Monthly Archives: July, 2013

Green Sea Turtle

Green Sea Turtle

Here is a photo I took of a green sea turtle while snorkeling on my Hawaii trip. I have A LOT of amazing photos that I took with my underwater camera, so I’m sure I’ll be sharing plenty more!

Hello Hawaii!!

About 1 year ago, my wife, her family and I planned a vacation to Hawaii… And it’s finally here!!

We arrived in Kauai yesterday morning and will be going to Maui after a few days here. Seeing as there’s a 6 hour time difference between here and back home, we were all pretty exhausted on day 1. Hopefully we’re all well rested and ready for day 2 now!

I’m trying to take a lot of photos so there will be plenty more to post in the future. For now, here are a couple teasers.

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My “Sunny” Backyard Project

My wife is 50% Mexican and takes great pride in her cultural history. Her grandpa had purchased a ceramic sun ornament in Mexico, and a few years after his passing, it managed to be passed on to her. I wanted to do something creative to display it in the backyard, so I came up with what you see here. Using a couple 4″x4″x6′ posts (~$15), two solar light post toppers ($20), and some exterior screws, I made what I consider to be a successful backyard decoration piece!

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My Last Day of Work

So today (yesterday really since its past midnight where I live) was my last day of work and marks 1 month until I start medical school. I’m officially no longer employed as a biochemist. It was a great job, a fantastic opportunity and I’ll miss the people I worked with.

I quit working a month in advance because I’ll be leaving for vacation in Hawaii next week. I can’t wait! I’ve never been before and of course, it will be a spectacular break before I start my next few years of studying. I’m definitely looking forward to the future!

Medscape Physician Compensation Report

First, let me say that I am by no means advocating going into medicine for money.

Second, I don’t advocate choosing your specialty based on money.

Third, I strongly discourage going into medicine and/or choosing a specialty based on money! If you do, I can assure you that you’ll most likely hate your life at some point in your career.

That being said, people often like to have an idea of physician compensation in various specialties so I figured this would be a worthwhile post. I personally think it’s interesting to see the disparities in certain fields of medicine.

I came across the Medscape Physician Compensation Report while searching around the Medscape website. According to the 2012 data, orthopedics takes the top spot with HIV/ID taking last.

The study states that compensation for employed physicians includes salary, bonus, and profit-sharing contributions.

 

When Doctors Can’t Save Patients…

“I have seen the life pass from individuals too numerous to count – men, women, and children – as they died in my presence. And I have on countless occasions borne the unpleasant responsibility of breaking the gut-wrenching news to family members and friends – who just hours prior saw their spouses or loved ones off to work or school – that the person whom they once loved so very dearly in life, had now passed on to the world of the dead. I have heard the wailing and the screaming of grieving mothers, and I have seen the faces of the victims’ fathers age before my very eyes. I have often felt that for every family to whom I have given the terrible news, I myself have sacrificed at least a few days of my own life.”

– Dr. James Cole

A quote from Trauma: My Life As An Emergency Surgeon by Dr. James Cole

This paragraph of text shows the personal hardship a trauma surgeon, or any physician for that matter, must endure with each patient they are unable to save.

Book Review – How We Do Harm

How We Do Harm: A Doctor Breaks Ranks About Being Sick in America by Otis Webb Brawley, M.D., with Paul Goldberg

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and it illustrates some sinister complications with the US healthcare system. The author provides some fascinating statistical information regarding a variety of medical subject matter. His illustration of life-altering treatments evokes thought-provoking skepticism from the reader. Simultaneously, physicians who read this book should be encouraged to develop honest relationships with their patients. To be a good doctor, you must put the patient first, before prosperity and/or prestige.

There are few things that detract from my giving it a 5/5 rating, however. Unfortunately, the author expresses a fixation on racial stereotyping throughout the book. Being an African-American, the author probably has had numerous racially provoked experiences, but incessantly discussing racial profiling seems beyond the scope of this book.

Although I do agree there is unnecessary spending in medicine, frivolous expenditures occur in low, middle and high income classes. The author expresses obvious bias when he repeatedly states abuse of the system by private insurance patients, but gives little acknowledgement to the other end of the spectrum.

The author’s ultimate goal is to illustrate a broken healthcare system in the United States, and I must say that he does so successfully. I highly recommend this book to any premed or medical student, as well as to all physicians. There is a lot of information that can undoubtedly lead to better physicians throughout the country. Overall, this was a fantastic read.

Description in one word: Eye-opening

Rating: 4/5

Make A Difference

“One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.”

– John F. Kennedy

Alive & Alert With No Pulse – FLATLINE

Imagine someone without a heartbeat, completely flatlined, yet still alert, oriented and living. Continuous flow, artificial hearts may sound like something of the future, but not anymore!

The artificial heart was constructed in a physician’s garage from materials purchased at home depot. Subsequently, experiments were conducted on animals using the homemade device. After surgically implanting the heart into these ainmals, they’d simply wake up the next day and resume their normal lifestyle. Minus one glaring difference of course… no pulse. They are flatlined.

The artificial heart works using turbines, creating a constant bloodflow throughout the body, similar to water moving through a garden hose. A patients heart would be completely removed and in its place, this artificial heart would keep their body alive. Ultimately, this could save the lives of the 300 to 400 thousand people that die from heart failure each year in the US alone.

The procedure was even performed on a man named Craig Lewis who was diagnosed with amyloidosis. The disease led to heart failure and after being examined by physicians, they determined he would die in 12 – 24 hours. This innovative device was his only chance at survival so the surgical team went to work. The next day, the patient was alert & oriented, despite his complete lack of a pulse. As stated in the video, “No heartbeat, no pulse, flatline pressure”.

Video discovered one http://www.upworthy.com

Americans, Death & Healthcare

“Americans don’t understand death. We cannot accept that death will come, and thus we cannot make a plan, talk reasonably about it, work our way to understanding, to the basic part of our humanity. This attitude – a combination of perpetual optimism, refusing the dark, and not living in reality – is unfair to patients, doctors, and insurance companies.”

– From How We Do Harm: A Doctor Breaks Ranks About Being Sick In America by Otis Webb Brawley, MD, with Paul Goldberg

A staggering statistic presented in this book just before the above quote states that 24% of Medicare spending & 15% of all health spending occurs during a patient’s last year of life. Unfortunately, much of this spending is done with little hope of benefiting the patient.

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