H. Jack Geiger M.D.

A Doctor Who Fought Social Ills, Dies at 95 He used medicine to take on poverty, racism and the threat of nuclear destruction. I’ve heard about Jack Geiger for decades – but didn’t know what a picaresque life he led!  After reading his obit in the 12.29.20 NY Times, I can’t wait for the movie starring Harrison Ford to screen. Excerpts: NY Times Obit. Dr. H. Jack Geiger, who ran away to Harlem as a teenager and emerged a lifelong civil rights activist, helping to bring medical care and services to impoverished regions and to start two antiwar doctors groups that shared in Nobel Peace Prizes, died on Monday at … Continue reading

W.H. Auden on The Skin Microbiome

A New Year Greeting The poet, W.H. Auden, matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford in 1925 with a scholarship to study Biology. This poem should interest physicians, especially dermatologists. Had Auden become a biologist, think what the world might have lost! Osler quotes Lowell: “We reward the discoverer of an anaesthetic for the body and make him a member of all the societies, but him who finds a nepenthe for the soul we elect into the small Academy of the Immortals.’” (from John Keats: The Apothecary Poet, in The Alabama Student.) This poem was published in Scientific American in 1969 On this day tradition allots         to taking … Continue reading

Polypharmacy: an Introduction

We recently came across a great video to introduce this subject. Bohemian Polypharmacy on Youtube A good review article on this topic is: How polypharmacy has become a medical burden worldwide. “Taking a multitude of medicines, whether they are prescription drugs, OTC treatments, herbal or dietary supplements — known as polypharmacy — is not only a burden for patients, it can be dangerous. We need a way to mitigate the danger of unwanted drug interactions and improve drug adherence to essential medicines, and this is as true for the United States as it is in Europe. It is imperative that patients are empowered to make informed decisions about the medicines … Continue reading

Campaigns of Fear

It’s Time to Scare People About Covid — We need a Campaign of Fear Our public messaging about the virus should explain the real costs — in graphic terms — of catching the virus. by Elisabeth RosenthalNY Times  Dec. 7, 2020 Link to Article. (If the link doesn’t work — here is the article.) I still remember exactly where I was sitting decades ago, during the short film shown in class: For a few painful minutes, we watched a woman talking mechanically, raspily through a hole in her throat, pausing occasionally to gasp for air. The public service message: This is what can happen if you smoke. I had nightmares … Continue reading

COI: Alive & Thriving at NEJM

COI: Alive and Thriving at the NEJM by David J. Elpern, M.D. Abstract: As a reader of the New England Journal of Medicine for more than 50 years, I have observed its growing entanglements with the pharmaceutical industry.  This analysis of a recent NEJM research article highlights authorial and editorial conflicts of interest (COI) and discusses how the Journal benefits financially from pharmaceutical advertisements for the very drug reported on in the Original Article.  What does this say about top tier medical publishing when the world’s most prestigious medical journal is clearly intertwined with the drug industry? The December 3, 2020 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), … Continue reading

Thrissur’s Culinary Delights

Remembrance of Kerala Repasts: Thrissur’s culinary delights By Ravi Shankar* Food is an important aspect of the culture of a place. Doctors should be knowledgeable about the rich traditions which have developed around food.  As a trainee in Kerala, the author reveled in the rich and varied local cuisine.  May his memories whet your appetite and perhaps you’ll recall some long dormant gustatory delights of your yesteryears. ************** I carefully opened the banana leaf in which the ‘ada’ was wrapped. The delicate aroma of freshly steamed coconut and jaggery with a hint of clove and cardamom wafted to my nostrils. Each bite was a poem, a symphony of flavours. Ada/adai … Continue reading

Tomisaku Kawasaki – Obituary

“Not many physicians have a disease named after them. Tomisaku (“Tomi”) Kawasaki, who has died in June 2020 at the age of 95, was one of the few. Kawasaki disease, a rare inflammatory autoimmune disorder found in young children, is his namesake. In recent months, this syndrome has been in the global media spotlight as pediatricians discuss its similarity to the complications of covid-19 in children.” The October 16, 2020 issue of the British Medical Journal has a moving obituary of this humble, but iconic pediatrician. A pdf of the BMJ obituary is attached below.

All The President’s Doctors

All the President’s Doctors: Walter Read and the Collusion of Anonymityby A.R. Pito Even today, Michael Balint’s seminal book, “The Doctor, His Patient and the Illness” is essential to understanding how patients are managed and treated by physicians and caregivers.  When one considers Team Trump at Walter Read we see this on a granular level. Excerpts from Balint’s book: Chapter 7: The Collusion of AnonymityIn difficult cases, the general practitioner [PCP} does not, as a rule, carry the burden of responsibility alone. The appearance of consultants introduces a number of new factors in the doctor-patient relationship The term the collusion of anonymity refers to who is responsible for the patient … Continue reading

Reducing Health Disparities in Dermatology: The Free Clinic as a Model and What We Can Do

By Christine P. Lin* *Keywords: Free clinic, Health disparities, People of color, Skin cancer *The author has no conflicts of interest to report   Nestled at the intersection of 34th Street and Boston Avenue, The Free Clinic at Lubbock Impact has diligently served over 5,300 uninsured patients in the past 10 years. Every Wednesday evening from 6 to 9 PM, our clinic offers free primary care services to the uninsured Lubbock and West Texas population ages 19 to 64 years old. Specialty nights such as Dermatology, Ophthalmology, and Physical Therapy are also held every month. Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC)-affiliated volunteer physicians, residents, medical students, nurses, pharmacists, social … Continue reading

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