Monday, May 21, 2018

The requirement that residents must be involved in research should be abolished

In a 2012 blog post called “Things that puzzle me about surgical education,” I wrote the following:

“There was the emphasis that still exists today on making sure every resident did research. At last, some are questioning the value of this for the average clinical surgeon. Contrary to the prevailing wisdom, there is no evidence that a resident who is dragged kicking and screaming through a clinical research project or who spent a year in someone’s lab really learns anything about research or how to read and understand a research paper.”

Nothing has changed.

According to the ACGME Program Requirements for Graduate Medical Education in General Surgery Section II.B.5.e: Clinical and/or basic science research must be ongoing in the residency program; based at the institution where residents spend the majority of their clinical time; and performed by faculty with frequent, direct resident involvement.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Family of late pop singer Prince sues everyone for malpractice

According to the New York Times, “The suit claims that Prince’s death was a “direct and proximate cause” of the hospital failing to appropriately diagnose and treat the overdose, as well as its failure to investigate the cause and provide proper counseling.”

The suit names a hospital and an emergency department physician in Moline, Illinois where Prince’s private jet made an emergency landing when he became unresponsive during a 2016 flight home to Minnesota from a concert in Atlanta.

An employee of his told paramedics who met the plane that he “may have taken a Percocet.” After Prince regained consciousness, he supposedly told the ED doc he had taken two Percocets, but she did not believe him because it had taken two doses of Narcan, an opioid antidote, to revive him.

Friends said he refused all testing including blood and urine toxicology because he was trying to keep his addiction a secret.

Monday, April 23, 2018

2018 Residency Match Update

The National Resident Matching Program Advance Data Tables for the 2018 Main Residency Match again show an increase in the number of first-year positions offered, going from 28,849 in 2017 to 30,232 this year.

Of the 18,818 seniors graduating from US allopathic medical schools, 17,740 (94.3%) matched, 1078 (5.7%) did not match, and 474 withdrew or did not submit a rank list. The 5.7% who went unmatched was identical to last year’s figure.

The 1511 graduates of US allopathic medical schools from previous years did not fare as well with 43.8% matching and 56.2% going unmatched—slightly worse than the 2017 percentages.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

What is the worst way to combat school shootings?


Please read carefully because there might be a test.

A school district in Pennsylvania placed a 5 gallon bucket of rocks in each classroom two years ago. If locking and barricading the classroom door does not work, the students have been instructed to throw rocks at the would-be shooter instead of hiding under their desks.

According to a Buzzfeed story, the school superintendent for Schuylkill County believes the rocks serve as a powerful deterrent. He said, “If an armed intruder attempts to gain entrance to any of our classrooms, they will face a classroom full of students armed with rocks. And they will be stoned.”

Maybe it’s working. Since the arrival of the rocks, there have been no shooter incidents in any Schuylkill County school.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

The decline and fall of the rectal exam



For almost 20 years, the value of the digital rectal exam (DRE), a long time staple of the complete examination of the trauma patient, has been questioned. Performing a rectal examination on all trauma patients is no longer advocated except for a few specific indications.

As recently as two months ago, trauma surgeon Michael McGonigal blogging at The Trauma Pro reinforced the message. Because a rectal examination is so uncomfortable for patients already traumatized and its yield is so minimal, he advocates doing it in only patients with spinal cord injury, pelvic fracture, and penetrating abdominal trauma. For a more extensive discussion of the topic, see Life in the Fastlane, an emergency medicine blog.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Can data in electronic medical records be trusted?

If the subject is respiratory rates, the answer is “No” according to a recent study. The authors reviewed the records of 28,500 patients over 220,000 hospital days and found recorded maximum respiratory rates “were not normally distributed but were right skewed with values clustered at 18 to 20 breaths per minute.”

The figure below shows maximum respiratory rates compared to heart rates which were normally distributed.
Reminder: Most sources say the normal respiratory rate of an adult ranges from 12 to 20 breaths per minute.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

More negative data about the nonoperative management of simple appendicitis

If you think I am the only one urging restraint in the adoption of nonoperative management of patients with uncomplicated appendicitis, you are wrong. A pediatric surgeon and a research fellow from Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital have recently published their thoughts on the matter online in Annals of Surgery.

They call their opinion piece “Ulysses Syndrome” because they liken the fate of those undergoing nonoperative management to the “10-year ordeal filled with unexpected peril and ample misfortune” that befell Ulysses while attempting to go home.

Here are a few highlights.