Fifteen years ago I wrote an article about the waiting room at the Geelong Hospital Emergency Department, noting that a higher proportion of Geelong residents visited it than any other small room in that entire city. Back then it was pretty low-key: rows of bland plastic chairs, and even the pot plant looked unwell. Triage category four unless someone had thought to rehydrate it with a litre of fluid.
The room was designed for a single purpose, at which it excelled: waiting. More people died of boredom than infection, with the risk of MRSA overshadowed by that of hospital-acquired catatonia. Unless the four-hour rule has paid dividends, a couple of patients will probably still be waiting for me. I told them I’d see them after my break, but we took generously long lunches back in ’99. They call me Godot. Continue reading
5 + 2 = $7
Australian Doctor asked me today if they could publish my thoughts on the $7 co-payment. I have dark thoughts.
Apologies in advance to my medical specialist friends. It’s not your fault.
Imagine yourself in charge of Australia’s health budget – heaven forbid! On your desk are two cash-filled buckets, marked ‘primary care’ and ‘specialist/hospital care’. Your job is to remove some money from one or the other bucket, to be spent elsewhere. Unrestrained by short-term political gain and beholden to no interest groups (we are only imagining), your decision requires going back to basics. Continue reading
Quinoa by Julia (I Believe I Can Fry)
I just don’t have the appetite for diets. Or, more specifically, for taking a diet history. The sort of thing my health service’s dietitian does ten times daily—bless her, and all her thin colleagues.
Honestly, if the patient’s answer to my first question is ‘Weet-Bix’, I just let the rest slide. I already know they will either score better than their doctor (by definition: a balanced diet) or are lying. In fact, the main purpose of the Coleman four-question diet history is to weed out the liars and move on to something else I’m better at. Continue reading
Man with an unfortunate target lesion on his back
Luckily beauty is only skin deep, because this rash was a beauty. Classic red rings, each containing another red circle centrally—named ‘target’ lesions after the chain store logo.
“Erythema multiforme!” I announced with an Ancient Greek twang. I guess the original dermatologists were embarrassed to name any rash ‘lots of red shapes’ in English. “It’s a beauty,” I confirmed.
He looked at me dubiously. Perhaps the eye of his beholder didn’t see it. “Anything I need to avoid, doc?”
I studied the hundreds of bullseyes adorning his skin. “Duck shooting season. Next please!”
I love a good rash. Continue reading
One simple, easy trick revealed!
Warning: Reading this column will change your life. I reveal secrets which other doctors won’t tell you. They will hate me for it, because you need never pay for their services again.
I have recently given up doctoring, with its snail-paced, uncertain outcomes, and instead dedicated my life to writing popup facebook ads. Professional shackles removed, I can finally bring you proven cures which have been known since ancient times, but kept secure by the Doctors’ Code.
Ironically, the proof was there all along, if only you had clicked on the close-up photo of the exotic fruit seeds. It took me until age forty-five to allow my curiosity to overcome my bland scepticism, but since using their method I have become only thirty-two.
Eating nothing but these sensually-juicy plump seeds for a year not only made me lose 100.99% of my body fat; it smoothed my skin to the point where women in swimsuits continually ask me if I am Justin Bieber.
“No,” I smirk kindly, brushing some excess seeds out of my dark hair. “No, but he wishes I was.”
Photo by Januartha
I am a jogger. More specifically, I am a jogger this week. Even an actual runner, if you don’t count the uphill and flat bits. It’s been a fast-moving week.
Jogging is a fundamentally boring pastime; the only ones who claim otherwise are joggers…yawn. But after a seasonful of gastric stuffing and three months since my last soccer game, I figured a week at Noosa beach was a fine opportunity to, as our PNG neighbours so colourfully put it, ‘throwim way leg’.
I regularly prescribe one jog daily, mane before food, knowing that few patients will be eccentric enough to comply. I didn’t invent jogging—it already existed in rudimentary form before I started—but by George, I’ve helped popularise it.
by Kaity Hemgesberg
Yesterday, JAMA published a list of tests and treatments ordered in the Emergency Department which a group of 283 Emergency clinicians considered the most wasteful. Because accessing the list requires a log-in (which is a bit of a waste!) I have copied it here.
Below this is a similar list from the Choosing Wisely campaign where GPs were asked to vote on their most wasteful tests and treatments in 2012.
Consider doing them…and then don’t!
Time of your life
Photo by Toby Bradbury
THIS message is for adults who always seem too busy to exercise. The mum who sits at work all week, then sits in the car delivering children to events on the weekend. The middle-aged man who drives to the local shop because he’s in a hurry and the walk makes him tired.
At this week’s IPC Journal Club, my GP colleague Rockley Boothroyd mentioned a brief vignette which inspired a simple literature search, which led to a profoundly useful conclusion.
The information we discovered is not new, but in my 25 years of medical reading, I have never heard it expressed as such an elegantly simple take-home message.
The message is this:
Every minute of exercise you do as an adult gains you seven minutes of life.
Or, to put it another way:
If you don’t have time in your life to exercise, you won’t have time in your life.
Photo: Steven Depolo
If Victoria’s La Trobe University was in any doubt that accepting $15 million from vitamin manufacturer Swisse Wellness would cause controversy, yesterday’s resignation of Ken Harvey, the University’s most prominent public health academic, clarified the issue.
The $30 million Complementary Medicines Evaluation Centre plans to receive half its funding from Swisse, yet the University claims that all research would be independent. According to a 6minutes report yesterday, Adjunct Associate Professor Ken Harvey suggested in his resignation letter that the University press release sounded like a plug for Swisse.