Where is Cardiology in 2014? An AHA Review

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Last week, I attended the American Heart Association (AHA) 2014 Scientific Sessions in Chicago. I was there as both a learner and physician-writer for theHeart.org. Here are a few paragraphs on the meeting. The main purpose of this post is to introduce the five editorials I wrote. The links to the posts are at the […]

Staying Alive — Start The Heart Foundation taking off in Louisville

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My friend and colleague William Dillon (@wmdillon) is an interventional cardiologist. He and his wife Sally have started a non-profit foundation called Start the Heart Foundation. Their goal is to improve survival of patients who suffer cardiac arrest in Louisville Kentucky. The odds of surviving cardiac arrest here in Louisville are dismal: more than 90% […]

Because there is nothing else to do

If you ever hear your doctor say we are going to do something because there is nothing else to do, be afraid. Be very afraid. First of all, it should be self-evident that if caring and empathy and relief of suffering count as doing something, there is always something to do for patients. A growing problem […]

Public health is on the ballot this Election Day

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The election I am going to watch today is in San Francisco. On the ballot there is Proposition E, an initiative to add a 2-cent tax for every once of sugary beverage. Choose Health SF, a group supporting the tax, estimates it would raise $54 million, which would go towards, get this: “funding active recreation […]

People are not units — US healthcare policy obstructs good doctoring

There is a lot of talk about rewarding value in US healthcare. Don’t believe any of it. It’s not happening. Not even close. This is a post about the real world–where I practice medicine. In a comment on yesterday’s post, Lisa wondered how I connected the current model of employing doctors and paying them on […]

Disturbing trends in the heart rhythm clinic — New post up over at theHeart.org

What follows is a short intro to my latest column on theHeart.org | Medscape Cardiology. —- The title of the piece is Three Concerning Trends in the Electrophysiology Clinic. I worked on the 750-word piece the entire week. It was hard to get the tone just right. This is because the trends do not reflect […]

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 […]

To deprescribe…Adding a new verb to the language of doctoring

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What follows is my most recent editorial in the Journal of the Kentucky Medical Association. It is reposted with permission. **** One day every month, my wife Staci, a hospice and palliative care physician, goes to see an elderly woman in the nursing home. The routine has gone on for years, which is surprising because […]

Writing about lifestyle modification — and blaming the patient

I was pleased when the editors of the TheHeart.org reposted my recent essay, Let’s Stop the Unnecessary Treatment of Heart Disease. As of this morning, there are 167 comments. The majority of them were positive, and supportive of lifestyle promotion. Negative comments represented a small minority, but were notable in their vigor, and occasionally reached […]

Missing the first US Ebola case – A learning opportunity in patient safety and caregiver distraction

It was a mistake to send the Liberian national Thomas Eric Duncan home from a Dallas emergency room after he presented with fever and pain, which were early signs of Ebola infection. It would be a larger mistake to miss an important learning opportunity. This case demonstrates what I believe to be a major threat […]

New post up on theHeart.org — Dr Emanuel’s Death Wish Harms Rather Than Helps

You know the story on US healthcare and the elderly: Our current default is an American tragedy. It’s devoid of truth and candor; it’s inhumane and it’s wasteful. Recent gains in longevity have come by extending the period of disability right before death. Aggressive care treatment is often hoisted onto the frail because caregivers lack […]