Medicine doesn’t stop for the game

Tonight, just prior to the kickoff of the Cowboys game (regionally required viewing) one of our hospitalists stopped by the ED, with the following pronouncement:

“The game’s about to start, so it might take a while for me to call back.”

To which I gave the only reply an ED doc can:

“Okay, call when you can and I’ll tell you how many I admitted to you.”

He called back very quickly, I must say.


For the record, I very much prefer working with hospitalists rather than the olden days of community physicians who admitted their own patients; I don’t have to advocate for a patients’ admission nearly as much with hospitalists versus the private physicians.  (And there are exceptions to every rule; right now I know of two private docs who are wonderful to call: encyclopedic knowledge of their patients and their problems, helpful, etc).  Kudos to my hospitalist colleagues.

Cristiano da Matta update


Push, PleaseLOVELAND, Colo., Aug. 16, 2006, 4:15 pm EDT – Champ Car World Series driver Cristiano da Matta (#10 RuSPORT Ford-Cosworth / Lola / Bridgestone) has not yet fully regained consciousness, but his condition continues to improve as he recovers from a serious head injury at Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah, Wisc. …

Champ Car Medical Director Dr. Chris Pinderski flew back to Wisconsin today to monitor the condition of da Matta. The following statement is an update from Pinderski on da Matta’s medical status.

“Cristiano still continues to show daily improvement while in the intensive care unit at Theda Clark Medical Center. His is becoming more alert each day and has been removed from the ventilator that was providing respiratory support since his accident. It is anticipated that he will be transferred from intensive care to a step-down unit in the next 24-48 hours where his recovery will continue.”

Further updates on da Matta’s condition will be issued by RuSPORT as they become available.

Since da Matta’s accident on August 3, RuSPORT and Champ Car have received many messages of support for da Matta. In response, RuSPORT also announced that, in lieu of sending flowers and gifts, anyone wishing to express their support for da Matta during his recovery is asked to please make a donation in his name to Hole in the Wall Camps, an official charity of the Champ Car World Series. Donation information can be found by visiting, or by calling 203-562-1203.

There’s a get-well card address in the article, also.

Cristiano da Matta Update

Best Wishes for Cristiano da Matta – Racing – Champ car driver airlifted after deer collision

A collision while in his open-wheeled race car, on a racing track:

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (AP) — Champ Car driver Cristiano da Matta needed surgery to remove a ruptured blood vessel in his head after his race car collided with a deer that wandered onto the track during a test session at Road America on Thursday.

Da Matta was unconscious when he was airlifted to Theda Clark Memorial Hospital in Neenah after the crash, and remained unconscious as of Thursday night, Champ Car series spokesman Steve Shunck said.

Champ Car Director of Medical Affairs Dr. Chris Pinderski said a CT scan at the hospital showed that da Matta had a subdural hematoma.

The second statement is correct, the subdural hematoma, or blood clot inder the lining of the skull, is removed; the blood vessels are usually left alone, or gently tied off as needed.

Recovery is variable from this sort of thing, and relates not just to the size of the initial clot, but also to other brain injury that can occur at the same time. (Shearing injury, etc).

Best of Luck to Cristiano and his family.

In The Pipeline: Testosterone, Carbon Isotopes, and Floyd Landis

Testosterone, Carbon Isotopes, and Floyd Landis by Derek Lowe has a lot of explanations of how testosterone cheaters are caught, and why.

Excellent information, though probably not water fountain conversation material. Unless your water fountain is in the science bulding…

Montoya out for the season?

What? I knew he was going to Nascar, but this?

McLaren agree to release Montoya

Juan Pablo Montoya has been released by McLaren with immediate effect following his decision to quit for Nascar at the end of the season.

The Colombian will be replaced by test driver Pedro de la Rosa for the rest of the present campaign.

“I know it will be a tough transition but I’m excited about the chance to move into Nascar,” said Montoya.

We knew he wasn’t coming back to McLaren (a mutual no-love-lost between-them situation), and the Nascar deal was announced days ago, but I though he’d race out the season rather than leave after a decidedly poor showing last week.

Does this mean I’ll start watching Nascar? Probably not.

Scott Speed in Formula 1

A totally non-medical post…

I like open wheel auto racing, and used to be an avid CART fan; then the IRL split and, well, it’s still okay racing but the edge is gone. Thus, I have found myself following Formula 1 racing these last few years, which 3 years ago wasn’t very good racing and has become quite good over time. I did watch the few F1 races shown in the US back in the ‘pre-Speed channel’ days, and enjoyed them.

It’s never really bothered me that there aren’t US drivers in F1, though the US coverage is always gaga when an American driver is in the field. Until this year, Michael Andretti in ?93? was the last, and that was more of an embarrassment than effort (and it pains me to say it, as I’m a big Mikey fan, but the effort was awful). Before Mike? Eddie Cheever. "Eddie Cheever, the only American driver in the field" was apparently a required line for announcers when he was driving, and it was said so frequently it was comical. In fact, were I to call my brother and just say "Eddie Cheever" he’d finish the sentence. So, there have been Americans racing in F1 before.

This year, it’s Scott Speed driving for Scuderia Toro Rosso (horrible Flash site). Before you get your hopes up, he’s an incredibly talented young driver in the terrible former Minardi team / car, the only bright spot being there’s probably more money there than before as it’s Red Bull’s second team. He did well, and SpeedChannel did a good job of pointing him out but not doing a Cheever every time he showed up.

I have to wonder about his security. As an American he’s going to be a lightning rod for every nut with a grudge, and this series runs in some countries that you’d be silly to advertise your American-ness without a dedicated security group.

I was thinking about that while watching a procession of the country flags before the race (yes, the US flag was there), and then wondered how crowds will react listening to the National Anthem should he wind up on the podium (okay, that won’t happen given the car, but it makes an interesting wonderment).

Speed qualified 16th, finished 13th (both behind his main teammate Liuzzi, 15/11). The series looks to be good this year.

Now, if we could just get CART and IRL to fuse (and occasionally turn right) I wouldn’t need a present for my birthday.

Delaying Health Care for the Big Game

from ABC News: Delaying Health Care for the Big Game:

Sept. 23, 2005 — It’s down to the final play of the Super Bowl and you’re choking on a pretzel — what’s a sports fan to do?

You’re more likely to watch the game-winning kick than seek medical care, according to a new report.

Physicians at Children’s Hospital Boston, who collected data from emergency rooms in Boston during the Red Sox’s run to the World Series in October 2004, found that patient volume dipped significantly during the most important postseason contests.

The authors used the Nielsen television ratings to determine the magnitude of a sporting contest: the higher the rating, the more important they considered the game. The findings, published in today’s edition of Annals of Emergency Medicine, indicate that the games with the highest Nielsen television ratings — Game 4 of the World Series and Game 7 of the American League Championship Series, both of which were series-clinching contests for the Red Sox — were associated with lower emergency department volume than games with lower television viewership.

Based on their data, the authors believe that one can predict how busy an emergency room will be based on how "big" the game is. This does not come as a surprise to many emergency medicine physicians, who have found they see far fewer patients in their hospitals at times when there is a major sporting event being played.

Anecdotally, I do notice a slightly lower volume in our ED during Cowboys games, but not Rangers games.  I do know that a lot of the staff would like to be watching the "Big Games" they cited, like the ALCS or the Super Bowl, and we wonder, sometimes aloud, why someone would pick that time to bring their six months of abdominal pain to the ED.  Ahh, well.  At least there’s Tivo.

Armstrong wins 7th Tour de France

Best athlete in a sport the US couldn’t care less about: 2005 Tour de France – Armstrong wins 7th Tour de France – Sunday July 24, 2005.

PARIS (AP) — Lance Armstrong closed out his amazing career with a seventh consecutive Tour de France victory Sunday — and did it a little earlier than expected.

Because of wet conditions, race organizers stopped the clock as Armstrong and the main pack entered Paris. Although riders were still racing, with eight laps of the Champs-Elysees to complete, organizers said that Armstrong had officially won.

That’s either a nice homage to a retiring superstar, or just another example of French weirdness; today, it’s the prior.  For other oddities, SI cannot have a story about Lance this week without including senseless mentionings of his current singer-girlfriend, a People-magazine-esque bit I got tired of after two stories.

For the record, you can have Tiger Woods, the most dominant athlete in sport for the last decade has been Lance (and his team(s), which don’t get nearly enough credit).