Archives for April 2010

Change of Shift – Vol. 4, Number 22 // Emergiblog

Change of shift is up!  (The rest of your day wasn’t going to amount to much anyway, so head on over…)

Change of Shift – Vol. 4, Number 22 // Emergiblog.

Apollo 11 Saturn V Launch (HD) Camera E-8 on Vimeo

I’m a sucker for the Mercury and Apollo programs (nothing wrong with Gemini, I just didn’t read as much about that).

Here’s 30 seconds of liftoff of Apollo 11 at 500fps, so it takes 8+ minutes.  Good narration.  Very entertaining!

Apollo 11 Saturn V Launch (HD) Camera E-8 on Vimeo on Vimeo

HT: The Aerospace Genius.

MedBlog Grand Rounds here May 4th

The schedule can be found here, and this Weeks’ is HERE.  Nick’s nearly always looking for hosts, so drop him a line if you’re interested.

As for my upcoming Grand Rounds Hosting on May 4th, all submissions are due May 3rd by noon your time.

Though I generally dislike themes, I thought of this and therefore think it’s clever:

don’t send me a post of yours, send a post of someone elses’.

That’s right, the First Non-Narcissist, Non-Personal Attention Getting Grand Rounds.

All of us read several different medical blogs, and many of those bloggers never submit to Grand Rounds; here’s your chance to be altruistic, and get someone else some attention!

I plan to post the referred link, with a ‘recommended by’ after it, so tell me who you are, please!  (If you want, send me the link of another blog, and add the one you’d like to see included from your blog as well.  It’s not exactly perfect, but better than sitting it out).

So, start thinking about that great post you read that didn’t get the attention it deserved, and start sending them. Use the contact form, above, or send them here:  but don’t spoil the surprise and put them in the comments, okay?

Think Fast: The Racer’s Why-To Guide To Winning

My brother, the Aerospace Genius, has written a book!

Here’s just part of the description from his web site:

Think Fast is not about the technology, but about WHY TO use some technologies and avoid others in your quest to WIN races. Think Fast can help any race car driver or race engineer tackle the big challenges and cross the finish line FIRST.
Think Fast is a professional racing industry insider’s detailed description of his unique process that makes racing drivers and race cars faster and work together more effectively. Both driver and car development techniques are covered, including very cost effective approaches to problems faced by every motorsports competitor.


So, if you’re in the market for a how-to go-fast book, here’s the one I recommend (nepotism works).

Available on!

Briefs: Bullet from suicide attempt ends up in Starbucks | Northeast Tarrant | News from…

This is going to sound awful, but… if you kill yourself you’re obligated not to take others with you.  I know that people who kill themselves aren’t thinking about others, but, here’s a cautionary tale:

Bullet from suicide try ends up in Starbucks

GRAPEVINE — A Starbucks customer stirring his drink Thursday afternoon heard a bullet whiz by his ear after a man shot himself across the street from the coffee shop, police said. The man was on the front porch of his house in the 900 block of East Wall Street, said Lt. Todd Dearing, a Grapevine police spokesman. The bullet went through the man’s head and the drive-through window at Starbucks and past the customer and finally lodged in a restroom wall at the back of the business, Dearing said. The man who shot himself was taken to …a hospital…

Bold by me.

via Briefs: Bullet from suicide attempt ends up in Starbucks | Northeast Tarrant | News from….

Rifle?  Crazy high powered pistol firing a very solid bullet?  I doubt we’ll ever know, but it’s a cautionary tale.  Extremely fortunate that round didn’t collect an innocent soul.

JPS board pledges financial support for new M.D. program at UNT Health Science Center | Healt…

The writing is no longer on the wall.  It’s everywhere.

FORT WORTH — Plans to open an M.D. program at the University of North Texas Health Science Center got a boost Thursday when the JPS Health Network pledged financial support.

The board voted to recommend that the Tarrant County Hospital District include $2.5 million for the health science center's fundraising effort in its budget for the next fiscal year.

The hospital district does business as JPS Health Network.

via JPS board pledges financial support for new M.D. program at UNT Health Science Center | Healt….

Not a done deal, as the State has to okay it, but I wouldn’t bet against it.

How to kill the space program: Satellites to issue speeding tickets from space – SciTechBlog – Blogs

UK drivers had better stay under that speed limit, because the traffic authorities are watching… from outer space. According to The Telegraph, an American company called PIPS Technology has developed a system that uses two cameras on the ground and one mounted on a satellite in orbit to catch speeders.

via Satellites to issue speeding tickets from space – SciTechBlog – Blogs.

This is entirely feasible now, with toll tags and the like.  Wisely, I think they’d rather have the tolls than a few fines and empty roads.

Putting big heavy snoopers into space is very very expensive, and totally optional.  Use an optional program against a populace (even one that’s guilty) is a really good way to get that one, and its more useful cousins, unfunded.

More on the Winkler County Nurses

Beau BermanCBS 7

April 20, 2010

Kermit, Texas -Winkler County Memorial Hospital’s decision to fire two nurses in 2009 is going to cost them, in the form of a $15,850 fine assessed by the State Department of Health Services.

The nurses’ termination is listed as a violation in a state report obtained by CBS 7 News. Now, one board member is speaking out, claiming this fine could have been prevented.

via CBS 7 – Your Eye on West Texas.

I don’t have any clue as to what a usual state fine for such a ‘violation’, so I don’t know if this is a big or little number in those circumstances.

Read the article for the comments of one board member (who’s apparently swimming upstream on this board if he can’t get any seconds on his motions), it’s an interesting look inside hospital politics, small-town or not.

HT: reader Glen

Sarah Colwill’s Chinese accent brought on by migraine attack | Mail Online

As anyone who suffers migraines knows, the pain can leave you speechless.

But Sarah Colwill has experienced a much more unusual vocal effect – she now speaks with a Chinese accent.

via Sarah Colwill’s Chinese accent brought on by migraine attack | Mail Online.

Amazing.  I wonder what that pathway in the brain looks like…

amednews: Donkey Kong record now held by plastic surgeon :: April 19, 2010 … American Medical News

Hank Chien, MD, woke up one morning as a New York-based plastic surgeon. He went to bed early the following morning as a king — the King of Kong.

That day Dr. Chien scored 1,061,700 points in 2 hours, 35 minutes, breaking the world-record score for the classic arcade game Donkey Kong.

via amednews: Donkey Kong record now held by plastic surgeon :: April 19, 2010 … American Medical News.

Fun.  I was a Tailgunner fan, but I doubt there’s any of those anymore…

Soldiers’ Angels Germany: DUSTOFF Association Flight Medic of the Year

Recently SSG Matthew Kinney was named Flight Medic of the Year at the DUSTOFF Association and AMEC Conference for his actions on Oct. 16, 2008, and for which he was also awarded the Silver Star.

via Soldiers’ Angels Germany: DUSTOFF Association Flight Medic of the Year.

Wow.  Just reading the citation impressed me.  There are heroes in this world.

via Mudville Gazette

The game of Chicken continues: Senate Delays Medicare Pay Cut to June 1

April 15, 2010 — Physicians once again have dodged a financial bullet. The Senate today voted 59 to 38 to delay a 21.2% Medicare pay cut from April 1 to June 1 — the third such delay this year.The postponement of the massive reduction in Medicare reimbursement was part of a larger bill that extends expired unemployment compensation benefits and subsidies for health insurance premiums for out-of-work Americans under the COBRA program.

via Senate Delays Medicare Pay Cut to June 1.

I’m absolutely certain that by June 1st there will be a seriously well thought out solution to this. /snark.

Perks of being a commenter who lives close?

I’ll buy you dinner*!

Jim in Plano has been a commenter here nearly since the beginning, and I finally got a reason to be in his area of the DFW Metroplex, so we set up a dinner out.

(Picture removed at my wifes’ ‘request’: said it was silly to post a pic with food hanging out of my mouth).

He and his wife are nice folks, pleasant, interesting and funny!  He did about 27 years in the Air Force, and has at least that many stories, and tells them well (he should blog).

Anyway, a good time was had by all, and we’ll get together again someday.

*Not an actual offer.

Senate Misses Deadline for Delaying Medicare Pay Cut

Awesome! I wanted a pay cut, now I get it!

April 14, 2010 — Senate Democrats are still trying to postpone a 21.2% Medicare pay cut for physicians from April 1 to either May 1 or June 1, and they may get the job done by week’s end.

However, they have missed a deadline of sorts that may temporarily complicate physicians getting reimbursed by Medicare.

The pay cut technically took effect on April 1, but the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) tried to spare physicians the consequences by instructing carriers to hold payment on claims for services rendered in April for the first 10 business days of the month — that is, through today. The hope was that Congress would postpone the pay cut before tomorrow, April 15, which would allow carriers to reimburse suspended physician claims at the old rate.

via Senate Misses Deadline for Delaying Medicare Pay Cut.

For the record, I want a fix to the SGR. And, as a practical matter this doesn’t change my practice as a hospital based doc.  It will affect my bottom line, and we’ll see how that shakes out.

This doesn’t bode well for us as physicians.  Since we’ve allowed ourselves to become dependent on / beholden to the feds for third party reimbursement, this perpetual game of chicken was bound to come to an end.  And, it has, though not how anyone would plan, or foresee.

(For those who like fables, we’ve had the croc ride, and now we’re to be eaten).

There’s a significantly cautionary tale in this for the current healthcare legislation, which has been described to me, by a PhD Economist who’s read it (and had some hand in it) as being an Insurance Regulation bill, which aims to have docs be the ones who are responsible for healthcare rationing.  It doesn’t work.

SGR was meant to have docs put some skin in the game of medicare expenditures, i.e., when costs exceed the SGR, docs get a pay cut.  Had that cut happened at 1%, maybe it would have had a positive effect (choose your own positive), and perhaps not.  Make it a 21% cut, and the effect is likely to be pronounced.  And negative, in the common parlance.

So, brave new world and all that.  I’d like to say I can make it up in volume, but we’re already crammed to the gills in ED’s all over, so I don’t know how this will work out.

CNN Video about Emergency Departments in Afghanistan

Wow, nice (and a big target).

Good for the service for thinking about this (and acting on it).