policy

“There’s Something Else…” Incidental Findings and the Modern Physician

Last month, The Atlantic published a great piece on the phenomenon of incidental findings uncovered during routine medical exams. It’s not all that uncommon; some reports state that incidental findings show up in ⅓ of CT scans. I myself had an abdominal CT scan several years ago and the radiologist found that I have a second spleen; clinically referred to as an “accessory spleen” (which makes me imagine it as a little spleen purse that my spleen has slung over it’s shoulder). Incidental findings that are benign — like a spleen purse — are pretty neutral; no additional tests required, no monitoring, no surgery. Just something fun to share at parties. But other findings, like tumors, can lead patients and doctors down a treacherous (and pricey) path. The fact that incidental findings get uncovered isn’t the issue; defensive medicine is what complicates it. Even if a doctor can say, with resounding confidence, that an incidental finding is not going to pose a problem for the patient, they have to order a slew of tests in order to save themselves from a potential lawsuit down the road. This puts stress on not just the physician, but the patient too, particularly if they’re uninsured. And should the patient choose to forgo the tests, the emotional strain of asking “what if?” can lead to depression, anxiety and all the associated health problems those conditions present. To Scan...

This Short Video Will Change the Way You Look at Healthcare… and Low Budget Commercials

ZDoggMD wanted to make a commercial for Turntable Health. But then, he looked at his budget. Turntable Health is a a membership-based primary care and wellness ecosystem focused on everything that keeps patients healthy. It’s a really terrific idea, springboarded by the efforts of ZDoggMD in downtown Las Vegas and definitely worth checking...

Hep C Outbreak at Exeter Hospital; It Could Have Been Your Hospital

At Exeter Hospital in New Hampshire, a patient and hospital’s worst nightmare is drawing to a close. The lab technician accused of reusing needles on patients, and transmitting Hep C to at least 45 of them, has been sentenced to 39 years in prison. David Kwiatkowski is a drug addict. He admitted to stealing drug-filled syringes from the hospital, using syringes to inject himself, and then replacing the drug with saline tainted with his blood. Kwiatkowski, thus, transmitted his blood to the intended recipients of the drug. Kwiatkowski has Hepatitis C. A quick refresher: Hep C attacks the liver, sometimes causing few to no symptoms until cirrhosis and jaundice have set in. It’s a virus, and it is treatable, but many people who are infected don’t know that they are. And some, like Kwiatkowski, know that they are infected but still engage in risky behaviors that allow the virus to spread. Hep C does a number on the liver, and most people who have it have the chronic form which causes damage, and even cancer, over time. So, for the patients at Exeter Hospital who were exposed, Hep C could literally be a death sentence. Kwiatkowski’s motivations were purely fueled by his drug addiction – and misguided attempts to cover up the problem. According to his statement in court, he used the syringes to infect himself with Fentanyl, a...

What Does the Doc Say? A ZDogg Parody

What does the Doc say? Finally a parody on “What does the Fox say?” for med students! see more my ZDoggMD here. Featured image is a screen shot from the video...

Is This the End of 23andMe?

NPR reported this morning that the FDA is hating, big time, on 23andMe, the personal genome service founded by Anne Wojcicki. Apparently, this feud has been ongoing for several years. 23andMe provides customers with a smattering of genetic data for the low-low price of $99…and a tube of their spit. The genetic information gleaned from the report runs the gamut from fun and random qualities, like being able to smell asparagus-pee, to more serious ones, such as carrier status of many major genetic diseases. You may recall that I actually partook in 23andMe’s services earlier this year. I went in to the experience with fairly low expectations and, admittedly, did it more for fun than anything else. The information that I received, however, more or less matched up with the realities of my heritage and the diseases that run heavily in my family. I was never under the impression that these results were the be it end all of my genetic destiny; 23andMe does a pretty adequate job of making sure you’re aware, at every step of the way, that your results only represent a small fraction of the possible genetic data that could be garnered from you, and it is not representative of all possible mutations known to exist– and you know, all the ones we don’t know about. Where the FDA seems to be hitting the hardest...

So, Why Is There So Much Medical Debt in the US?

Really, why is there so much medical debt in one of the richest developed nations in the world? This infographic gives a brief overview of an embarrassing blemish on Uncle Sam’s face.     Featured image from Flickr...

ZDoggMD on MSNBC Live!

A Talking (Bald) Head Move over, Fareed Zakaria and Malcolm Gladwell…there’s a new fancy-pants policy wonk in town! One who gets a whopping 3 awkward minutes to ramble on national TV with MSNBC anchor Richard Lui…LIVE! Props were given to Turntable Health and disses to Jenny McCarthy, so I believe I can say with fair confidence: mission...