Category Archives: Medical

“What are you doing tomorrow morning at 6:45?”

Some of my most favorite phone calls start like that, I assure you. (The preceding sentence is soaked in sweet, succulent sarcasm, in case that needs to be spelled out.) This particular call resulted in my being confirmed on Fox 45 Baltimore for tomorrow morning, at about 6:55 EST or so, to be asked about mosquitoes, West Nile, and other happy summer vector-borne plaguery and prevention. My challenge, as always, will be to get the most appropriate of my occupational catchphrases, “Wash Your Hands!”, in there somewhere.

If you happen to be both awake and in the area, be sure to tune in!

Upcoming Interview on WHFS 105.7 FM

This Sunday, January 20, I’m going to be interviewed on WHFS 105.7 FM radio for their Lifebridge Health show, Ask the Experts. I’ll be on as a guest from 08:00-09:00 EST, along with with Jackie Daley from Sinai Hospital’s Infection Prevention and Control department, discussing (unsurprisingly) MRSA.

If interested, you can obviously tune in if you are in the Baltimore area, or check out the live feed from their website.

Evening Rounds

I took the infectious diseases board certification exam this past Tuesday, and am quite happy it’s done with. Unfortunately, I came down with an upper respiratory infection the day before – some would say that I was being a bit too “hands-on” in my studying – as well as a small migrane during the test itself, so hopefully my performance wasn’t too negatively impacted. I thought that overall, the questions were challenging, but not impossible. That said, I am fond of how one of my colleagues summed up his opinion of it:

“Are you kidding? Where the fuck did that exam come from?”

This weekend will be one of recuperation, but there’s quite a bit looming in the near future. Interviewing season for new residents is now in full swing, in which I’m playing a considerable role. My evidence-based medicine course is starting up again next week, which I still have quite a bit to prepare for. I also have some audio work to do, but there will be more on that as things progress.

Finally, Ronnie has moved his main blog to a new address, and been putting up some interesting posts. Check out the Pint ‘N Tome, and give him some comment love!

Interviewed on Fox 45 – Staph and Schools

On Tuesday, I was interviewed for the morning news on Fox 45 in Baltimore for a quick bit pertaining to the recent furor over MRSA infections in schools. This is the first such experience I’ve had in a televised news interview segment, and things went rather well, considering that I was on-call the previous night, and was working on more caffeine than rest. The brief segment was focused on the question of what specifically should parents be doing to screen for MRSA infections in their children, and prevent such infections from occurring. At least for the next few weeks, you can check out the video of the segment here.

Here’s the bottom line from my piece: the most important thing that anyone can do to prevent spread of MRSA, as with other infections, such as influenza, is wash your hands with soap and water. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are a good idea (MRSA is resistant to some antibiotics, but not to alcohol-based cleansers), especially as something portable to keep with you, for when hand-washing facilities are not readily available. The interviewer brought up some parental concerns about washing sheets daily, and looking their children over every evening for infected cuts or boils, which is clearly overkill for the general public. Again, common sense is important – in a sports or public exercise setting, towels should be used once and then laundered, and not shared. Injuries should be meticulously cared for, with bandages being changed regularly if soiled, and disposed of appropriately after use.

Obviously, I’m not expounding in any real detail on what MRSA is, and the current issues surrounding it – this is something I may do in the near future, depending on how things progress in the media. For now, I offer these excellent links:

Afternoon Rounds for 8/25/2007

Laura is back on US soil! Granted, in San Francisco, but it makes me happy nonetheless. She’ll be visiting with some of her NASA peeps at Ames over the next few days, before heading back here, and us proceeding on to Dragon*Con.

I’m sure she’ll have some experiences and images to share, now that she’s back from behind the Great Firewall and done with intensive coursework, so keep an eye on her feeds over the coming days and weeks.

We leave for Dragon*Con in a few short days, and I am quite stoked. It will be wonderful to reconnect with tribemates, both old and new, as well as to decompress a bit from the New Job, and properly (and belatedly) celebrate that employment transition.

Speaking of the New Job, it continues to be excellent. That said, between making daily on-the-fly changes to the evidence-based medicine course, as well as covering for other people to ensure adequate coverage for Dragon*Con, I haven’t made time to pass on some fun and interesting stuff in this forum.

This will be remedied shortly…

The Last Day

Today was my last day at my “old job.”

It’s a weird feeling to be without a pager and not on-call, at least for a couple of days, but trust me – I plan on relishing every moment of it. I’ll miss the old place and crew, certainly, but I’m not terribly broken up about it – I’m quite excited about the “new job,” and returning to my old stomping grounds. That said, I do wish my first official duty wasn’t at 7:30 Monday morning…

More importantly, today ends ten years of medical training, counting medical school, residency, and fellowship. I’m finally going to get to make a career out of what drives me in medicine, and in life. This is where things get “interesting.” I’ve got some big plans… I hope to start sharing them with you soon.

Rounds for 5/23/2007

Busy week, as always.

I’ve finished a draft of an avian influenza textbook chapter I’ve been working on, and submitted it to my mentor for review. It’s been my primary focus over the last week, with me finally getting it out late last Friday evening. I found it to be a surprisingly difficult experience, and I really should have been able to complete far more swiftly than I did. I mean, avian influenza is easy for me to blather on about. The more challenging thing, I think, is that it is for a public health textbook that has a somewhat bizarre chapter formatting guidelines, and that the focus isn’t really on the science behind avian influenza, but more on potential public health consequences, the outlined criteria for which are somewhat vague. The irony, of course, is that I’ve not had formalized public health training beyond medical school, such as an MPH (which, all things being equal, I’d love to obtain), and I’ve been tasked to write this chapter focused on a potential public health topic for people unergoing such training, with little actual guidance as to what “public health-specific” content needs to be included.
Such is the way of things, I suppose.

So, ’tis done and submitted, and we’ll see what my mentor and the editor have to say about what I chose to include and how I included it.

This past weekend, scant hours after chapter submission, Laura and I trekked up to Ashtabula, OH, to visit her mother and stepfather. We had a vastly relaxing time just hanging out with them, and doing some things I’m not normally accustomed to – walking the beach along Lake Erie while trolling for interesting debris and photographic opportunities, and doing a whirlwind tour of yard sales and flea markets. We also visited the Animal Protective League no-kill shelter there, which is where Laura rescued our youngest cat Oberon from two years ago. The latter was an enjoyable, if heartrending, experience. I’m just happy that we somehow managed to leave without any new animals. Finally, we did catch Shrek the Third as well, in which I was disappointed, but more on that in a bit.

And so, what’s up for this week? Funny you should ask… A little thing called Balticon. More on that, and other sundries, a little later today.

Work stompage

The next month and a half or so is going to be, to quote one of my research mentors, “FFF,” which she claims stands for “fun, fun, fun!”

I can come up with an immediately obvious alternate interpretation of said acronym.

For now, I’ll just say that the “free time” I have when not on call is going to be devoted to work on several lectures/panels and research projects, leaving me Well And Goodly Smacked About in terms of time and energy, and less able to make time for more well-rounded pursuits. Case in point – I have a rant I’ve been meaning to post about 300, which I saw last weekend with Laura, and is brilliant, but haven’t made the time yet to do so – perhaps this weekend, as a break in the deluge.

That being said, what I’m working on is interesting stuff, and I look forward to sharing more about what’s “on my plate” shortly. Clearly, I need to reduce my portion sizes.