medicine

Listen To Your Heart (With Your iPhone)

May 21, 2014
Courtesy of Suman Mulumudi

Steve Scher talks to 15-year-old inventor Suman Mulumudi about his new device that turns a smart phone into a digital stethoscope. He designed it with the help of his father Dr. Mahesh Mulumudi, a cardiologist.

Former Harborview Doctor Loses Medical License For Lying To Lawmakers

May 21, 2014

Steve Scher talks to Michael Farrell, legal manager for the Washington State Medical Quality Assurance Commission, about a settlement they reached with Dr. David Heimbach. The former Harborview doctor was caught lying to California lawmakers on behalf of companies that manufacture flame retardants.

The pain reliever acetaminophen is easy on the stomach. But at high doses, the drug can be hell on the liver.

Now the Food and Drug Administration is asking doctors to refrain from prescribing drugs that contain high doses of acetaminophen to minimize the risk of liver damage.

Acetaminophen is the active ingredient in nonprescription Tylenol. But it's also inside quite a few prescription pain pills, including Vicodin and Percocet.

For decades, rural parts of the Northwest have found it difficult to lure doctors to small towns. Community leaders in Yakima, Wash. went so far as to found a small medical school to train doctors to practice in these underserved areas.

The Pacific Northwest University opened in 2006. But there is a problem. Small towns throughout the region just don’t have enough residency programs. And that means many of these doctors-in-training may move away.

Sugar pills in a case
Flickr Photo/pig pog s

Before 1970, doctors used to lie to their patients all the time. They knew that some hypochondriacs became noticeably better when doctors gave them a sugar pill.

This was called "the placebo effect." After 1970, we thought of placebos differently. Researchers decided that for a drug to be deemed effective, it had to outperform a placebo. But we never stepped back and took a good hard look at the placebo and why it worked.

Stethoscope
Flickr Photo/Alex Proimos

Medical mistakes are now the third highest cause of death in the United States, writes Dr. Marty Makary. As a surgeon, Makary has witnessed the power of medicine firsthand. But he's also been shocked by the errors that can have tragic circumstances: wrong limbs amputated, children getting the wrong doses of medicine because of bad handwriting, surgical sponges left inside patients.

Makary advocates for a culture that holds hospitals and doctors accountable for these mistakes in order to bring about positive change in this system. He spoke at Seattle's Town Hall on November 15, 2012.