Financial toxicity: can you afford to have a heart attack?

by Carolyn Thomas  ♥  @HeartSisters 

Here in the Lotus Land that is Canada’s beautiful west coast, my total hospital bill after my heart attack was ZERO. The costs of my Emergency Department visits, all cardiac diagnostic tests/procedures/treatments, my hospital bed, physician/nursing care – plus all follow-up appointments with a cardiologist – are entirely funded by our provincial government health plan. Unlike so many of the American heart patients I’ve encountered since my own heart attack, I left the hospital without ever worrying how I was going to pay for my medical care.

Yet I’m highly aware that cardiac patients far less fortunate than I am often leave their hospitals not only worried about their hearts, but now worried about paying catastrophic bills.  Medical researchers call this financial toxicity.     .   Continue reading “Financial toxicity: can you afford to have a heart attack?”

Will asking good questions in med school help doctors ask good questions of patients?

by Carolyn Thomas  ♥  @HeartSisters 

“When I was in medical school, I was always told to question what was taught – even by the teachers who taught it to me. That was amazing!”   

Amazing, indeed! Questioning everything your teachers tell you may seem risky, but that observation from veteran cardiologist Dr. Milton Packer about his own med school experience feels oddly encouraging even to non-students like me. I’m naturally curious, skeptical, eager to learn, and sometimes a pain in the neck to physicians who may not be as open to questioning as Dr. Packer is!         .    Continue reading “Will asking good questions in med school help doctors ask good questions of patients?”

Medical research: mostly on (white, middle-aged) men. What could go wrong?

by Carolyn Thomas   ♥   @HeartSisters

Last week, we learned here about a young Florida woman who arrived at her local Emergency Department with nausea, vomiting and “heartburn” – as described by Emergency physician Dr. Sam Ghali in the post called “I’ll Give You a Hint: the Diagnosis is NOT Heartburn or Anxiety” He challenged his professional colleagues on Twitter, asking how they would have diagnosed this patient based on her distinctive ECG test results. Some of their guesses at interpreting the results missed her obvious heart attack, so Dr. Ghali reminded these healthcare professionals:

“Remember this case and never ever write off people with chest pain – especially women who may present differently than men and are notoriously misdiagnosed or diagnosed late with worse outcomes. Please help spread awareness, and I promise you will make a difference in these people’s lives.”

Dr. Lea Merone from Australia was one of the healthcare professionals to weigh in on Dr. Ghali’s Twitter challenge – but with an unusual response.    .   Continue reading “Medical research: mostly on (white, middle-aged) men. What could go wrong?”

“I’ll give you a hint: the diagnosis is NOT heartburn or anxiety”

by Carolyn Thomas   ♥   @HeartSisters

This recent “What’s the diagnosis?”  ECG challenge on Twitter from Dr. Sam Ghali attracted many online guesses from his healthcare colleagues – including this from a critical care nurse practitioner who astutely wrote:

In today’s healthcare system, she would probably be told ‘it’s all in your head’ or ‘maybe you should lose weight’.”
Continue reading ““I’ll give you a hint: the diagnosis is NOT heartburn or anxiety””