Archives for December 2008

Another tech bleg

My son is home from law school, which is terrific. He brought his laptop, which apparently has a good, or a series of good, malware programs.

The combo has it so his IE won’t go to windows update, other addresses get hijacked in the browser, and it seems to prevent Spybot Search and Destroy from launching. Likewise Adaware.

I tried running Spybot from a copy on USB, no luck. The antivirus cannot find it, let alone fix it.


Sleep emailing?

From the

Doctors have reported the first ever case of someone using the internet while asleep, after a sleeping woman sent emails to people asking them over for drinks and caviar.

The 44-year-old woman, whose case is reported by researchers from the University of Toledo in the latest edition of medical journal Sleep Medicine, had gone to bed at around 10pm, but got up two hours later and walked to the next room.

She then turned on the computer, connected to the internet, and logged on by typing her username and password to her email account. She then composed and sent three emails.

Really, how do these cases wind up in doctors’ offices?  I have experience with med-induced sleep driving, but that’s a different tale…

Primary Care Funding Increase: a rant and a reply

Dr. Glauser at EMNews vents his spleen a bit about a general feeling that Primary Care needs more funding:

bannerSay what? Fund physicians to promote primary care? Why throw good money after bad? If ever there was a group that has failed in providing care, it is our primary care system. To fund such a venture for groups that are singularly inept at performing anything of value to society is pure folly and a waste of precious health care dollars.

This did not pass unnoticed by an excellent primary care blogger, Dr. Rob at Musings of a Distractible Mind:

This guy is not arguing, he is ranting.  Why?  My suspicion is that he sees the fact that increased reimbursement for primary care physicians means potentially decreased reimbursement for emergency physicians.  That does not mean you shouldn’t trust his arguments – he could use the same against me.

Read them both, and join the argument.  I’m for paying primary care better, because they need some more flexibility (though I have my concerns, too).

Packaging: bad for your health

Hmm, I’ve not seen this at work in the ED (though I have injured myself at home with similar problems, so I won’t say it doesn’t happen. 


Ho ho woes: Wrap rage results in lacerations and bad tempers

Emergency department doctors report that thousands get medical attention annually for wounds related to packaging.

By Victoria Stagg Elliott, AMNews staff. Dec. 22, 2008.

amednews.comImages of colorfully wrapped presents under a Christmas tree are not supposed to trigger feelings of frustration and risks of possible injury. But trends in the packaging of many popular gifts have been diagnosed as the cause of this scenario — what sometimes is called "wrap rage."

The real culprit, of course, is the "clamshell" or "oyster" packaging that encases many toys, electronics and other products. These hard plastic containers have emerged as a favorite of manufacturers and retailers because they protect items during shipping and prevent theft from store shelves, while still allowing shoppers to see what they are buying. The problem for consumers, though, is that these coverings are intensely difficult to remove — often requiring tools, muscle and swearing. Sometimes the experience results in a trip to the hospital.

Get a package opener (I have one, and it works terribly well).

Dr. Wes: Paracetamoxyfrusebendroneomycin

Dr. Wes: Paracetamoxyfrusebendroneomycin

Sounds like the Conchords, singing about the next big drug.  Worth the three minutes.

A hot computer in 1997

Cleaning today, I came across the information for my first desktop computer, a 1997 Gateway.

We’re come a long way from the Pentium 166 with 32 MB RAM and a 2.5GB HDD.


Aah, memories.

Scene in an ED

My favorite safety gear, bar none:


Another head saved.

Kevin, MD interviewed in Forbes

Continuing his takeover of Medical Blogging:


Primary Care’s Primary Advocate

David Whelan, 12.12.08, 12:31 PM EST

Forbes talks with Dr. Kevin Pho of about health policy matters as President Obama takes office.

Kevin Pho, an internal medicine doctor in Nashua, N.H., has a busy medical practice. But he’s also become an influential voice as the country embarks on another round of health reform under President Obama and “health czar” Thomas Daschle. Pho runs, the most popular doctor blog.

It’s a good interview.  I see a future HHS Chairman…

And guess who has the night shift in the ER…

Bewerewolves: Fullest Moon in 15 Years Tonight | Wired Science from
Prepare yourself for a sight tonight — not to mention some wild behavior, if the legends are true. The biggest full moon in 15 years is set to grace the northern hemisphere tonight.

Because the moon orbits along an egg-shaped ellipse, not a circle, its distance from us changes. Today, the moon is approaching its nearest point to Earth, so it should look about 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than this year’s other full moons, according to NASA.

This should be interesting.  I’ll see it and dread the result on the way in.  Yippee!

Zimbabwe introduces $500 million note –

Zimbabwe introduces $500 million note –

That must sound really good.

My Brother has another Birthday!

The Aerospace Genius (which I called him even before this) has yet another birthday today.

UncleNeil2004 Many happy returns, from all of us.

2008 Medical Weblog Awards now open for Nominations

As the inaugural winner (like you could forget) I’m duty bound and pleased to pass this along:

Welcome to the 2008 Medical Weblog Awards!

This is the fifth year of the competition. These awards are designed to showcase the best blogs from the medical blogosphere, and to highlight the exciting and useful role medical blogs play in medicine and in society.

The categories for this year’s awards are:

— Best Medical Weblog

— Best New Medical Weblog (established in 2008)

— Best Literary Medical Weblog

— Best Clinical Sciences Weblog

— Best Health Policies/Ethics Weblog

— Best Medical Technologies/Informatics Weblog

— Best Patient’s Blog

The 2008 Medical Blog Awards

This is MedGadget’s award, so put your nominations in the comments there.  Thanks again to MedGadget for having this competition, and to Epocrates for sponsoring this award.

The Grinch is Real

Primary school teacher who told children: ‘Santa does not exist’ is fired | Mail Online
A primary school teacher who left a class of 25 pupils in tears after she told told them Santa Claus did not exist has been fired..

When excited youngsters became rowdy as they talked about Santa, the supply teacher blurted out: ‘It’s your parents who leave out presents on Christmas Day.’

The class of seven-year-olds at Blackshaw Lane Primary School, Royton, near Oldham, Greater Manchester burst into tears and told their parents when they arrived home.

The grinch here was a substitute teacher, whose career there just ended.

Somebody’s getting coal in their stocking…

The next step in DO and MD getting along?

Umm, this seems like it’s going to suffer from split-focus when they go recruiting, but maybe someone out there knows of an instance where this has been tried before?

Star-Telegram.comThe University of North Texas Health Science Center is considering a plan to offer M.D. degrees, in addition to the osteopathic program that it historically has provided to physicians-in-training.

University President Scott Ransom this week notified students and faculty that the Fort Worth medical school will do a "complete evaluation of various proposals" to create the MD program.

The science center’s Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine now offers a D.O. degree, with most graduates going on to practice primary care such as general internal medicine and pediatrics.

In his message to students, Ransom said the university is contemplating the addition of the MD degree in order to expand training opportunities and recruit a total class of 250 medical students.

I don’t get it.  Be a proud DO school, be a new allopathic school, but make a choice.  (I think this is a start on a change from DO to MD school, but that’s just a guess and based on nothing whatsoever).

Texas Emergency Medicine Report Card: We’re only failing half!

The National Report Card on the State of Emergency Medicine came out a couple of days ago, and I finally got around to looking at mine today.

Hmm, a C.  I guess I’ll have to get someone to sign mine before I take it back…

Despite receiving solid marks for its Quality and Patient Safety Environment and having one of the best Medical Liability Environments in the country, Texas continues to face significant problems, particularly in the area of Access to Emergency Care.Txreportcard

Strengths. Texas has the third lowest average malpractice award payment in the nation ($148,495), reflecting the multitude of medical liability reforms that have been enacted…

Challenges. Access to Emergency Care in Texas is in crisis. The state has the highest rates of uninsured children and adults (21.2 and 25.8 percent, respectively), and ranks among the lowest states regarding access to all types of providers…

Frankly, if they don’t grade on a curve nobody’s going to do well on this test.

See your state’s results here.

Update: symtym has pictures for the whole US.  They’re not pretty.