Monthly Archives: January, 2012

The Best and Worst Doctors of 2011,part 2

Took me some time to compile this list, so here goes:

The Best Doctors

1.Drs Beutler, Hoffman and Steinman

These three were the winners of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Medicine and the impact of their research will be felt for many years to come.

In essence, they discovered receptor proteins in the body that can spot bacteria and other microorganisms and then activate the body’s innate immunity to defend itself. These dendritic cells activate the T cells which then produce antibodies which attack the invading germs.

Their studies determine  how clinicians prevent and treat infection, inflammatory diseases, and cancer in the future. Strangely enough, one of them, Dr Steinman (right,above pic) himself died of cancer of the pancreas before he won the award. This disease was one of the potential beneficiaries of his research.

2. Dr Valentin Fuster

This Spanish cardiologist, who is the Head of Mount Sinai Heart Centre in New York, is the only person to be awarded the top research awards from all the four main cardiovascular organisations.

He is best known for his profound contribution towards the understanding and prevention of atherothrombosis and was the first to have highlighted the role of platelets in acute coronary syndromes. In other words, how heart attacks happen-see below.

Dr Mark Kris

Lung cancer specialist at one of the top cancer centres in the world, Memorial Sloan-Kettering in Houston,Texas, he was recognised for his  dedication and compassion in his professional work and volunteer efforts by being awarded the inaugural ASCO Humanitarian Award .

He has built homes for families in Hyde Park, New York,  gone to Costa Rica to build a basketball court and a church and made several trips to assist with earthquake relief in Haiti; and helped with relief efforts in Biloxi, Mississippi  after it was hit byHurricane Katrina.

Of course, to the unsung heroes out there,those who have toiled without bells and whistles, well done for being a credit to your profession!

 

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The Best and Worst Doctors of 2011,part 1

Couldn’t help recalling that last year, quite a number of physicians made the headlines..so here’s my list of the Dr Jekylls and Dr Hydes of 2011.

The Worst Doctors

1. Conrad Murray,MD

Physician to the King of Pop.. in November he was sentenced to 4 years in jail for his conviction on a charge of involuntary manslaughter in the pop star’s death. There wasn’t much substance in his defence once he admitted to using propafol injected intravenously into Michael Jackson’s veins so as to enable him to sleep at home. What was worse was that this drug is normally used in a hospital setting with the patient hooked on close monitors; using it otherwise (at home) constitutes negligence and inappropriate use.

2. Gerald J Klein, MD

Gerald who? Well, he was one of 14 Florida doctors indicted in August 2011 for illegally distributing opioid analgesics such as oxycodone and sedatives like Xanax. Drug addicts and dealers would queue in their clinics to sell or receive drugs illegally under the pretext of valid medical reasons. Opioid analgesics were dispensed and prescribed on an assembly line basis,  paid for with cash and credit cards. Clinic employees hauled their money to the bank in large garbage bags. This way, each doctor netted USD 1 million yearly. “Drug dealers in white coats”, said the FBI.Read more here.

Dr Gerald Klein..described as a drug dealer in a white coat

3. John R McLean,MD and others

The Maryland cardiologist was convicted on 6 charges of healthcare fraud relating to insurance claims that he had filed for doing unnecessary coronary angiograms and angioplasties (invasive test and treatment of blocked heart arteries), as well as for ordering unnecessary tests and making false entries in patient medical records. In November, Dr. McLean was sentenced to 8 years in jail.

The buck does not stop here in Maryland – already two other cases are being heard (see here and here) of similar cases where cardiologists have done unnecessary procedures on otherwise well patients, in return for unethical financial rewards.

In the next blog entry, I will name the best doctors of 2011.

Drinking Creates New Realities

Just an afterthought in this festive season..

..and just in case, you’re thinking about giving up alcohol in January after the recent excesses, don’t bother say several researchers.

Promises to give up alcohol for a week or two, or even a month, are common in the New Year but are being described as medically futile.

As drinkers begin their DIY “detox” programmes by giving up alcohol, the British Liver Trust is preparing to launch a series of roadshows designed to focus public attention on the growing problem of liver damage.

A consultant hepatologist (liver specialist) in UK has the last word: “Detoxing for just a month in January is medically futile. It can lead to a false sense of security and feeds the idea that you can abuse your liver as much as you like and then sort everything else with a quick fix.

This is not the same of course as saying that one should continue drinking!

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