Pros and Cons of the American Health Care Act

The Republican establishment has longed to repeal Obamacare basically since it became law in 2009. Conservative politicians have centered their campaigns around repealing the health care law, while President Donald Trump promised to get rid of “horrible” Obamacare during rallies.   Image: Source   On March 6, House Republicans revealed Obamacare’s potential replacement: The American Health Care Act (AHCA). The bill has quickly passed through three different house committees before many have had time to fully comprehend its implications. So, who benefits from this new bill and who doesn’t? Let’s list some pros and cons.   PROS – Repeals individual mandate Perhaps the most central (and most criticized) proposal of Obamacare is the individual mandate. This mandate requires all individuals to purchase health insurance. Although both Democrats and Republicans lauded the idea of an individual mandate when it was a part of Mitt Romney’s health care plan in Massachusetts, it quickly came under fire when proposed in Obamacare. Opponents described it as an unconstitutional attack on individual freedom—to them, no one should be forced to buy insurance. This criticism does make sense. For example, if you’re a healthy young person, you might not want to spend a lot of money on health insurance that you probably don’t really need. With that said, for these individuals who are passionate about their individual liberties, the AHCA’s repeal of the mandate is...

Low-Tech Has Major Impact on Laparoscopic Surgery

What is laparoscopic surgery? Laparoscopic surgery, also referred o as minimally invasive surgery (MIS), describes the performance of surgical procedures with the assistance of a video camera and several thin instruments.   Image: Source   Thanks to researchers and small business entrepreneurs, surgeons now have access to a new type of low-tech instrument to perform these complex, minimally invasive procedures. This technology provides more dexterity, precision, and intuitive control than traditional instruments. It’s also simpler to use, requires less training, AND is less expensive.   Watch the video below to see it in action!   Video: Source James Geiger, MD, professor of surgery at University of Michigan, and his colleague, professor of engineering, Shorya Awtar, have developed a low-tech, and relatively inexpensive surgical tool that increases the precision of a surgeon’s hand, arm, and wrist movements during minimally invasive surgery (MIS). The FlexDex platform is designed to improve the accuracy of multiple endoscopic and laparoscopic tools. The innovations in parallel kinematics, virtual center of rotation, and flexure mechanisms comes from research teams at the Precision Systems Design Lab at the University of Michigan.   Featured From: The Doctor’s Channel   Featured Image:...

So How Long Will You Live As A Doctor?

If you’re in medicine, the question has probably crossed your mind at one point or another – “How long will I actually live to work in this field?”   With 4 years of undergraduate, 4 years of medical school, 3-5 years of residency, and 1-2 years of fellowship (and maybe several fellowships if you’re a rockstar), you are easily in your mid-30s before you start practicing as an independent physician. And if you factor in the general twists and turns of life, including family, kids, and career moves, life can truly take a toll on you.   This also revives the crucial question of physician burnout, an ever-present phenomenon that is receiving greater attention from the medical community and the world. On the one hand, better work hours can ensure a more manageable workload and productive work environment for physicians in an effort to ensure better patient care. On the other hand, for a specialty such as surgery, less time in the ORs leads to lesser preparedness for independent practice at the end of residency.   So for medical students like myself at this point in my career, this may be worthwhile to think about. Do I really want to pursue a high-stress career that comes with its fair share of adrenaline-filled moments and sleepless nights or a relatively less demanding field that allows me to achieve a better...

Blood Drawing Device for Squeamish Patients

As med students I’m sure we are used to, or getting used to, the fact that we will be seeing blood almost on a daily basis in our careers. However, patients aren’t always a huge fan of blood…or needles. A company has developed a new device that draws blood without a needle and without the sight of blood.     This would make a trip to the doctor’s office much less frightening for those who are typically more apprehensive about going to their routine checkup.   Video: Source   Seventh Sense Biosystems has developed a unique tool to perform routine blood draws in a quick, painless, and hidden manner. The TAP blood collection device adheres to a patient’s arm using an attached gel pad, and with the touch of a single button can draw a 100ul whole blood sample. The blood is drawn from the capillary beds near the surface of the skin using 30 microneedles, causing minimal discomfort and without the patient ever seeing the needles or blood. A window on the front of the device shows when the blood drawing is complete, and the unit then stores the sample until it is ready to be analyzed.   Featured From: The Doctor’s Channel   Featured Image:...

Supplement or Superfluous?

Whether you’re watching TV, listening to the radio or surfing the internet, it’s almost impossible to escape multiple ads for dietary supplements that claim to make you feel healthier, be stronger and have more energy.   90s kids are sure to remember this vitamins jingle Video: Source   But how do you know if they work? And what exactly is a supplement anyway? According to the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, a supplement is “a product intended to supplement the diet that contains one of the following ingredients: vitamins, minerals, herb or botanical, and/or amino acid.”  However, dietary supplements are not intended to “treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent or cure disease.” The FTC has ruled that advertising for supplements that claim health benefits must be “truthful, not misleading and substantiated.”   Why does it matter? Recent data estimates that Americans spend over $21 billion a year on supplements, with an estimated 1 in 5 Americans taking some sort of supplement. The makers of supplements must abide by the FDA’s good manufacturing guidelines and accurately identify what their products contain – but that doesn’t always happen. Manufacturers are supposed to report serious adverse effects, and the FDA can pull products found to be unsafe.   What’s the evidence? Daily Multivitamins – If you have a healthy, well balanced diet, there is little evidence that a multivitamin can prevent...

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Field Visits

By Alanna Shaikh Flickr | ILRI Here’s how to get the most out of your field visits: 1) Don’t call them missions. That’s just offensive. It’s a field visit, a site visit, or a trip out to see your programs. Unless you are trying to convert people to the one true faith of your choice, it’s not a mission. Calling it one implies that you’re heading out there to teach the locals what’s what. You are heading out there so the locals can teach you. Don’t forget it. 2) Always keep this in mind: your two primary goals in any trip are to learn more about your programs, and more about the context they operate in. You may have specific tasks to achieve on your trip, but if you fail at those your trip still has value as long as you learn. Flickr | highersights 3) Listen. Talk to people. Talk to your staff. Talk to your beneficiaries. Talk to government officials and community leaders, and taxi drivers. It doesn’t take probing questions, or special insight on your part, just a willingness to sit down and hear what people have to say. Pack your schedule with as many meetings as you can humanly stand. By listening, you learn how your project and organization is perceived, what your community thinks of you, and what your own staff is thinking. You...

6 Ways to Tell You Are/Should be a Pediatrician

There’s no doubt about it, there are certain personalities or habits that lend themselves to certain medical specialties [see Dr. Fizzy’s: The World’s Most Sophisticated Algorithm for Choosing a Med Speciality]. With the primary care shortage, pediatricians are in high demand. So how can you know that pediatrics is right for you? [Note: this article may be renamed “6 ways to tell you are simply a giant child”] 1. Over 50% of your Facebook profile pictures are you as a child. Because children > adults, obviously.   2. When at an ice cream store, the decision undoubtedly comes down to “BIRTHDAY CAKE” versus “COTTON CANDY.”  …whatever the final verdict, sprinkles are a must. Sprinkles are always a must.   3. Your daily protein intake consists of  Purdue “breaded chicken breasts,” aka: “chicken nuggets for grown-ups.”   4. When at a fancy restaurant, you go straight for the “adult mac n’ cheese” (and pick around the lobster/bacon/anything that normal people would find delicious but that you just see as contaminating the perfect simplicity of your fave childhood throwback)   5. When your case-based learning group directs you to speak as if you were going to present to a patient, you blow your cheeks out, widen your eyes and tap your friend’s nose saying “boop boop boop”   6. When AMCAS asks you what languages you speak you check “English,” and “Other”….then...