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Showing posts from November, 2011

how to become a hospitalist part 1

The field of "hospital medicine" has become increasingly popular in the last 10 years, especially for internal medicine physicians. When a person finishes medical school and enters residency, there are nearly boundless possibilities. Residency choices can include specialties such as radiology, surgery, dermatology, emergency medicine, neurology, psychiatry, family practice, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, pathology and lab medicine and even internal medicine. I'm sure I'm missing something. If a person chooses internal medicine, she can still choose to become a cardiologist, rheumatologist, endocrinologist, oncologist or...again I'm sure I'm missing something. But after 4 years of medical school and then 3 years of internal medicine residency, which is a job, but with almost no time off and very little pay, some people are ready to start doctoring. I wanted to be able to be useful anywhere and be able to use the knowledge I'd spent so much time  pi…

Bedside ultrasound--what a great way to improve medical care and potentially reduce costs

I just completed a 2 day course in "point of care ultrasound" at Harvard Medical School.  It was great. I am completely sold, a convert, a true believer.

Ultrasound is by no means a new technology. Bats use it. Bugs use it. Whales use it. A very high frequency sound wave is produced and when it hits an object it bounces back and is sensed by the creature that produced it. Submarines have used it since the first world war to locate objects, since other detection methods based on light were not useful. Doctors have used rudimentary forms of ultrasound since the 1940s to detect abnormalities in the body. In the last 30 years the machines used in ultrasound imaging have become smaller and more accurate, and the number of conditions that can be detected by ultrasound has increased vastly.  

Medical imaging studies of all kinds have become better since I emerged from medical school, and the pictures of the body that they produce are beautiful.  We have x-rays, an old technology, w…

Advanced Trauma Life Support

My 2 year "sabbatical" started a week ago. It has not, so far, involved much sleeping late or eating bon bons, which is fine, I guess. I am working several 24 hour shifts this month for our local hospital, covering the "hospitalist" service. This involves care of hospitalized patients who have no primary doctor or whose primary doctor is unable to take care of them in the hospital. Some of these patients are critically ill, some have fallen through the cracks of our health care system and others have doctors who choose to do only outpatient or specialty practices.  In some communities, especially in big cities, doctors who have office practices are just too busy to be available to their patients at the odd times that hospital medicine requires and so nearly all of the patients in the hospital belong to designated hospitalists. In our community, most of the doctors do at least some hospital medicine, which is good for continuity of care.

After quitting my primary ca…