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...

Toys that Can Teach Old School Style

Going to the doctor can be frightening for adults and adolescents. Some fear shots, others the site of blood…some just feel uncomfortable having their backside exposed in those confusing gowns. Well, if it’s scary for adults, imagine how I child feels when they see an MRI or EEG machine. What is that stick rolling around on Mommy’s stomach? WHAT IS THAT ALIEN IN MOMMY’S STOMACH?! Will I ever get out of this really small tunnel? These are all reasonable questions that children could ponder while around these very massive, very expensive, and very scary looking machines. Japanese designer Hikaru Imamura wanted to change that. She witnessed computer simulations and videos as teaching tools but thought these methods could be bettered. What better way to teach children than to give them a toy…and an educational tool in disguise. “Examinations and operations are a cause of anxiety in the little patients, [which] can be relieved by informing them of what to expect during their visit,” Imamura says. I thought it’s more important to make things that attract children’s interest as stuff to play with. As a result, I made toys that had simple devices such as light or sound, instead of representing the details of machines or having high-tech devices.” Her toys depict an MRI machine, an X-ray machine, a echocardiogram and a electrocardiograph…there are even picture books to go along with them. Check it...

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...

The Adverse Effects of Med School on ADLs

Med school doesn’t only take its toll on your...

SketchyMicro Aims To Make Medical Micro Really Easy (And Even Fun)

Medical microbiology is a tough subject. For any given bacteria, virus, or fungus, medical students must memorize how it clinically presents, the specific pathogenic mechanism, treatment options, and relevant laboratory tests. Taking Vibrio cholera for example, medical students learn to associate the buzzwords of “rice-water stool” and “comma-shaped” all while understanding the increase in cAMP production due to activation of a Gs protein. Three UC Irvine medical students figured there had to be a better way to learn these associations than through brute memorization, and born out of this frustration came SketchyMicro, a “learning modality that utilizes visual learning as its primary form of teaching” according to Andrew Berg, one of the co-founders. The approach capitalizes on the Baker/baker principle in order to increase recall and learning efficiency for students preparing for their USMLE Step 1 and COMLEX Level 1 exams. “We draw cool pictures to teach microbiology” -Andrew Berg, co-founder of SketchyMicro SketchyMicro is now accepting pre-orders at $39.99, which includes instant access to 21 of their videos and 6 months of additional rolling access when the program officially launches with 44 videos in late 2013. Read the full interview with SketchyMicro co-founder Andrew Berg at...

Medical Mystery: Commotion of the Heart

This week The Huffington Post published a brief story on a young woman who died when she fell onto the sand while at the beach. She died from the impact of the fall, which caused a rare occurrence in her heart, commotio cordis (latin for “commotion or disruption of the heart”) killing her within minutes.  A study published in the Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine on November 1st took a closer look at the case. Commotio cordis is extremely rare, killing only two to four people each year, and while it can happen to anyone, it seems to most often affect young people who, either as the result of age or weight, have less fat padding around their heart, leaving their heart vulnerable to impact. Even though some youth athletic associations have begun using chest pads, those shields are meant to protect from soft tissue damage and broken ribs, not the impact of the body hitting the ground, or say, with a baseball bat, which essentially makes the heart “jump” out of rhythm. This arrhythmia (called ventricular fibrillation) proves to be fatal; even in cases where the cardiac chain of survival is initiated immediately (like at sporting events, where an AED is present) sudden cardiac arrest is not always immediately recognized. Sudden deaths of young athletes on the field is nothing new, unfortunately. Local papers are often riddled...

What Every “Almost” Doc Should Know About Marijuana

The legalization of marijuana has been a hot topic of debate over the past few years. Some people further the support the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. In this video, Martin Lee, writer and activist and author of the book “Smoke Signals,” discusses the implication of marijuana in the treatment of several diseases and disorders and calls for the future generation of doctors to become informed of the potential for both the psychoactive and non-psychoactive compounds in marijuana to provide an effective treatment for those suffering from such...

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