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Tag Archives: med

What happened to Heath Ledger was not a fluke. Research done over ten years showed that fatal medication errors have increased almost 4 fold since the early 1980s. The release of this information is merely coincidental, but if the death of a celebrity can’t get people to educate themselves about medications, then this research certainly won’t. Ledger did not die of some strange circumstance, and people need to be aware of the reactions they might have to their medications, changing their medications, or consuming street drugs or alcohol in addition to medicine. Just as importantly, doctors, nurses, other hospital staff, and pharmacists need to help inform patients about how to properly deal with using medication and the seriousness of the possible consequence from deviation (citation: medline plus).

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An especially special friend of mine spoke with me about the uselessness of primary care physicians. And almost had me, but something came to mind when I read an article in the July 2, 2008 edition of the JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) by Dr. Michael Stillman. My friend presented me with the idea that general care physicians are not always very knowledgable about ailments or certain health problems that specialists would know. I had a personal experience that comes under this category. However, when the patient of a primary care physician is ill or injured, the primary care physician will know the patient well. One of the most important aspects of health care that is commonly overlooked is knowing the patient. Often such luxury is not possible with the busy schedule of doctors, or the lack of need to see certain doctors. Nonetheless, it can influence care dramatically. Dr. Stillman gave an example in his article where the medications of a patient had been changed to a more expensive regimen without his knowledge. The prescribing doctor would not have know that the patient could never afford those medications, but Dr. Stillman knew and prescribed the original, less-costly, and equally effective regimen.  A number of other issues come up as well when identifying the importance of primary care physicians. When making an important medical decision, trust between a patient and the doctor becomes essential. Patients, even if are under the care of a specialist may want to consult a phyiscian with whom they are familiar before making an important decision. Primary Care doctors may not necessarily save lifes, but they can certian help people maintain the highest quality of life possible. So with the greatest level of respect possible, I disagree with my friend [I will convince her I am right, and if she happens to read this before I try the art of persuasion…] (citation: JAMA July 2, 2008 p.21-22).

This summer I attended the Summer Medical & Dental Education Program at the University of Virginia. As an aspiring doctor, the six weeks were more than worth the time and effort. During the program numerous doctors came to speak to our group of about seventy students on varying topics; everything from plastic surgery, urology, and optimology, to cardiology, radiology, and endocrinology. One of the lecturers, Dr. Cato Laurencin has been acknowledged as one of the top researchers in the world. We were also allowed to enter the anatomy lab where we saw a cadaver and an unfortunate collection of fetuses. In the autopsy area, we handled organs that were normal and damaged, included a human brain, heart, and lung. In smaller groups we toured different areas of the hospital, including the futuristic radiology area. Also, we had a chance to interview people at an elderly care center near Charlottesville. The people running the program were by far some of the most dedicated, caring indivivuals I had ever meet, and the culturally diverse participants were kind and talented. The most important part of the program, even more so than any of the great things I learned, is the friends that I made.