School lunch is important
Since the school year began last month, I’ve been watching and listening with some bemusement to the furor over the new school lunch standards in this country. Kids and parents are Tweeting and Instagramming (is that a verb?) pictures of some pretty unappetizing fare.
Cupcakes are banned! Kids who share their lunch get detention! What, no pizza?
Well, I can afford to be amused because I don’t have kids depending on the public school system for a healthy and satisfying lunch.
But childhood obesity—which leads to adult chronic disease—is not funny. And while … Continue reading
Last week there was another warning in our local newspaper that a person diagnosed with measles had traveled through our airport. The article advised anyone who was at the airport during that particular time frame, and who might not be vaccinated and/or might be pregnant, to talk to their health care provider.
Measles is very contagious and can be especially dangerous to pregnant women.
In light of continuing misinformation about vaccinations, and the possibility that more unvaccinated children will be in our schools due to the influx of immigrants from Mexico and Central America, I decided to republish this post … Continue reading
I have many friends who are doctors and nurses, and we all moan among ourselves about the state of health care and how we hope we are never the patient. We know hospitals are chaotic, the staff is stressed, and electronic health records are only making patient care harder.
I read a blog post by another doctor, Val Jones, MD, who agreed. She blames the problem on “frequent turnover,” or the large number of mostly uncoordinated care providers weakly connected by glitchy computer systems.
If you (or a loved one) have been admitted to a hospital recently,
… Continue reading
The big business of sleep
As someone who has always had trouble sleeping, I find solace in the fact that I am far from alone. The last statistic I saw was that about 60 million Americans complain of some form of sleep trouble. And I suspect that number is under reported.
Sleep experts recommend we get 7-9 hours of sleep every night, and popular media are quick to point out all the ill health effects due to lack of sleep that will kill you.
It’s scary enough to give you nightmares—if you could get to sleep.
Insomnia and fatigue are … Continue reading
A remembrance of things past
I picked up a book the other day that filled me with nostalgia, a yearning for a return to the way medicine used to be practiced 30 or more years ago.
Yes, I’m probably guilty of looking at the past through rose-colored glasses, but reading God’s Hotel: A Doctor, a Hospital, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine by Victoria Sweet, MD, reminded me of the era before “bureaucratic medicine” when doctors and nurses had more time and more autonomy to deliver the slow medicine or patient-centered care she describes.
Related post: “Knocking on … Continue reading
What is too much medicine and why is it bad?
I’ve talked about it before: Health care costs are crazy high; the cost of insurance is increasing to meet those costs; and more patients than ever are being harmed by the treatment that is supposed to help them.
The overuse of medical care is directly responsible, and increased patient (consumer) awareness is needed to help turn this trend around.
Reading The Treatment Trap: How the Overuse of Medical Care is Wrecking Your Health and What You Can Do to Prevent It by Rosemary Gibson and Janardan Prasad Singh would be … Continue reading
Be informed, stay healthy, save money
I’ve read dozens of books about health care, but I know not everyone is as obsessed about the state of our health care system as I am.
However, listed below are the few books I think are the most useful and informative for you to at least read, if not have on your home health bookshelf.
Is there a health care book you’d like to recommend? Please let me know—I’m always looking for new reading material!
Self-care and first aid
Take Care of Yourself, 9th Edition: The Complete Illustrated Guide to Medical Self-Care by … Continue reading
A terrific resource
Recently, I was delighted to receive a copy of “The Self-Pay Patient” by Sean Parnell.
He has a blog of the same name, and he asked me to read his recently-published book and give him some feedback. (Full disclosure—the book was gratis.) I was happy to oblige; what he didn’t know was that I had been following his blog for several months and was eager to read the book!
Sean has a background in economics, writing and health care policy. He realizes, as I do, that today’s health care (and health insurance) is increasingly unaffordable … Continue reading
The anatomy of a prolonged death
In 2001, author Katy Butler’s father suffered a stroke. Thus began her and her family’s long journey through our health care system detailed in Knocking on Heaven’s Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death.
After his death, I would not rest until I understood better why the most advanced medical care on earth, which saved my father’s life at least once when he was a young man, succeeded at the end mainly in prolonging his suffering.
During vigorous rehabilitation to regain strength following the stroke, Ms. Butler’s father developed a hernia—a … Continue reading
Last week I discussed my worry that doctors would no longer have relationships with patients, but rather would plug us into pre-determined screening, diagnostic and treatment “pathways” without much regard for our personal stories.
Then I read the book When Doctors Don’t Listen: How to Avoid Misdiagnoses and Unnecessary Tests by two ER physicians, Leana Wen, MD, and Joshua Kosowsky, MD.
And they agree “cookbook” medicine is a problem. They see it all the time in the emergency rooms.
Medicine has morphed from thoughtful engagement between doctors and patients to cookie-cutter recipes that regard all individuals alike…this cookbook
… Continue reading