Last week I posted that you should always ask for a copy of your medical reports.
One of the downsides, of course, is that those reports are often written in medical language that can be confusing or alarming.
But in response to a more savvy patient population, the College of American Pathologists has made a video to explain how the system works and to encourage patients to be involved in obtaining and understanding their pathology reports.
You can watch the video here on the medical website KevinMD.
They also created a two-page educational brochure to guide a patient through … Continue reading
An error of omission
A few weeks ago there was a lot of news about how medical mistakes are the third leading cause of death in the US, behind heart disease and cancer.
A medical error is defined as “an unintended act (either of omission or commission) or one that does not achieve its intended outcome.”
And now a Philadelphia paper is highlighting one very common mistake: when you and/or your doctor are not informed about a serious finding on a medical test.
The article explains that a well-known local musician (which is why this story is popular on … Continue reading
Scary headlines sell news
Last week the media blitzed us with headlines that linked cell phones with an increased risk of brain and heart cancers.
Don’t believe everything you read in a headline!
That news story was based on a study out of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences that looked at the effect of cell phone radiation on rats.
Most journalists, if you bothered to read the entire article, did point out that the study was not perfect and it did use rats, after all, and not humans.
However, if you just read the headlines or skimmed … Continue reading
Hospital safety and medical mistakes
A friend forwarded an email to me. It was from a retirement blog he subscribes to, and this particular post was about what the writer, a doctor as well as a blogger, considers “The deadliest place you’re likely to visit this year…”
He’s talking about hospitals. And he’s not being overly dramatic, either.
He knows what many of us in health care know: hospitals can be dangerous to your health. One of my best friends is a physician. We have a pact that if either one of us has to go into the hospital, the … Continue reading
I don’t think anyone would be surprised to know that Americans are popping more pills than ever.
About 60% take at least one prescription medication. Even more take daily dietary supplements, herbal remedies or other over-the-counter drugs.
And the more drugs you take, the higher the risk of dangerous drug interactions.
A new study published this month in JAMA reports that close to 88% of older Americans over the age of 62 take at least one drug. Of those, the report estimates, 15% are at high risk of suffering from a major drug-drug interaction.
I read Dr. Richard Lehman’s response … Continue reading
It’s spring and sporting equipment is coming out of the closets!
That’s why April is designated Sports Eye Safety Month.
If you and/or your kids play a sport that involves fast-moving balls, frisbees or sticks, the American Academy of Ophthamology (AAO) wants you to take steps to prevent eye injuries.
Every year, more than 42,000 people are seen in ERs with sports-related eye injuries, and 13,500 suffer some degree of blindness as a result.
Common sports eye injuries include corneal abrasions, lacerations and bleeding in the eye. Basketball players tend to get poked in the eye with fingers. Tennis and
… Continue reading
A few months ago I wrote a post about Addyi (flibanserin), the new drug that supposedly boosts the female libido. It’s also referred to as “pink Viagra” or “female Viagra” although it doesn’t work like Viagra.
In fact, it’s debatable whether it works as advertised at all.
Addyi was supposed to a blockbuster drug for Valeant Pharmaceuticals, but it’s had lousy sales since it appeared on the market in August.
More than half a million men got prescriptions for Viagra in its first month on the market in 1998. The number of prescriptions for Addyi, the women’s libido-boosting
… Continue reading
As any parent or child caregiver can tell you, keeping kids safe—especially into-everything toddlers—takes a lot of planning ahead. We look around the house or yard and try to think like they do: What will they be attracted to? What will they pick up and put in their mouths? How high can they reach? Etc….
And sometimes we fail.
I just watched two video clips of ER docs talking about some common injuries they see, and what parents can do to make their homes more safe.
The first is from the TV show The Doctors: 3 Dangerous Drugs that Can … Continue reading
I love finding websites that provide people with evidence-based health care guidance that is also easy to understand.
Like the law, medicine is full of jargon and tortured language that can leave the most intelligent patient confused about risks and benefits.
Clear communication is especially necessary when talking about prescription medications.
I just ran across a new website called Informulary, which was started with the goal of providing easy-to-use and understand DrugFactsBoxes, similar to nutrition labels on foods.
Since 2009, the Food and Drug Administration has required facts labels on all over-the-counter medications, but so far they have ignored … Continue reading
I just read a funny-not-funny post on the health care blog KevinMD: This doctor orders pregnancy tests on men. You’re probably doing it too
The author, a physician, laments that his hospital’s electronic health records system (EHR or EMR) makes it way too easy to make mistakes, such as ordering pregnancy tests on male patients.
Now this may sound funny to you, and I know the nurses love to read me the riot act when I do it, but truthfully this is no laughing matter.
As easy as it is to order a pregnancy test on a man, it is
… Continue reading