Monday, February 26, 2007

Ali G on being a doctor...

When all else fails, turn to the wisdom of the G-Man. It's Ali. On Medicine. HAR. HAR!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Smart Card system for Johannesburg hospitals...

HERE's a story. After all the debate around the possibility of using Ubuntu to roll out a cheap technology infrastructure to aid SA hospitals - it seems like someone took notice. Whether the Premier, Mr Mbhazima Shilowa (who looks absolutely DASHING in his jazz hat) reads All Scrubbed Up or not is another question. But hark the sounds of technology actually helping the patient situation.

Reported in the Citizen recently...

Shilowa also announced that long queues at provincial hospitals and clinics could soon be a thing of the past, should the government’s smart-card plan materialise.

In his State of the Province address he painted a picture of a paperless information system that would ensure speedy access to healthcare in all communities, especially for chronically ill patients.

He said the province would develop a computerised card system so patients would just have to “swipe” their cards when rushed into hospital for medical emergencies or when collecting medicines.

“This system will prevent long queues at dispensaries as pharmacists can immediately begin to package a patient’s medicinal supply without having to wait for long. The card system will also help doctors identify the patients’ previous treatment and prescribed medication. The doctor will in turn be able to speedily diagnose patients.”

Wow. That's thinking. The DA (our opposition party for international readers) had the customary negative things to say.

DA health spokesman Jack Bloom said the computerised plan for hospitals had been promised before.

Ah, what can ya do. Still, it remains one of the biggest problems - sharing information between the clinics and the hospitals. Not only in Johannesburg - but across the entire country.

Gotta wonder whether a fat cat government buddy is going to get the contract - or whether they'll have the nouse to farm it out to a low cost Linux collective. I can think of a few. If you're out there - here's a business pitch waiting to happen!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Manto, our unhealthy minister...

It started a couple of days ago, as reported on IOL.

Outshone by colleagues who were brimming with good health at a cabinet cluster briefing in Cape Town on Thursday, Health Minister Dr Manto Tshabalala-Msimang became an object of pity and embarrassment.

And continued yesterday as reports flooded the media of the honorable Tshabalala-Msimang descending onto a ventilator at Joburg General private section.

Tshabalala-Msimang's health has been under the microscope since she returned to duty earlier this year - after a long illness.

She was admitted to the same hospital last year for several weeks suffering from a lung infection.

Her spokesman, Sibani Mngadi, confirmed she was being treated for severe anaemia and residual pleural effusion (fluid in the lining of the lungs).

Now, we would never wish this on anyone. Even though she's done some pretty pathetic things - health is health. And, somewhere deep inside, our beloved Manto understands some of the primary care issues facing this country.

Get better Sisi.

Monday, February 19, 2007

House MD - Quotable Quotes #1

Having a dearth of creative medical stuff. In times like these, always wise to turn to the wisdom of this centuries most sarcastic TV Doctor. Gregory House MD. Got these here. And edited for the particularly funny and medical ones. More comin'.

Dr. Cameron: Men should grow up.
Dr. Gregory House: Yeah. And dogs should stop licking themselves. It's not gonna happen.

Dr. Wilson: Beauty often seduces us on the road to truth.
Dr. Gregory House: And triteness kicks us in the nads.

Dr. Eric Foreman: I think your argument is specious.
Dr. Gregory House: I think your tie is ugly.

Dr. Wilson: That smugness of yours really is an attractive quality.
Dr. Gregory House: Thank you. It was either that or get my hair highlighted. Smugness is easier to maintain.

Dr. Gregory House: Perseverance does not equal worthiness. Next time you want to get my attention, wear something fun. Low-riding jeans are hot.

Dr. Wilson: [Wilson is quoting a poem from a patient of House's] 'The healer with his magic powers! / I could rub his gentle brow for hours. / His manly chest, his stubbled jaw, / Everything about him leaves me raw-'
Dr. Gregory House: Psych ward's upstairs.
Dr. Wilson: -with joy. Oh, House your very name / Will never leave this girl the same.' It's not bad for an 82-year-old. She asked me to give that to her true love.
Dr. Gregory House: What can I say? Chicks with no teeth turn me on.
Dr. Wilson: That's fairly disgusting.
Dr. Gregory House: That's ageism.
Dr. Wilson: You better watch yourself around this babe.

Dr. Gregory House: A patient comes because she's sleeping 16 hours a day, and it takes ten doctors and a coma to diagnose sleeping sickness.

Dr. Gregory House: You can think I'm wrong, but that's no reason to quit thinking.

Dr. Lisa Cuddy: If you would consider going to a shrink, I would pay for it myself. The hospital would hold a bake sale, for God's sake.

Dr. Gregory House: [hearing serious news about patient on phone] Check it again. I'll be right there.
Dr. Lisa Cuddy: What happened?
Dr. Gregory House: Apparently I can save money by switching to another long-distance carrier.

Dr. Gregory House: Well, there's the fever that Cameron was looking for.
Dr. Cameron: We knew if it was myelitis there had to be an -itis. This must be the infection that set it off.
Dr. Gregory House: Yeah. Except in this universe effect follows cause. I've complained about it, but...

Dr. Gregory House: How does someone just start drooling? Chase? Were you wearing your short shorts?

Stacy Warner: I need to talk to you.
Dr. Gregory House: From the doorway?
Stacy Warner: It's confidential.
Dr. Gregory House: Cool. I love gossip.

Dr. Robert Chase: She was fine two hours ago.
Dr. Gregory House: If by fine you mean bleeding profusely out of every orifice, then yeah, I believe you.

Dr. Robert Chase: In pre-med, I had a professor who...
Dr. Gregory House: - touched you in the naughty place?

[someone is groaning in the restroom stall]
Dr. Gregory House: Good lord, are you having a bowel movement or a baby?

Dr. Roger Spain (First Applicant): Wow, I thought you'd be the last person to have a problem with nonconformity.
Dr. Gregory House: Nonconformity; right... I can't remember the last time saw a twenty something kid with a tattoo of an Asian letter on his wrist. You are one wicked free thinker! You want to be a rebel; stop being cool. Wear a pocket protector like he does, and get a hair cut. Like the Asian kids that don't leave the library for a twenty hours stretch. They're the ones that don't care what you think.
Dr. Gregory House: Sayonara
[Dr. Spain exits office]
Dr. Wilson: So, should I go through all the resumes looking for Asian names?
Dr. Gregory House: Actually, the Asian kids are probably just responding to parental pressure, but my point is still valid.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Discovery investigates (refutes?) Schabir Shaik’s 76 day medical aid claim!

Recently spotted on

Medical scheme, Discovery Health, is investigating claims made by fraud convict Schabir Shaik for his 76-day stay at a Durban hospital, the Sunday Times reported.

Yeah. Isn’t it great when your medical aid is working for you. Making sure dodgy claims get thoroughly investigated before implementing a rate hike to cover its losses.

Shaik, a dependent on his wife Zuleika's Discovery medical scheme, was admitted to a private hospital, St Augustine's, where the cost of his bed alone totals more than R150 000.

His admission into hospital, 16 days after his prison term commenced, sparked an outcry from medical experts and the public.

No shit, Sherlock! R150k just on a bed is a cause for concern! So is the very fortunate timing of our beloved fraudster taking ill.

I wonder what’s wrong with the poor man? Nothing a quick stint at Bara won’t fix?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Carte Blanche agrees - circumcision lowers risk of HIV transmission...

Aha. Carte Blanche agrees - circumcision can almost HALVE your risk of contracting HIV. Yet no-one believed us when we said it... The show is playing currently, but they should have the backup research studies on their site soon.

Jury out? There are some telling articles on the net. Try this one.

It used to be called the unkindest cut. But now the head of the one of the world's largest Aids charities believes we are on the brink of a revolution in attitudes to circumcision.

Richard Feachem, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, said research revealing the protective effect of circumcision against HIV was set to change parental expectations and medical practice across the world. Instead of viewing the operation as an assault on the male sex, it was increasingly being seen as a lifesaving procedure which every parent would want for their sons.

Removing the foreskin is thought to harden the glans (head) of the penis, making it less permeable to viruses. Research conducted in 2005 showed the transmission of HIV from women to men during sex was reduced by 60 per cent if the men were circumcised.

A study published last month calculated that if all men in sub-Saharan Africa were circumcised, it would prevent almost six million new cases of HIV infection and save three million lives over the next 20 years.

This is no longer only a choice issue. It is now a health issue. Six million potential lives say so.

PS. They also stated, on national television, at last, that HIV prevalency in upper class South Africa is on the rise. Certain commentors from our previous HIV article - take heed.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Scrubs Bloopers

More, more, more SCRUBS. Yes. It's funny, it's serious, it makes a point - and it's got doctors. What more could you want!? This one below is a little bloopers clip shown on TV a while back.

There's much more of this stuff on YouTube. Just do a search!

Brought to you by:
Scrubs may make light of the relationship between Doctors, Nurses and other medical professionals. But there is nothing new about the requirement for them to have a CMS surety bond.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

The Culture of Health

Sometimes, when days at the private practice get a bit dull, I think back to the good ‘ol days at Baragwanath. Those 30 hour calls when all you ate was a Bar One. Those frantic trips, wheeling a patient over to X-Rays (Porters? What porters?) JUST to escape a whining aunty. Those blissful moments where you scream back at the psychotics. And those daydreams of actually having sex in the on-call room. Contrary to popular belief, and a horrible TV doctor culture – DOCTORS DON’T ACTUALLY SHAG ALL OVER THE HOSPITAL.

Back to the aunties. It gets me thinking about the culture of health. South Africa is such a racially and culturally diverse country, that you’re bound to encounter some gems.

As Doctors, believe it or not, we've got our favourites. Here's the rundown:

WHITE PATIENTS: White patients believe the world owes them a favour. Why? I don’t know. If you aren't doing moving the earth for them (and they will check that by getting 3 consults) - there MUST be something wrong with you.

In fact, if I a white person dared to walk into Bara - THE WORLD MUST. COME. TO. A. STANDSTILL.

They are the only patients in the room. White doctors, of course (didn't you know?) should give preferential treatment to their white brothers.

The consequence of this entitlement complex - I have many doctor friends who are too afraid to go work in private practice, in white suburbia heaven, because of the perceived special treatment that has to take place. Agh!

INDIAN PATIENTS: Ah, aunties and their hubbies. They are PAINFUL. More painful to us than anything that might be afflicting them (excuse the sarcasm, but this applies to the ones that actually aren’t dying – which is most of them!).

Indian patients believe that every pain, every feeling and every thought that had crossed their minds in the LAST 10 YEARS... are all interlinked. These patients will proceed to tell you how the itch in their left ear, is related to the pain in their right groin, which is OBVIOUSLY going to give them a heart attack. In the next 48 hours.

And no matter how you tell them otherwise, the talking just does noooooot stop (cue Perry Cox extended syllables). Add to this, by the end of the conversation, you'll know the entire family history, eating habits and lengthy diagnosis of daughter's boyfriends's mother's uncle's skin condition. And WHY it’s just such a damaging relationship. Which one you ask? My point exactly.

BLACK PATIENTS: Perhaps it’s just because of demographics, that we happened to see more black patients, working in a government hospital. Perhaps it’s a cultural issue I just don’t understand – but black patients seem to have a more inherent trust and understanding of the pace and pressure of a health environment. These patients will will tend to tell you exactly what's wrong, and nothing more.

There have of course been those wonderful examples of:

"Noooo... I can't be pregnant."

“Have you been having sex?”


"Then you can be pregnant".

But then again, that pretty much happens with everyone.

Give me our black bruvvas. They are certainly a lot more appreciative! To this day... Not a single courtesy curry. Or even an invite to meet the daughter's boyfriend over a mango lassie. And definitely no invitation to Sandton kitchen tea.

Ah, patience, patients.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Scrubs - Guy Lovin'

Oh my. What truly goes on in the halls of those dank hospitals, at 4am, with little sleep, and a little raiding of the medical supplies. HAR. HAR. This cracked me up. Anyone who doesn't watch Scrubs. Well, silly you.

Friday, February 2, 2007

A tale of two penises

Picture the scene. Early morning admissions. I woke up early, ready to cure the world (as one does). Man comes in. His file, under previous admissions has this one, fairly interesting entry.

"Admitted, xx/xx/xxxx, severe bite to penis".

Cool! Morbid doctor curiousity sets in. So, baba, how can I help you today?

"She did it again."

Dude. This second presenting case of penis bite had more than half the foreskin hanging off. Meaning it had to have been almost ENTIRELY inside "her" mouth when it got bit.

You've got to start wondering about the mentality here! Once bitten twice shy? Evidently not.

Although mildy amusing, this is an interesting example of the moral dilemmas that beset us Doc's every day. What if this was a rape? Gotta treat him anyway. What if you wanted to call him an idiot and tell him not to force the bloody thing where it's obviously not wanted? Can't. Gotta treat him anyway.

Sometimes it's hard to stay distant. I hope I don't see penis bite boy again. I might feel the need to swab excessively.