Archives for July 2007

Gene for left-handedness is found

Well, now…

BBC NEWS | Health | Gene for left-handedness is found
Gene for left-handedness is found

The Oxford University-led team believe carrying the gene may also slightly raise the risk of developing psychotic mental illness such as schizophrenia.

Given the lefties in my own family, I’m glad we have a genetic explanation.  And, this explains some things…

How to know when your system is efficient

In EM, we’re constantly wondering if we’re seeing patients rapidly enough: nobody wants the MI who’s been sitting in the wating room for an hour, for example.

Today I saw a patient that told me we’re seeing patients rapidly.  A patient called EMS with a somewhat less than urgent complaint, was transported to our ED, dropped off at triage, triaged, and placed in a room.

I still got there in time to see this patient sitting up and eating the middle third of their pint of ice cream, and it was still nice and frozen.

It’s a good system.

NHS Blog Doctor: Time for a break

NHS Blog Doctor: Time for a break
NHS BLOG DOCTOR is taking a break.

After only a few days away, I return to a deluge of emails which, even after the spam filters have done their work, I cannot manage.

A thousand words or so a day, which I have managed usually with pleasure for nineteen months has suddenly become impossibly demanding.
Time to recharge the batteries.

So, NHS BLOG DOCTOR is going into recess.

Have a good summer.

All being well, Dr Crippen will be back in the autumn, batteries recharged and ready for battle. There will still be much to discuss.

Now it’s going to be a long summer.  Come back when you’re ready!

Occasionally I really like people

My wallet beeps.

Well, the wallet doesn’t make a noise, but when I accompany my family to Old Navy or CVS I always set off the theft detectors at the door (on the way in, which is a fun way to get the attention of the cashiers). I know it’s the wallet from the last trip to Old Navy: while the family shopped, I emptied my pockets and went through the detectors until I determined the wallet was the culprit. I thought it might be my car keys, but no. The wallet beeps.

It’s been doing this for months, despite my digging through it many times looking for some magnetized strip, etc. It’s not there. Yet it beeps.

Today, as I entered CVS and my arrival was announced again, the cashier said “Come see me when you leave”, and meant it helpfully. Everything out of the wallet, a spin over the ‘demagnetizer’, and !viola!, when I left, no alarm!

It’s nice to met people who are helpful. I like them a lot, really.

MedNews: Health and Medical News

MedNews: Health and Medical News provides daily health and medical news in dozens of health,
fitness and medical categories. Medical news feeds are also available in
RSS format by category.  The site allows users to clip and save items of
interest into their account, so is popular among researchers.

See if it’s for you.

Musings of a Highly Trained Monkey: Change of Shift: Volume Two, Number Three

Musings of a Highly Trained Monkey: Change of Shift: Volume Two, Number Three

Interesting presentation.  And, when I’m king, white type on a black background will be no more.

2005 CDC ED Visits

CDC: If you subsidize something, you get more of it:


89% of Medicaid / Chip patients visited the ED; 51% of Medicare patients, etc. Hmm. Two-Tier Healthcare

There will always be a two tier health care system.

Part of the liberal idea for universal health care is that because everyone will be guaranteed at least government provided health insurance then everyone will have the same access to and receive the same health care, thereby eliminating inequalities of health care access and delivery. Too bad this is a total fantasy.

Wow, Rangel sounds a bit like Panda. You don’t suppose…

Tour de France: Overall leader Rasmussen pulled from Tour – More Sports – Overall leader Rasmussen pulled from Tour – Wednesday July 25, 2007 11:15PM
GOURETTE, France (AP) — One of its biggest stars is already gone, and now so is the leader of the Tour de France.

Michael Rasmussen was removed from the race by his Rabobank team after winning Wednesday’s stage, a day after Alexandre Vinokourov and his team withdrew when the star cyclist tested positive for a banned blood transfusion.

“Michael Rasmussen has been sent home for violating (the team’s) internal rules,” Rabobank spokesman Jacob Bergsma told The Associated Press by phone.

The good news is, cycling is really trying to fix their doping problem.  The bad news is, this expulsion might not be due to doping:

“Of course I’m clean,” Rasmussen said, after a doping test following Wednesday’s stage win. “Like I said, I’ve been tested 17 times now in less than two weeks. Both the peloton and the public, they’re just taking their frustration out on me now. I mean, all I can say is that by now I had my test number 17 on this Tour, and all of those have come back negative. I don’t feel I can do anymore than that.”

Innocent until proven guilty.  If the team wants to can him for lying to them, that’s their business, but there seems to be more than a little implication that he’s dirty but not caught.  And that’s bad.

Although Rasmussen has not tested positive, some fellow cyclists had openly voiced their skepticism about him.

Fans booed Rasmussen at the start of Wednesday’s stage, and mostly French teams staged a protest to express disgust at the doping scandals that have left cycling’s credibility in tatters. As the starter’s flag came down, dozens of protesting riders stood still as Rasmussen, ace sprinter Tom Boonen and several others began riding away.

Well, if Frenchmen are protesting you, you’re on the right track. The repercussions continue:

All this talk of doping prompted Jean-Francois Lamour, vice president of the World Anti-Doping Agency, to suggest the sport should be yanked from the Olympics. German public broadcasters have stopped airing the race, and one of Switzerland’s biggest newspapers stopped writing about it. The daily Tages Anzeiger said on its Web site Wednesday it will limit its coverage to results and doping stories.

I know next to nothing about sport and drug testing, but this has passed through to surreal…

Vinokourov positive for transfusion, Astana quits Tour

I like the Tour de France, generally like bike riding, but this was unexpected: presents the 94th Tour de France
Cycling News Flash for July 25, 2007

Edited by Laura Weislo
Vinokourov positive for transfusion, Astana quits Tour

The Tour de France was rocked by news that Astana’s battered team leader, Alexandre Vinokourov, tested positive for a homologous blood transfusion after Saturday’s time trial in Albi. L’Equipe reported on Tuesday afternoon that the Kazakh’s blood had shown evidence of a transfusion from another person with a compatible blood type in an analysis done in the Châtenay-Malabry laboratory. The positive test was later confirmed by the Astana team.

Upon receiving the news, the Astana team suspended Vinokourov and quit the Tour de France, according to a statement which read, “According to the ethical code of the Astana Cycling Team, Alexandre Vinokourov has been suspended of the team with immediate effect. The rider asked nevertheless [for] a B-analysis.”

So, how do you catch a same-type transfusion?  New antibodies?

CDC 2005 ED Data

Available here (pdf).

Here’s the first graph:

The rest just flows from there.

No Charges for Dr. Anna Pou

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AP) — A grand jury Tuesday declined to indict Dr. Anna Pou, the surgeon accused of killing four seriously ill patients in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The Orleans Parish grand jury had been investigating the charges since March.

Assistant District Attorney Michael Morales, who conducted the grand jury hearings, had asked the grand jurors to return one charge of second-degree murder and nine of murder conspiracy.

The grand jurors sat calmly while the judge read the possible charges and each response of “no true bill.”


Wife, 2 daughters dead after doctor’s family held hostage –

Wife, 2 daughters dead after doctor’s family held hostage –
CHESHIRE, Connecticut (AP) — At least two men broke into a prominent doctor’s home early Monday, kidnapped a female family member to withdraw money from a bank and then killed his wife and their two daughters, police said.

Utterly horrible.

Bad Ways to Die, Part 137,…

HARLESTON, West Virginia (AP) — A nurse was convicted Friday of killing her husband with paralyzing drugs and setting fire to their house to claim the insurance money.

Michelle Michael, 35, had taken the stand in her own defense and denied killing James Michael.

Authorities determined that the 33-year-old businessman was injected with a fatal dose of rocuronium, a paralyzing drug, as he lay in bed in couple’s Morgantown home in November 2005.

Prosecutors argued that his wife drugged him, left for work, then returned later that morning to set fire to the bed in an effort to cover her tracks.

Rocuronium is a nice little drug, and I’ve used it a few times during intubations, when I need to induce unconsciousness in a patient (with a different drug) and then paralysis, which is the role of rocuronium. I don’t use it much, as in the recommended doses it takes a little longer than I’d usually like for a rapid sequence intubation (I like Sux).

I mention this because the deceased, according to the article, died from rocuronium. As a single agent. So, he died of suffocation due to paralysis, quite possibly awake until the end. And unless she used an IV and a whopping overdosage, it took a few minutes.

Another bad way to die…

Cheney the GI man

I’ll grant you, he’s spent more time in hospitals than most Med Students, but he’s not up to this:

It takes a while to learn to run a colonoscope.