Welcome to Grand Rounds, Volume 3.43, hosted for the first time ever at VitumMedicinus.com.
Having used Grand Rounds as a springboard into the world of medical blogging when I first started reading medblogs, it is truly an honour to be hosting Grand Rounds.
The template for this Grand Rounds is as follows:
Description: In his quest to bring you Grand Rounds, Vitum Medicinus went from excitement to panic to enjoyment. Excitement = signing up for Grand Rounds months ago. Panic = when 22 submissions had arrived in my inbox by Friday morning. Enjoyment = putting GR together. Once I got started, it was actually nothing to be panicked about.
Why you should read it: There are some stellar posts in this edition, and for every post I’ve spelled out why it’s worth your time. As well, for the bloggers observant enough to notice that I requested they submit their favourite food along with their blog post, you’ll notice their dish of choice represented pictorially beside their entry. Just one more way Vitum Medicinus is going above and beyond in an utterly pointless and time-ineffective manner.
Award: Grand Rounds 3.43 gets the Vitum Inclusivus award, for subscribing to the age-old (and very childish) “Everybody Wins” concept. This has been manifested in the following manner: Each of the 35 blog posts that were submitted and received a confirmation e-mail have been included, and every one has also received a cryptic Latin-ish award of some sort. (If you need a certificate of your award for your office or bedroom, for reasons of ego-bolstering or personal gratification, you are welcome to print one for yourself.)
Please enjoy Grand Rounds volume 3.43. Feedback, discussion, and criticism of this edition of Grand Rounds are requested and are very much welcome.
It’s pretty annoying to have to deal with a spoiled kid who says “I’m telling my dad!” when they don’t get what they want. Val Jones, MD at RevolutionHealth.com writes about a young man with VIP syndrome, who does just that, and complains to his dad that he wasn’t admitted when there was no medical indication that he should have been. This guy treats the hospital like it’s a casino – at the end, he expects that his care should be comped because his dad threw a lot of money into it. (This would rarely happen in Canada, by the way.)
Why you should read it: You’ll be disappointed to read how elaborate this becomes, involving the CEO of the hospital and the patient’s insurance company… especially when you find out who gets the shaft at the end. As well, you might be interested reading or contributing to the discussion generated by this post.
Award: The Geographicus relocaticis award, for rightly putting this arrogant, snotty, spoiled brat in his place; as well, placement in Vitum’s Top V.
If somebody tells you that after this year’s Running of the Bulls, they have “reviewed with interest the reports and video clips of the bulls goring the runners,” they are either a) a bit out to lunch or b) a surgeon. Having not done clerkship, I have no bitterness towards surgeons (yet?) so I will not take the well-set-up opportunity to say something like “you have to be ‘a’ to be ‘b’.” Won’t go there.
Instead, I will simply say that the editors at Inside Surgery have put together a unique post they call “Possible Types of Injury after being Gored by a Bull.” I don’t think any more explanation is necessary. Strangely enough, this submission is eerily similar to my medschool friend’s desire today to discuss “Possible Types of Injury after being Beaten with a Hammer” (he came up with two thanks to his ER shadowing shift last night).
Why you should read it: Because you don’t want to be in the situation, inevitably someday, when you wish you did. Read it, and then you’ll be the hero who knows what to do when you’ll have to provide first aid to / assess / refer a patient who has been gored by a bull. Subsequently, eligible members of the opposite gender will flock towards you. (Not guaranteed.)
Award: The Practicalus improbabalus award, for being practical advice for an unlikely situation; as well, placement in Vitum’s Top V.
Maria at Intueri.org hosts a Literary Medblogging Project called A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words. The writing in this little project is so good that I can’t even top the description that Maria submitted: “Five medbloggers of the more literary persuasion collaborated on what has become an (at least) annual event--you know, to take a break from the usual randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled rants that usually occupy our blogs.”
Why you should read it: Stunning writing. Times five.
Award: Serialus excellencissimus award, for high-quality writing over and over; as well, placement in Vitum’s Top V.
In an old man’s final hours, a nurse came into his room with a syringe and hooked it up to his IV. When the patient’s son asked what she was administering, she said, “Oh, just some morphine. Just to make him comfortable. We don’t want him in any pain.” It wasn’t long after that my grandfather breathed his last.
Geena at Code Blog submitted a story that reminded me a lot about this incident with my grandfather, and her and I actually got into a little bit of a discussion about this practice that happens in real life but isn’t taught in nursing school. In her post “On the verge of what society finds acceptable,” she reacts to a physician in the UK who took this one step further, administering not a sedative but a paralytic to an infant with agonal respirations.
Why you should read it: You should know where you stand on topics like this one. If it happened to my grandfather, it could happen to yours, or to your child, or to you. And if doctors are apparently taking this one step further, you might want to know about it.
Award: The Contemplatus arresticus award, for discussing something that goes on in the hospital that makes you really stop and think for a minute; as well, placement in Vitum’s Top V.
Over my med body!'s Graham Walker gets top points for putting together ... get this ... The Clerkship Video Workout Guide, specifically targeted at preclinical students who are about to enter the world of the wards. This video answers a lot of my questions about clerkship, especially the burning one, "What physical manoeuvers can I practice to prepare for my clerkship?" My favourite exercise: "Surgery Exercise Number 1: I like to call it... Just stand there." It's almost as good as the final surgery exercise. Anyone who will one day hold (or has held) a retractor at an uncomfortable and awkward angle will identify quite well with this video.
Why you should read it: Because it’s not even a blog post that you have to read; it’s one you watch. And laugh at.
Award: The Goldenglobus Oscarifficus award, for putting his dashing likeness on camera; as well, placement in Vitum’s Top V.
"A patient refuses a life-saving treatment. What do you do?" Virtually every medical student has looked over ethical cases in an effort to prepare for their medical school interviews. This is all well and good, until you realize that an ethical situation takes on a whole different meaning from reading about it in a book, to when you're on the wards and it's a patient staring you in the face. Sid Schwab writes a post at Surgeonsblog called "Blood Oath" on one of the classic med school interview ethical cases... and talks about how in real life, finding the edges of the often blurry ethical 'line' can be a lot harder than citing a textbook on ethics - or simply falling back on legal precedent.
Why you should read it: Instead of reading about an ethical dilemma discussed by a philosopher sitting in an office, try reading about an ethical dilemma by a physician who has had to put ethics into action in a life-or-death situation. Trust me, it's much more compelling.
Award: Honorarius medicinus, for having the honour to respect patient's wishes, even when some ethicists would say he's wrong, and when colleagues have said they won't do it. As well, a placement in Vitum's Top V (which I suppose is now the top VI) as a way to apologize for my oversight in not including his post in Grand Rounds from the start.
Bongi, the surgeon who writes at Other Things Amanzi, submitted two equally disgusting stories of experiences in the operating room. If you think the job of Grand Rounds editor is easy, it is making decisions like this which choosing between these two posts that would convince you otherwise. I went with the one that doesn’t have the high likelihood of ruining a popular food for you…(medicine tends to do that with food…check back here soon for a post on that, in the works) though I’m sure you’ll easily be able to find the post I chose not to include, if you look for it.
Why you should read it: To prove to yourself that you have a strong stomach, and to catch a glimpse of just how big that mythical creature known as the Ego of Surgeons actually is.
Award: The Incitus Vomitus award for the most disgusting post to Grand Rounds this week. (I won’t translate the name of this award into English. If you really want to know, look it up in any reputable Latin textbook).
It’s a medical student’s greatest dream come true. They are standing in the wards, when, all of a sudden, “CODE BLUE” comes squaking out of the intercom. All of a sudden, the student gets to witness one of medicine’s greatest orchestrated lifesaving ballets in action: running a code. After reading about CODE RED at Rickety Contrivances of Doing Good, I found out that a CODE RED is just like a CODE BLUE - the only difference is, in a code red, nobody knows what to do. Random fact: “Paging Dr. Pyro” is used by some hospitals to mean “Code Red,” according to the infallible Wikipedia. As a patient, I’m not sure which would be more unsettling to hear over the intercom.
Why you should read it: Because experiencing a real live Code Red, albeit vicariously, is pretty exciting (at first).
Award: The Combusticus avoidicus award, for averting certain disaster by fire.
From Counting Sheep, Tales from the Nurse Anaesthesia Front comes a story of a combative nurse who wrestles a patient into TKO, despite the patient being the greatest heavyweight boxing champion of all time. Pretty macho for someone who claims that their favourite food is “any kind of chocolate cake with a warm molten center.”
Why you should read it: This story has to be read to be believed.
Award: The World Heavyweight Boxing Championship Trophy. For obvious reasons.
Why you should read it: Because that’s not the end of the story; Dr. Rob has found “a ray of sunshine” to light up the dreary days, and you should read to find out what it is.
Award: Employerus exemplari, for making “Equal Opportunity Employer” more than just an empty statement stamped on his office’s want ads.
In a post titled simply “Loss,” Neonatal Doc writes an incredibly touching story that outlines one of the most tragic moments in any parent’s life – the loss of a child. It’s a moment that admittedly neither a fresh medical student like myself, nor a seasoned physician like neonatologist looks forward to.
Why you should read it: Because it is better to be in a situation of consoling grief once you have read a post like this, which (along with its reader comments) tells you what you should and should not do in that situation.
Award: Lacrimarum nostrum, the tear-jerker award, for making us cry. Have a tissue handy.
Just as in the previous post, the McCanns are suffering from a lost child, but in another, entirely different and equally devastating, manner – their daughter simply disappeared, victim to abduction. Dr. Rima Bishara at The Doctor Blogger has passed on what was originally an e-mail the family hopes will be forwarded extensively so that this four-year-old girl can be found. (Of course, should you choose to donate money to any cause online, make sure that you are looking at a legitimate website - some pathetic criminals have tried to profit from this family’s loss, defrauding people into giving to fake funds by setting up fake websites).
Why you should read it: Because Madeline has such a unique birthmark that unlike many other missing children’s photos, you won’t forget her’s.
Award: Compassionatus empathaticus, for showing the compassion and empathy characteristic of an excellent physician by petitioning for this child’s speedy return to her family.
Bruce Campbell, MD writes a reflection on the difference between “knowing” and “understanding,” as he was taught by a five-year-old boy. Let’s just say that it happened on the 5th of July, many years ago, and like a good dramatic story, this one contains a good dose of suspense.
Why you should read it: Generally, any time a story starts with “This is something I have never forgotten,” it’s usually a pretty good story. As well, this post was designated by a reader as a piece of wisdom worth saving for her unborn grandchild.
Award: The Paternalis aureus award, for providing golden, fatherly medical advice in the form of high-quality writing.
Dean Moyer describes himself as “a guy who discovered one day that he had a bad back and then spent 10 years ignorantly seeking chiropractic treatment for it.” And yet, for an anti-chiropractic blog, it’s actually really well put together and respectable – arguments are objective, the website takes a tone of contemplative disappointment rather than ignorant rage, and he’s not trying to sell quack creams or potions. As you might expect, there are people who take offence to his website, particularly people who stand something to lose should the chiropractic profession be challenged. The post “Dumb Day and Disk Decompression of Delaware” talks about the unusual response of one of these people to Dean’s website. Make sure you click through the “Continuing Saga” links at the end of the post to get the full story.
Why you should read it: A few reasons: 1. The alliteration in the title of his post. It’s incredibly impressive, in its intelligent idiosyncrasies (I spent more time on that sentence than I did on all of Grand Rounds). 2. Hillbilly humour. Always gets a laugh (what I like to call a ‘universal punchline,’ kindof like Chuck Norris jokes). 3. In all seriousness - you might be surprised at the way these “professionals” have responded to Dean’s website when you get to Part 3.
Award: A Bloggisimus novicus award, for being a First-time submitter to Grand Rounds! Welcome Dean!
ERnursey at, uh, ERNursey writes a post just like the ones that got me hooked on medical blogging, called “Dumb reasons to come to the ER.” I don’t know why I get such a kick out of patients demonstrating lapse in judgement, when they’ll inevitably be a source of major frustration to me once I actually become a doctor.
Why you should read it: Because you won’t believe how dumb some of these people are, and because you should leave a comment encouraging ERnursey to provide more stories like this.
Award: Toothicus clenchicus award. For being able to clench her teeth and get through having to deal with these stupid, stupid patients.
“Suffer the children who don’t fit the mould,” by nurse Sandy Szwarc at Junk Food Science, is another one of those posts best described by the author. It begins: “Imagine having a daughter with a rare condition that is poorly understood and health authorities seem disinterested in helping to diagnose. It’s not that girls and boys just like your daughter haven’t been seen throughout history, but today she’s mocked and viewed as a freak and everyone is pointing the blame at you — so much so, that government officials have taken your daughter away and made her a ward of the state.”
Why you should read it: Because you’ll be shocked to read the ridiculous reason this girl was taken away from her family. And, Sandy uses rational discussion to propose that a dramatic blanket crackdown on childhood obesity may NOT be that well thought out.
Award: The Advocatius familii award, for using her background in clinical medicine and scientific education to advocate for the unfortunate parents.
Dr. Linda Regan, a contributor for the NY Emergency Medicine blog, discusses some of her experiences as a female physician ranging from breast feeding to ordering morphine that suggest gender disparities still exist in the world of medicine.
Why you should read it: Because when you read the first story of how she was treated by a chief, you’ll be shocked that things like this actually happen in real life.
Award: The Feminatus commendibus award, for being a female having to put up with what is, in many ways, a male-dominated profession.
Dr. Paul Auerbach talks about a trap that caught his friend during a camping trip. You will be surprised to see how dangerous such simple consumer products can be.
Why you should read it: Because pictures tell a thousand words, and you should click the link lest ye end up in the same trap.
Award: Solutionatus ingenious award, for coming up with more than one possible solution for an unexpected problem. . . and choosing the better one.
When I put out a call for posts containing drama, action, OR humour, I never expected to get a post that tried so hard to fit all three (and did so successfully). Interestingly enough, it doesn’t seem like Kim at Emergiblog had to try so hard – she was treated to all three elements during a shift on her 50th birthday.
Why you should read it: Because a) you need to click on the link so that you can comment and wish Kim a happy 50th birthday, and b) because once you read this you will be convinced to take off work any birthday of yours that ends with a zero (or two).
Award: Kim basically begged for an award, so she gets the Desperatus inclusivus award, for working hardest to fit the theme of this week’s Grand Rounds. You’re one in a million, Kim. (well, one in 35.) Look, you even got your own category!
At first I misread the e-mail and thought that a ham and cheese sandwich was Anonymous Therapist's (Keep Breathing) favourite food, but later realized that a ham and cheese sandwich is instead an integral part of the plot for The Tale of Mr. Bignose, one of AT’s favourite patients.
Why you should read it: Uses a ham and cheese sandwich as a plot device, as well as the word “curmudgeon.” And stories about favourite patients are always worth reading.
Award: The Keenerificus maximus award, for being the first blogger to submit a post to Grand Rounds v3.43.
Written from a patient’s perspective, Ileana’s blog Beating Social Anxiety holds more than one post about feeling like a medical condition rather than a person. In this particular post, “Are you ready to use props,” Ileana tells about a medical student who leaves a much better impression than either the doctor or a resident. (If this ever happens to you, make sure you encourage the medical student. They can always use some positive reinforcement.)
Why you should read it: Anyone in the health care profession should always jump on any chance to see how things are viewed from the patient’s perspective, especially when we need to learn from another health care provider’s screwup. This post is also a solid reminder that you never know if something deeper is going on.
Award: The Bloggisimus novicus award, for being a First-time submitter to Grand Rounds! Welcome Ileana!
Kristie McNealy, MD of NICU 101 tells the story that explains why she would put a residency on hold, and instead focus on family-centered care to advocate for families of premature and critically ill newborns. Unfortunately, it’s another rude healthcare provider story. Fortunately, Dr. McNealy chooses the positive way out, instead of brooding in anger and resentment, she actually uses it to motivate her into making a difference.
Why you should read it: Because this post uses a touching story to show that in the same way that it is important to see things from a patient’s perspective, healthcare providers need to learn to see things from the family’s perspective as well.
Award: Transformus Obstacalis Opportunisticus, the Transforming Obstacles into Opportunities award, for being treated rudely by a doctor . . . and working hard towards making something positive come out of it.
Type I diabetic Kerri Morrone at Six Until Me reviews a highly technical product that promises to revolutionize the medical industry. The only dilemma it presents is whether to use the product when your blood sugar is low, or not.
Why you should read it: Because this product could change your life, and I’m not going to tell you what it is. It even lights up. Personally, I can’t wait to get my hands on one.
Award: Jealousum incitum, for inciting jealousy in me. Yes. This product is that good.
The FDA issued a warning in 2004, stating that antidepressant use in patients less 25 years old can increase suicide rates, after hearing anecdotal evidence from mothers who had lost their children to suicide and implicated their children’s medication. Jake Young at Pure Pedantry lashes out against the FDA for this “black box” warning, citing a recent publication in the American Journal of Psychiatry which wields evidence to contradict the FDA’s anecdotal conclusion.
Why you should read it: Because this issue is a hot topic, and you should get involved in – or at least take a look at – the already hot discussion going on in the comments section under Jake’s post.
Award: Thermophilus symposius, for inciting the most heated discussion topic of any post in this issue of Grand Rounds.
Dr. Jolie Bookspan, also known as The Fitness Fixer, talks a bit about her past research with the Navy. Apparently, Viagra has been tested for use against altitude sickness. Grand Rounds was almost left incomplete as I spent most of the weekend trying to find out how to apply to the navy.
Why you should read it: Because you want to know, just like I did, what role Viagra could play in air travel. (Get your mind out of the gutter.)
Award: The Aviatus Erectus award, for encouraging flight medicine researchers who walk uprightly in both posture and morality. (You! Mind…gutter…out….now.)
Amy at Diabetes Mine has submitted a post called “Help Cure MI,” in which she reviews MI – a condition described as invisible, chronic, and suffered in silence by millions. You might even have it and not know it yet.
Why you should read it: Because you don’t know what either MI or the award below mean, and reading this post will let you find out both.
Award: Paedis ravinus honourificus, or the Crow’s Foot Badge of Honour.
Alvaro at The Sharp Brains blog presents an interview with a paediatrician, discussing a cognitive skill called Working Memory. There are some good examples that help explain what Working Memory is, and how it has helped patients with seemingly insurmountable challenges due to ADD / ADHD.
Why you should read it: Brains are fascinating, and everyone wants a sharp brain. Where better to start than reading a website called Sharp Brains. And it’s exciting to learn of a technique to help children who suffer from ADHD.
Award: The Intellectus stimulatus award, for provision of brain teasers elsewhere on the website. I’ll admit, I got sidetracked.
Mousetrapper at Med Journal Watch describes the latest in Type II Diabetes research: The practice of taking selenium to prevent diabetes has been disputed, with reports in the mass media that it actually can cause a 50% increase in diabetes risk.
Why you should read it: So you can see Mousetrapper’s level-headed recommendation on how to handle this latest perspective.
Award: Cuttimus edgimus award, for staying on the cutting edge of medical research.
Your mother had breast cancer. So did her sister, and your two sisters have both been diagnosed in the last year. What’s the reasonable thing to do? Get genetically tested for breast cancer. Or is it? Dr. Lei writes at eyeondna.com about public perception of genetic testing, and – get this – a recent article published in NEJM suggesting that BRCA mutation carriers with breast cancer actually don’t have a worse prognosis.
Why you should read it: Because Dr. Lei addresses the question, “Given the above, should you still undergo genetic testing?”
Award: Advicum practicalus, for providing practical advice on a topic that can be pretty confusing for medical students, let alone patients.
My mother taught me not to sign my organ donor card. “You never know,” she said, “maybe if they need the organs they’ll let you die, then scoop them up.” TC, an organ procurement transplant coordinator who writes at Donorcycle, tells why this kind of view is more of a myth than anything.
In case you’re wondering, I did sign my donor card. This, by the way, was one of the first times I went against my mother’s wishes, and it has become progressively easier since then – I have now come so far as owning my own motorcycle (okay, just kidding. I’m only at about staying awake past 8:00 pm) .
Why you should read it: Because it’s up to you to decide if TC’s argument should be believed…especially with a title like “Organ procurement transplant coordinator.” (Just kidding. I believe it.) It might also help answer that question which is undoubtedly in your mind, “When I am around an organ procurement transplant coordinator, should I keep a careful hold on my organs?”
Award: The Scooper Dooper award, for being an organ procurement transplant coordinator.
Do doctors owe anything to their patients if they write a book? Even if the book doesn’t include that patient? Or if it does include the patient but alters all details? What about the above scenarios in relation to blogging? LMF, the author at Ad Libitum, tackles these questions in a post entitled “From Hippocrates to HIPAA” in which the subject of blogging about patients comes up yet again. Included is a helpful list of recommendations for medbloggers.
Why you should read it: Because if you are a patient, or a blogger, it is in your best interest to be fully aware of the privacy issues that are paramount to blogging health care providers, and it’s hard to get to the point where you’ve read too many reminders about HIPAA.
Award: The Checkissimus realitus award, for providing a reality check for anyone who runs a blog and reminding us all that we must be accountable for what ends up being published.
Bob Vineyard publishes a post at Insureblog akin to playing “taps” in memory of Dekalb General Hospital’s emergency room. This shutdown is putting the residents in its area an additional 20 minutes away from the nearest trauma centre
Why you should read it: So you can find out why it closed; and, so you can read if an ER near you could be next on the chopping block – Bob lists some other ERs that are within reach of the axe.
Award: Elevatus routus (the High Road award), for taking the effort to actually propose a solution to a healthcare crisis, rather than simply complain about it.
David Williams hosts an interview at MedTripInfo (a blog about international medical travel) with Stephanie Sulger, a nurse and founder of Medical Tours International. MTI organizes trips for patients to receive medical care in other countries, safely and cost effectively. (Unfortunately, due to Canada’s waitlist issue – don’t believe how Canada was painted in Sicko - this is a business that would do well in Canada).
Why you should read it: Very interesting reading, especially the discussion about how Stephanie’s company decides if a hospital is a “top hospital” worth sending patients to or not, or what it’s like suing a doctor overseas, or how some patients are retaining a primary care physician overseas.
Award: The Contemplatis exterioris award, for a solid interview with someone who is thinking outside the box when it comes to getting your health needs addressed.
At Hope for Pandora, Thomas writes about the upcoming confirmation hearings for America’s Next Top Doctor. Thomas suggests that the previous Surgeon General was muzzled by the Bush administration on a couple of controversial topics.
Why you should read it: This is one dramatic, conspiracy-esque plot. Sounds like an episode straight out of The West Wing.
Award: The Artistico award, for having great taste in Blogger themes.
A post from Medopedia discusses Pediatric Sibling Transplants, Ethics and Futility in a way that really makes you believe there could be is some reason in trying medical treatments that have been deemed futile in the past.
Just when you think that health policy in a state is taking a step in a positive direction in terms of reducing costs, what would expect to happen next? A complete 180° in policy, of course, and costs go up instead of down. Go figure. David Williams writes at the Health Business Blog about one more aspect of the sad health care system those Americans have. (This probably wouldn’t ever happen in Canada, by the way.)
Why you should read it: This could affect you, if you have a health plan through your company.
Award: Flagicus rougeicus, or the Red Flag award, for drawing attention to another concerning aspect of American health care.
Why you should read it: Because this post could really make you look differently at the ethics of so-called futile procedures.
Award: Perspectivus broadendii, for having the potential to broaden your perspective on the ethical considerations about futility of medical treatments.
And that’s a wrap! Thank you for reading Grand Rounds Volume 3.43.
Again, feedback, discussion, and criticism of this edition of Grand Rounds are requested and are very much welcome.
Of course, thanks to Nicholas Genes for starting this fabulous tradition. Here's the schedule for the rest of the upcoming Grand Rounds.