COVID-19: Can facts help to minimize fears?

by Carolyn Thomas      @HeartSisters

Waiting for the other shoe to drop. The expression dates back to the early 1900s, from the description of hearing the loud ‘thump’ of an upstairs apartment neighbour loudly dropping one shoe onto a bedroom floor. It’s that state of suspended focus. Waiting. Waiting. Not knowing when that other shoe upstairs will finally drop so that you can roll over and go quietly back to sleep.

But you can’t know exactly when or even if you’ll hear that second ‘thump’. You can’t predict that outcome, any more than we can predict the emerging outcomes of our current COVID-19 virus scare. And waiting for outcomes can feel exhausting.     .    Continue reading “COVID-19: Can facts help to minimize fears?”

“Let’s all be palm trees together” in facing COVID-19

A guest post this week from Walk With A Doc* – because this says what I’ve been trying to say about feeling helpless and worried during the COVID-19 viral outbreak.
Unprecedented suckiness going on right now, there is NO doubt.
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We’re all seeing the same news and it’s shocking us all, every hour.
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When things go sideways, it never hurts to receive a care package.
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We tried to throw one together for you.     .

Is it finally time to change the name ‘heart FAILURE’?

by Carolyn Thomas      @HeartSisters

When McMaster University cardiologist Dr. Harriette Van Spall asked her Twitter followers recently to offer topic suggestions for the upcoming Heart Failure Summit, I responded with a suggestion of my own:

“Please please please can we STOP calling this condition heart FAILURE?”    .

Continue reading “Is it finally time to change the name ‘heart FAILURE’?”

Signals, noise, context – and your doctor’s brain

     .    . Emergency physician, professor, author, and patient safety expert Dr. Pat Croskerry

by Carolyn Thomas      @HeartSisters 

Emergency physician Dr. Pat Croskerry tells the story of the day he misdiagnosed a patient who was experiencing unstable anginachest pain caused by coronary artery disease, and often a warning sign of oncoming heart attack. But this is what he’d said before sending that patient home:

“I’m not at all worried about your chest pain. You probably overexerted yourself and strained a muscle. My suspicion that this is coming from your heart is about zero.”

In a later interview with Dr. Jerome Groopman (author of a book I love called How Doctors Think), Dr. Croskerry explained how easily that misdiagnosis happened: Continue reading “Signals, noise, context – and your doctor’s brain”

Stents vs. bypass surgery vs. TRUST

by Carolyn Thomas        @HeartSisters

In 2018, Dr. Dhruv Khullar warned his colleagues at an American Board of Internal Medicine conference that patients need answers on three dimensions of trust:

  1. Competence:Do you know what you’re doing?”
  2. Transparency:Will you tell me what you’re doing?”
  3. Motive:Are you doing this to help me or yourself?”        .     .

Continue reading “Stents vs. bypass surgery vs. TRUST”