Medical decisions — tradeoffs, emotions, preferences and experts

Maybe you wonder why I, a cardiologist, writes about vaccines and mammography. It is because I have grown intensely interested in the medical decision. As a doctor in a preference-sensitive field, electrophysiology, how do I help patients understand and choose the best path–of which there are many. This seems like a simple task, but with […]

Does the controversy over statin drugs herald a new era of doctoring?

In July, I wrote a short blog post expressing doubt about the value of statin drugs. Medscape republished it on their website and it went viral–in a medical sort of way. The post has 631 comments. It was Tweeted extensively, page views have been off the charts (for me), and I even received an invitation […]

Vaccine anxiety… A teachable moment for doctors?

I’ve read and re-read Dr. Paul Offit’s WSJ opinion piece, The Anti-Vaccination Epidemic. Dr. Offit is a professor of Pediatrics at a leading hospital in the United States. He is also an author, a scientist, and a vaccine-developer. In short, he is a major physician leader. I’ll come back to that point in just a […]

Guest post — 10 observations from a 49 year-old falls risk.

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It finally happened. After years of sitting at John’s bedside through multiple serious bike crashes, I had one of my own. I’ve had plenty of time to build up a ridiculous amount of smugness about why he crashes and I don’t. “John is reckless; Staci is cautious. John rides like an airplane engine on a […]

Death-denial is something doctors can change

I’m not sure why so many doctors don’t get it. Death, that is. Where in medical school, or residency, or even in non-medical life, did this many smart people get the idea that death is optional? Theresa Brown is an oncology nurse and a writer. This weekend, her regular column in the New York Times […]

Getting the dabigatran (Pradaxa) story right… Correcting four common mistakes.

This purpose of this post is to clarify misstatements made in a recent New York Times article about the anticoagulant drug dabigatran (Pradaxa). The piece had three major inaccuracies, plus one thought-error from a cardiology leader. I write these words because the most valuable tool in the treatment of AF is knowledge. Getting it right […]

A vacation book review…

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The good thing about vacation is that time off is essential. The bad thing is the reentry, which, lately, is harried enough to induce arrhythmia. Almost. Thankfully, I made it through the reentry week and now sit in peace on Saturday morning with my MacBook. I thought I would tell you a little about my […]

The why and how of public distrust of vaccines…Surely, questions worth asking

One of the biggest changes in healthcare in recent times is the emphasis on decision-making. Patients and doctors now work with big menus. It’s mostly a good thing, but a certainty with increased choice is increased conflict. As a doctor who works in a field–electrophysiology–that is almost exclusively preference-sensitive, I’ve grown increasingly interested in why […]

Disruption in medical education — Teaching the teachers via social media?

Everyone agrees that doctors should be informed and up-to-date. Perpetual medical education has always been a vital component of doctoring. But now, as the rapid pace of healthcare innovation pushes against the limits of biology, and really, our humanity, medical education gains even more importance. Doctors (and patients) must know what can and cannot be […]