Yea, We’re Doctors. But None of Us Are Immune to Drug Abuse

A few years ago, one of my classmates passed away, and suddenly, my news feed was flooded with mourning. People spoke of what a great person they were and their lovable personality. They reflected on their times playing sports together and the great memories they made at college parties. They spoke of how – at a young age – this person had a bright future that they unfortunately do not get to see. What people didn’t speak of is that this person, though having recently gone to rehab, died of a heroin overdose. Upon hearing this, I was flooded with questions. What if someone had done more to help them? What if they had made a more conscious decision to fight their addiction? Why did their abuse of drugs start? Why did their rehab not work? Why did their life have to end at such a young age? What if there was something I could have done when we were classmates to prevent their life from ending up this way? Alas, these questions have no easy answers and in retrospect have no use for my classmate. Recently, many of them came racing back to my mind upon hearing of the death of Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. After more than two decades sobriety with a relapse and rehab last spring, he was found dead with a hypodermic needle in...

Hospitals Are Running Low on Saline; Here’s Why

Hospitals across the country are bowing under the weight of a particularly bad flu season. This week, several news outlets reported a spreading shortage of saline – the lifeblood of most medical centers – across the US. Saline is a fluid comprised of salt and water, that is given to patients intravenously to assist with rehydration. Saline is typically cheap and hospitals are flush with bags of it, so patients are commonly given it prophylactically – or just because “it won’t hurt.”  With a shortage on hand, many hospitals have dialed back their extraneous saline use in hopes of conserving their supplies for patients who truly need it. With it being both influenza and norovirus season, chances are most patients that land in the hospital in the coming weeks are going to be wont for IV fluids. The FDA, well aware of the problem, insists that it hasn’t reached levels to truly impact patient care, but that they are making plans to bump up manufacturing, and bring in supplies from overseas if necessary. If hospitals are running out of the solution, doctors and nurses would certainly not be comfortable with dwindling supplies; when a patient can’t take fluids orally, either due to illness or surgery, saline is essential to preventing complications from dehydration, such as dangerously low blood pressure.  In the very young and the elderly, these complications can...

Yes, The “Almost” Doctor’s Channel Has a Superbowl Halftime Ad. And It’s Awesome!

During halftime of Super Bowl XLVIII, we are happy to announce the launch of our new sister-site for med students, The “Almost” Doctor’s Channel (www.thealmostdoctorschannel.com). Pre-meds, Interns and Residents, you’re welcome too. Interested in writing for us? Check out the “Almost” Scholarships tab on our home page in order to submit an article for the chance of winning special prizes, including the chance to have your own recurring...

Truth from a Tragedy: Finding Myself in the Wake of the Purdue Shooting

A few minutes past the hour. Class ends at 12:30. A free afternoon. Hopes of catching up on the two weeks of school work that had already piled up around me. Only two weeks into a new semester. Already feeling overwhelmed. Remind me why I’m here again. Try to focus. Just a little while longer. The door opens. Heads turn. A school administrator. “Everyone. Please listen for a second. There has been a shooting on campus. We are being told to shelter in place.” Silence. What do they mean “a shooting?” The who, what, when, where, and why of it all races through my head in an instant. Where is my girlfriend? My sister? My cousins? Not more than a second passes. A classmate breaks the silence. “What?” “In the Electrical Engineering building. That’s all we know right now.” The room is quiet, save for the sound of cell phones being pulled from pockets and bags. Loved ones contacted. Twitter, Facebook, the university website all pulled up, all poured over. What is going on? What do we know? The next few minutes are a blur, passing by as if they hardly happened. Details emerge one by one, tensions eases little by little. Anger and disbelief fill the void, as do more questions. How many were hurt? How many are dead? Who was hurt? Who did it? How badly are...

7 Things Everyone Should Know About Google Calico

1. It’s Google’s latest venture and it’s focus is unraveling the secrets of aging and longevity. Not immortality per se (though, it is Google after all, so I’m not going to rule it out) but a more broad spectrum approach to looking at all aspects of health, aging and what kills us.   2. Calico will have some pretty solid Google-resources moving forward. Since Google has some stake in 23andMe, you can be certain the genomics will be a major focus of Calico’s investigations. Genetics too are known to play a role in disease and factors that influence longevity.   3. Larry Page, Google’s CEO, doesn’t see Calico as Google’s “cancer cure”. In fact, in an interview with the New York Times, Page points out that even if we were to “solve cancer” we wouldn’t be tacking on that many years to the average life expectancy. Cancer’s tragic, sure, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s not as prevalent as other conditions that are just as likely to prevent us from, you know, living forever.   4. Remember the name: Arthur Levinson Although Page made the official announcement regarding Calico, the project is actually being spearheaded by the guy who replaced Steve Jobs as CEO of Apple. Apple and Google, the two technological megaliths, are teaming up to work on health care? Bazinga.   5. Calico isn’t going...

A Message On Addressing Mental Health in Students

I graduated in May from The University of Pennsylvania. I was pre-med, president of my a cappella group, vice president of marketing for my sorority, a tutor, a mentor…stress was not a stranger to me. Despite the pressure of preparing for, and applying to, medical school there was one thing I didn’t have to deal with – the daily practices, training sessions, games, meets and matches that being a college athlete means not only attending but performing in optimally. While I was not a varsity athlete myself, I dated one for a good part of college and was exposed to, if only vicariously, the stress that comes along with trying to perform your best academically and athletically –this, while still making time for people you care about, the hobbies you promised yourself you’d keep up with in college, and most importantly, your own mental health. As I’m sure many have seen through various social media outlets in the earlier half of this week, last weekend, University of Pennsylvania Track Team member, Madison Holleran, took her life by jumping off of a Center City, Philadelphia parking garage. She was said to have left a note for her parents as well as a gift for each member of her family. I am not claiming to be a reporter — I am only telling you what I read in various news stories....

Top 5 Eats under $25 for Superbowl Week- New York, NY

It’s Superbowl week here in New York City and for those visiting the Big Apple, David gives an insider’s tips for food, theater, and shopping for a truly “New York” experience. Food 1. Little Poland 2. Han Dynasty 3. Breads Bakery 4. Cafe Edison 5. Sapporo Restaurant Theater 1. The Night Alive 2. After Midnight Shopping 1. Shinola 2. Cadet 3. Fishs...

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