Archives for November 2008

Addicted to Medblogs: Dr. November is . . . Dr. Anonymous

Addicted to Medblogs: Dr. November is . . . Dr. Anonymous

Another in the series.  No Nike gear in his picture though, so I’m not sure it’s him.

2008 Medical Sci-Fi Contest: Please Meet the Stories! – Medgadget –

2008 Medical Sci-Fi Contest: Please Meet the Stories! – Medgadget –
And now to the winner. By a majority decision, the winner of the 2008 Medgadget’s Sci-Fi Award is..

Go have a look, and read them.  Thanks to MedGadget for holding the contest, and for allowing me to judge.

Wisdom from the wide, weird world of the emergency room… at

Wisdom from the wide, weird world of the emergency room… at

Hahaha.  Very nice…

State Helicopters Are Flying Much Less After Fatal Crash in Pr. George’s –

State Helicopters Are Flying Much Less After Fatal Crash in Pr. George’s –
Maryland has seen a dramatic drop in the number of patients flown to hospitals since the September crash of a Maryland State Police helicopter killed three rescue workers and a patient.

If the trend holds, there will be fewer than 1,700 air transports in the 12 months following the September crash, compared with about 4,100 in fiscal 2008. The state’s aeromedical director, Douglas J. Floccare, told the experts yesterday that he worries that a “skittishness” among ambulance crews might have led them to avoid necessary air transports.

So, either patients aren’t being flown who should be now, or patients who shouldn’t have been were being flown before.  (Alternately, there are fewer injuries and illnesses than before, but that’s unlikely).  My money is on overuse, but we’ll probably never know.

Blogs and gender

There is some gender disorder elsewhere in the medblogosphere, but not here:


More than 83% actually, but given the horrible returns of some bloggers, I won’t make a big deal of it.

via Scalpel

What’s my Blog-style?

Per the Typealyzer I’m a Guardian:

The organizing and efficient type. They are especially attuned to setting goals and managing available resources to get the job done. Once they´ve made up their mind on something, it can be quite difficult to convince otherwise. They listen to hard facts and can have a hard time accepting new or innovative ways of doing things.
The Guardians are often happy working in highly structured work environments where everyone knows the rules of the job. They respect authority and are loyal team players.

Well, I could quibble around the edges, but that seems about right.  I think this is the digital equivalent of the sheepdog, and I do seem to fit that.

via WhiteCoat Rants

Wealthy Corporate Beggars and Congressional Hypocrites

Political post, feel free to skip.

The CEO’s of the Big 3 automakers went hat in hand before Congress to plead for unearned taxpayer dollars to continue their operations.  Apparently their plan was ‘give us 25Bn and we’ll see that it’s spent properly’.  As a business proposition that seems lacking, and thy were sent away empty handed.  Good.

But there was a bit of hypocritical theater by some goofy congressman, a ‘show of hands of those that came here on a biz jet’ or somesuch.  Of course, these CEO’s all make a heck of a lot of money and haven’t flown commercial since they were Senior VP’s.  This is common in the world of the Big Money CEO’s, and was a spectacularly tone-deaf thing to do when pleading for other peoples’ money as a handout.

Yet, the hypocrisy award goes to a congress which yearly racks up Trillion dollar deficits hectoring business owners for flying corporate jets.  I’d have given a lot of money to have one of the Big 3 CEOs ask “Congressmen, I’d like to see a show of hands of those who rode the bus to work, given the terrific job you’ve done of generating massive budget deficits”.

I can dream.

Half of primary-care doctors in survey would leave medicine –

Half of primary-care doctors in survey would leave medicine –
(CNN) — Nearly half the respondents in a survey of U.S. primary care physicians said that they would seriously consider getting out of the medical business within the next three years if they had an alternative.

Just half?

Movin’ Meat: Private payers: the unlevel playing field

Movin’ Meat: Private payers: the unlevel playing field
A Tour de Force.

Consumer Reports on Flu Shots

CR sent me a link to their article about the Flu this year

Consumer Reports Health logoNearly half of Americans say they’re going to skip the flu shot this season, according to a nationally representative survey of 2,011 adults conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center in October.


And, they have a Flu Smarts Quiz, a lit of the Top 12 Excuses for not getting a flu shot, and some good info on the shot itself and general ‘take care of yourself in flu season’ info.

I’m not pushing Consumer Reports (though I do subscribe to their online version), but think this is good and timely info.

I got my flu shot again this year, and recommend them.

SciGuy: A Texan definition of a planet

SciGuy: A Texan definition of a planet
• Therefore, a planet must be any star-orbiting, non-fusing celestial body larger than the smallest sphere containing TEXAS.

Read it all, and enjoy.  I’m not an astronomer but it makes sense to me.

Smoking in US drops below 20% for the first time since records kept

And probably since Jamestown.

ReutersWASHINGTON, Nov 13 (Reuters) – The number of U.S. adults who smoke has dropped below 20 percent for the first time on record but cigarettes still kill almost half a million people a year, health officials said on Thursday.

About 19.8 percent of U.S. adults — 43.4 million people — were smokers in 2007.

Anecdotally, my patients in the ED run 60% plus.  And I’ll never understand the indignation in the sentence, ‘yes, I smoke, but I don’t drink’, to which I’ll tell them if they quit smoking and have a drink a day they’ll live a lot longer.

If you’re a smoker, it’s time to quit.  That’s all the nagging I do.  On that.

Texas Party of Medicine

I was distracted before the election, and didn’t post my usual list of TEXPAC endorsements.  That’s probably why their endorsed slate only got to 93% success.

The only TMA member in Congress, U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, MD (R-Texas), was reelected and announced he is running to become chair of the House Republican Policy Committee, which would place him as the number four most powerful member in the House Republican caucus. All four of TEXPAC’s endorsed statewide candidates [PDF] (U.S. Sen. John Cornyn and three Texas Supreme Court justices) won, as did all but one of the congressional candidates we backed and most of the candidates TEXPAC supported for the Texas House and Senate.

I blame myself.

Thanks to all of you for supporting the Party of Medicine.

Crass-Pollination: An ER blog: Just throwing this out there…

Crass-Pollination: An ER blog: Just throwing this out there…

Funny, ’cause it’s true.


People with better than average web searching ability are said to have “GoogleFu”, which is not to be confused with their latest creation, which I call GoogleFlu, and they named Flu Trends.


They say it’ll allow users to find out where the flu is faster than the CDC maps, which is both true (faster than the CDC maps), and a little misleading: they’re not actually tracking the flu.

What they are tracking are keywords (via WSJ Health):

for instance "cough," or "fever." It displays the results on a map of the U.S. and shows a chart of changes in flu activity around the country. The data is meaningful because the Google arm that created Flu Trends found a strong correlation between the number of Internet searches related to the flu and the number of people reporting flu symptoms.

So, they’re not tracking flu cases, they’re using keywords with a demonstrated correlation to draw a map.  So, this will not be specific to influenza, but would also show where people are searching about their cold symptoms.

It bears watching, but remember it’s not counting actual flu cases like the CDC.