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Britney Spears Now In Doctors’ Hands

Related Posts: Dr. Phil, have you heard of… HIPAA?

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Gabriel Bouys / AFP-Getty Images file

I really don’t want to turn this into a gossip column. And I definitely don’t want to turn this into a cebrinews site. But a couple weeks ago I did post about the medical debacle between Britney Spears and Dr. Phil.

I posted because it was, in my opinion, an example of very poor judgment on Dr. Phil’s part. You can read that post if you want. I’ve linked to it above.

Anyways, this post is just a little more medical news. A follow-up, I suppose.

In Dr. Phil’s non-professional (since he claims his visit was just as a friend and not a pscyhologist), Britney Spears needs serious mental help. At least that’s what he said before. Anyways, it appears she just might get the help she needs. Good for Brit.

Britney Spears has been placed under a 72-hour “mental health evaluation hold.” For complete details, click the picture above. It’ll take you to the news story.

Sorry for not summarizing. I’m stressed. Finals next week. And now, its back to the books!

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Hillary Healthcare 2.0

Related Posts: Reforming the U.S. Healthcare System

In the January 8, 2008 New Hampshire Primary, Sen. Clinton edged her opponent Sen. Obama by just 3 percent. With Clinton’s recent New Hampshire win following Obama’s strong showing in Iowa, the race is anything but decided.

How will the 2008 Presidential Elections affect the American healthcare scene? Should Hillary win the November Presidential Election, what can we expect?

According to Hillary Clinton’s own website, her plan, which she calls the American Health Choices Plan, would cover each and every single American and will improve “healthcare by lowering costs and improving quality.”

So far, it sounds like an excellent idea.

The Hillary Plan is has five objectives. Again, from her website, they are:

  1. Offer New Coverage Choices for the Insured and Uninsured.
  2. Lower Premiums and Increase Security
  3. Promote Shared Responsibility
  4. Ensure Affordable Health Coverage For All
  5. [Be] A Fiscally Responsible Plan That Honors Our Priorities.

Who could be against such a plan? It’s definitely an ambitious plan. Is it too ambitious? From what I’ve heard, it has been toned down a lot since HillaryCare, the plan Senator Clinton was pushing for in 1992.

One of the things she hopes to do is to guarantee access to healthcare coverage. Under this plan “insurers must offer coverage to anyone who applies and pays their premium” and furthermore, insurance companies will no longer be able to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

Fabulous, no?

I just wonder how she intends to do this. Ask nicely? I doubt it. This would have to be mandated by federal law. And will the industry kindly step back without sending their lobbyists in?

Usually, a tipping point must be reached before significant change can happen. If Americans are fed up with the current situation, and their congressional representative are in tune with their constituents, maybe this is possible. I hope that is the case. I also worry that I’m just being optimistic or that I am underestimating the resolve of corporations to keep making money.

The objectives are noble. Coverage for all. Budget savings for the federal government. Tax breaks that will help the working person afford healthcare. Guaranteed coverage.

But HillaryCare 2.0, as some have started to call it, is not without its critics. They claim that this is just socialized medicine repackaged for an American audience.

If, come Inauguration Day, we begin to say Madame President, Hillary Clinton can begin trying to implement her plan.

Details of the plan can be found at HillaryClinton.com.

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I Want A Bionic Eye!

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I WANT a bionic eye! Well who wouldn’t? If you’ve seen the television show on NBC, then you know what the bionic eye can do.

I read an article over at MSNBC.com titled “Vision of the future seen in bionic contact lens.” It looks like we, and by we I mean we as a society, may be getting closer to bionic eyes. Or, at least, bionic contact lenses.

As I understand it, a contact lens has been made at the University of Washington that has circuitry embedded in the lens. The researchers hope to one day be able to use the lenses to project an image at the retina.

In effect, the user, and the user only, would be able to see images projected by the lens into their own eyes.

Check out the story for more. (I’d summarize here but I’m trying to avoid the whole copyright infringement thing… for legal reasons).

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Conversations: Learning So Much

Usually there are two kinds of conversations I listen to. The first, of course, are the conversations I am involved in. That’s easy. The second, however, are conversations that I overhear.

I wouldn’t call myself an eavesdropper. But sometimes I just can’t help it. People get all excited and into their conversations that it seems they think they are the only ones within earshot. Or maybe they just don’t care if other people hear.

One conversation I was in recently went something like this:
Me: Hi. How’s it goin?
Classmate: Great. I’ve learned so much today! [said enthusiastically with a smile]

Now, at this point I was walking into lab in the afternoon after 4 hours of lecture that morning. I was wishing I didn’t have to be in lab. I felt like my usual self — thinking about all the material that I still needed to know.

And as I stood there walking into Anatomy lab, I felt really jealous. Why didn’t I feel the same way? Why don’t I feel the same excitement over learning? Why am I just tired and feeling like there’s sooo much things to learn?

I’m truly glad for my classmate who said this.

If only I could feel the same way…

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The Jimmy Legs

I recently saw an episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. It’s always an interesting way to get my news. But he did one segment which I’ve included below. Check it out.

I was gonna write about how surprised I am to hear that increased gambling was listed as a side-effect. But I figured that any way I found to convey my disbelief in such absurdity would kind of be overshadowed by Jon Stewart.

If anything, just remember to know what the side-effects are of any medication you take.

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Doctor Salaries, A Problem Overseas Too

In a previous post (Physician Salaries on the Decline) I wrote about declining physician salaries and how that is bad for healthcare.

I recently found a post from a medical student in the U.K. The system is kind of different there. He talks about the salary a newly graduated doctor would make out of medical school. Here in the States, I’ve found some residency brochures that advertise paying their residents somewhere between $45,000 and $50,000 USD.

Anyways, the post talks about how the financial benefits of a career in medicine might not be enough to entice the “cream of the crop” into medicine. And, the author points out, wouldn’t you want the best and the brightest to be the ones taking care of you when you’re sick?

From the post:

Where would you want the brightest people in the country to work? Would you have them making you money as stockbrokers; defending you in court as lawyers; writing your next headline as journalists; or would you have them saving lives as doctors? Most people would rank their health as one of the most important aspects of their lives, but is medicine financially attractive enough to entice the cream of the crop? I am not sure. In financial terms medicine might not be the best choice for the bright young future of tomorrow.

The post is at sBMJ – Viewpoint: Deterred by the doctor’s salary?

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Picking Apart My Brain

I was one of the first into lab from my group of eight. On the table was a clear plastic container filled with a solution of 10% formaldehyde. The container sat on a tray — a tray that you might find in a cafeteria.

I slipped the tray out from underneath the container and carefully opened the container. The smell was strong. The liquid looked a little brownish. I reached in, my gloves on, and pulled out a human brain. Well, at least half of a human brain. It had already been cut down the middle — a clean cut separating the left and the right brain.

The day’s lab only required examining one hemisphere. Already having arbitrarily chosen one side, I placed my half-brain onto the tray and went to the special sink to rinse off the formaldehyde solution.

In line I looked around. It was a weird scene. Students waiting in line. All holding cafeteria trays that carried a human brain.

After finding and identifying all the structures on our checklist, it was time to leave the lab. The brain slices were returned to their smelly solution. Most of our nostrils burned. Someone’s eyes were teary.

Neuro lab was a little strange. Gross examination wasn’t that bad. I mean, I’d seen plenty of brains in pictures. It was the slicing that I felt weird about. It cut so easily. Almost like a kiwi, without the skin. Or maybe think JELL-O, the kind with fruit inside.

But, I think the best example, if you’re familiar with it, would be tofu. The hard kind. Not the soft tofu used for soup. It’s actually how Katrina Firlik, MD (a neurosurgeon) described the consistency of brain in her book Another Day in the Frontal Lobe, which, by the way, as an awesome book.

A classmate commented that its so strange watching it. We are cutting up someone’s brain. At one time, the cells in this brain we were now cutting up, fired off electrical impulses. It commanded muscle groups and regulated complex functions. It held someone’s memories.

Occasionally I get these moments in medical school. Moments in which I stand in awe. I am amazed at what I am holding, or touching, or seeing. I like those moments. I’d like more of them, too. I think they help me push on through the drudgery of having to study all the time.

And now, its late and I’m sleepy. So I’ll end this post here.