of ‘balancing interests’ connotations,to wit:

PORT ARTHUR, Texas (AP) — In the middle of Joshua Bush’s forehead, two inches above his eyes, lies the evidence that prosecutors say could send the teenager to prison for attempted murder: a 9 mm bullet, lodged just under the skin.

Prosecutors say it will prove that Bush, 17, tried to kill the owner of a used-car lot after a robbery in July. And they have obtained a search warrant to extract the slug.

So I’m reading this, thinking to myself, “I pity the ER doc they foist this removal on..”, then read they already tried that:

But a Beaumont doctor determined that small pieces of bone were growing around the slug, and he did not have the proper tools in the emergency room to do it. The doctor said that removal would require surgery under general anesthesia and that no operating rooms were available.

I’ve heard cops are entirely willing to arrest medical types for “obstructing justice” in the ED, usually for not wanting to help with legal blood draws on suspects.  Good for this Emergency Physician for refusing, albeit on a technicality (the doc would need a reason better than “That’s not ethical” to keep from leaving in cuffs), and shame on the Port Arthur PD for foisting this search warrant on the ED: it’s NOT an emergency.  They should have arranged for removal by a qualified doctor well ahead of time, and after letting the doctor have appropriate consultations with his lawyer and ethicists.

And once again, good for the Beaumont ED doc for doing the right thing.

Update 12-22-06: the Legal community is blogging about this, too:

Sui Generis–a New York law blog:

I strongly oppose the prosecution’s position in this case.  In my opinion, the risks, no matter how statistically unlikely, are potentially quite serious and far outweigh any potential benefits of the fishing expedition being carried out by prosecutors.  And, the ethical issues, both medical and legal, are quite complex and consist of innumerable shades of gray, as well.  It’s a slippery slope and the ramifications of allowing this procedure are far reaching.  It’s simply not worth it.

The Volokh Conspiracy:

…the legality of the warrant depends on a pretty context-sensitive balance: on one hand, how much is retrieving the bullet likely to help the government’s case, and on the other hand, how much harm is it likely to cause to the young man who will have the bullet extracted?


Winston involved a search by surgery, but the search in that case was more intrusive than this one appears, and the Supreme Court held that the search was unreasonable because of the risks to the patient. The truth seeking function of the criminal justice system had to take a back seat to the rights of the individual in Winstson’s case.

Will Mr. Bush get the same ruling? From what I’ve read, likely not.

I’m a) still appalled the PD decided an ED was the right place to try to execute this warrant, and b) more and more concerned about a slippery slope wherein medical professionals are compelled, against their will, their ethics, and their Society Statements (update: I cannot find any such statements, which is odd, and tells me we’re crossing a new frontier here) to perform medical procedures for the State.  For instance, there have been a couple of cases recently of death penalty cases where starting an IV was a significant impediment to their execution; imagine this person brought to the ED for a central line so the execution could go forward.

The (completely off point) ACEP Policy on Law Enforcement Information Gathering in the Emergency Department.

Critical Equipment Failure

I was walking into work yesterday, and the very first thing anyone says to me is “the coffee maker is broken”.  I briefly considered leaving (“no coffee, no work”), but steeled myself for the horror of a caffeine-free shift.

Then, I remembered I have resources and a loving family, who I also knew were visiting a Target store at that minute.  Coincidence?  I think not.

An hour later, a new coffee maker for me the department, and I spared my colleagues the discomfort of seeing me in full caffeine withdrawal.

That was close. 

Respectful Insolence with the Weblog Awards "Best Medical Weblog"

Many, many congratulations to Orac for an outstanding Medical Blog!  Wow.



Don’t forget that the Medical Blog Awards are still accepting nominations.

In case you needed another reason to avoid Lybia

Six Resentenced to Death in Libyan AIDS Case –

Six foreign health workers were condemned to death by a Libyan court Tuesday on charges they deliberately infected more than 400 children with the HIV virus, in a lengthy case that has set back Libya’s attempts to repair relations with the United States and Europe. The sentence drew immediate strong condemnation from Washington, European capitals and medical groups, which said the real culprit appeared to be poor hygiene and medical services in the hospital where the children were infected.

In case you haven’t been following this:

Independent medical studies have shown that the infections, which prosecutors allege occurred in the late 1990s at a hospital in the Mediterranean city of Benghazi, predated the 1998 arrival of the six workers at the hospital by at least several years.


Trenchdoc has skills

And he’s got pictures.: Stickin it to Nike with my iPod ? Trench Doc

Me? I’d just wear a GPS thingy, but I’m not in the cult of the iPod, either.