John Collins Warren and his act of conscience: a brief narrative of the trial and triumph of a great surgeon.
On examination of the correspondence among the principals involved, as well as the original patent application being prepared by Morton, it has become possible to reconstruct some of the remarkable details attending the first use of ether anesthesia at the Massachusetts General Hos pital in the autumn of 1846. At the time that Warren invited Morton to demonstrate the use of his "ethereal vapor" for anesthesia in a minor operation on Oct. 16, 1846, the exact chemical composition of the agent used was being held secret by Morton; Warren was clearly disturbed by this unethical use of a secret "nostrum." When the time arrived 3 weeks later for its possible use for a serious "capital" operation, Warren employed a simple stratagem of public confrontation to discover from Morton the true nature of the substance to be used. On being informed that it was pure unadulterated sulfuric ether, not some mysterious new discovery labeled "Letheon," Warren gave approval for its first use in a "capital" operation (low thigh amputation) on Nov. 7, 1846. Despite this revelation to the immediate participants, a veil of secrecy continued to surround the substance for many months, an anomalous situation evidently traceable to Morton's desire for personal reward from the discovery. It was this matter of secrecy, rather than priority for its discovery, that surrounded the early use of ether anesthesia with controversy and recrimination both in this country and abroad. (+info)
Hepatitis B--are surgeons putting patients at risk?
The 1993 Department of Health guidelines permit a surgeon who is hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) positive but e-antigen (HBeAg) negative to perform exposure prone procedures, unless demonstrated to have infected patients. However, there is increasing evidence of transmission of hepatitis B to patients from health care workers in this supposedly low infectivity category. The Occupational Physician must decide whether existing guidelines represent an adequate risk assessment and indeed whether this is an acceptable risk for patients. If an NHS Trust continues to follow these guidelines it may be in breach of its duty of care to patients. Yet refusing to allow such carriers to operate without testing for additional serological markers may be unlawful discrimination. Further research is clearly needed as well as an urgent review of the guidelines. (+info)
The role of curriculum in influencing students to select generalist training: a 21-year longitudinal study.
To determine if specific curricula or backgrounds influence selection of generalist careers, the curricular choices of graduates of Mount Sinai School of Medicine between 1970 and 1990 were reviewed based on admission category. Students were divided into three groups: Group 1, those who started their first year of training at the School of Medicine; Group 2, those accepted with advanced standing into their third year of training from the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, a five-year program developed to select and produce students likely to enter primary care fields; and Group 3, those accepted with advanced standing into the third year who spent the first two years at a foreign medical school. All three groups took the identical last two years of clinical training at the School of Medicine. These were no significant differences with respect to initial choice of generalist training programs among all three groups, with 46% of the total cohort selecting generalist training. Of those students who chose generalist programs, 58% in Group 1, 51% in Group 2, and 41% in Group 3 remained in these fields rather than progressing to fellowship training. This difference was significant only with respect to Group 3. However, when an analysis was performed among those students providing only primary care as compared to only specialty care, there were no significant differences. Analysis by gender revealed women to be more likely to select generalist fields and remain in these fields without taking specialty training (P < .0001). Differentiating characteristics with respect to choosing generalist fields were not related to either Part I or Part II scores on National Board Examinations or selection to AOA. However, with respect to those specific specialties considered quite competitive (general surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, and ophthalmology), total test scores on Part I and Part II were significantly higher than those of all other students. The analysis indicated that, despite the diverse characteristics of students entering the third year at the School of Medicine, no one group produced a statistically greater proportion of generalists positions than any other, and academic performance while in medical school did not have a significant influence on whether a student entered a generalist field. (+info)
Comparison of patients' needs for information on prostate surgery with printed materials provided by surgeons.
OBJECTIVES: To identify strengths, weaknesses, and omissions in existing leaflets and factsheets on prostatectomy given by surgeons to patients. DESIGN: Comparison of content of leaflets and factsheets with patients' needs and discontents in a questionnaire survey as part of the national prostatectomy audit. SETTING: All NHS and independent hospitals performing prostatectomy in four health regions. SUBJECTS: 87 surgeons, 53 of whom used printed material to inform patients about their operations; a total of 25 different factsheets being used. 5361 men undergoing prostatectomy were sent a closed response questionnaire about their treatment; 4226 men returned it completed. A random sample of 2000 patients was asked for further comments, of whom 807 supplied pertinent comments. MAIN MEASURES: Content of the 25 factsheets compared with patients' needs identified in the questionnaires. RESULTS: Much of the information distributed had considerable shortcomings: it lacked uniformity in form and content, topics of relevance to patients were omitted, terminology was often poor, and patients' experience was at variance with what their surgeons said. For example, only one factsheet discussed the potential consequences of malignancy. Patients wanted more information on prostate cancer (1250(29%)) and some thought that the explanation of biopsy results was inadequate (29(4%)). Only six factsheets discussed the possible changes in sexual sensation after transurethral resection of the prostate, stating that patients would feel no change. However, 1490(35%) patients reported a change and 500(12%) were worried about it. CONCLUSION: Current standards of printed information do not meet the needs and requirements of patients undergoing prostatectomy. (+info)
Home healthcare orders: an assessment of service satisfaction by internists, surgeons, and medical subspecialists.
We conducted a pilot study to evaluate the satisfaction of general internists, medical subspecialists, and surgeons with the quality of home health orders generated by home health agencies. Using a mail survey, we polled 69 physician specialists at Tulane University Medical Center. The percentage of physicians satisfied with the appropriateness of services for the level and type of care, consistency of medication with that prescribed, sufficiency of data on the certification form to assess service continuation, timeliness of orders, and overall health service delivery was 94%, 92%, 69%, 52%, and 88%, respectively. Compared with medical subspecialists and surgeons, general internists were more likely to report that the data on the form were sufficient. Physicians who were satisfied with at least one of the four measures of quality for home health orders were more likely to be satisfied with the overall delivery of services by home health agencies. Our results demonstrate, for the first time, that physicians overall are satisfied with home healthcare orders. However, level of satisfaction with orders is related to the physician's specialty. Areas that physicians were less satisfied with included timeliness of orders and sufficiency of data on the form to assess service continuation. Further studies using a larger population and more specific indicators of healthcare orders quality are recommended. (+info)
Inquiry into the potential value of an information pamphlet on consent to surgery to improve surgeon-patient communication.
OBJECTIVES: To find out how patients recently undergoing surgery experienced the consenting process and the response of these patients to a pamphlet on consent to surgery. To test the reaction of health professionals to the pamphlet. DESIGN: A pilot pamphlet was produced and a questionnaire was sent to patients inquiring about their consenting experience, and how the pamphlet might have helped them through the consent procedure. A pamphlet and a questionnaire were also sent to a random sample of the health professionals serving these patients. SUBJECTS: Patients and health professionals. RESULTS: 61% of patients returned the questionnaire. Knowledge about the consent procedure was shown to be limited. 49% were unaware that they had the right to insist that the surgeon could only perform the specified operation and nothing more. 83% were unaware that they could add something in writing to the consent form before signing. 28% of health professionals returned their questionnaire, most of whom thought that the pamphlet provided a useful contribution to surgeon-patient communication. CONCLUSION: Evidence shows that patients are not well informed about consenting to surgery and further information would provide much needed guidance on understanding their role in the consent procedure. The low response from the health professional study is perhaps an indication that at present this is an issue which is not seen as a priority. (+info)
An appreciation of A.E. Malloch, MB, MD (1844-1919): a forgotten surgical pioneer.
Dr. Archibald Edward Malloch was a surgeon whose life and work were greatly influenced by Joseph Lister and his revolutionary system of antiseptic surgery. This paper describes how a young Canadian medical man came to introduce Lister's system to North America in 1869 and studies his career in the light of Lister's surgical epoch. (+info)
Audiotapes and letters to patients: the practice and views of oncologists, surgeons and general practitioners.
A range of measures have been proposed to enhance the provision of information to cancer patients and randomized controlled trials have demonstrated their impact on patient satisfaction and recall. The current study explored the practice and views of oncologists, surgeons and general practitioners (GPs) with regards to providing patients with consultation audiotapes and summary letters. In stage 1, 28 semi-structured interviews with doctors were conducted to provide qualitative data on which to base a questionnaire. In stage 2, 113 medical oncologists, 43 radiation oncologists, 55 surgeons and 108 GPs completed questionnaires. Only one-third of doctors had ever provided patients with a copy of the letter written to the oncologist or referring doctor, and one-quarter had provided a summary letter or tape. The majority of doctors were opposed to such measures; however, a substantial minority were in favour of providing a letter or tape under certain conditions. More surgeons and GPs (> two-thirds) were opposed to specialists providing a consultation audiotape than oncologists (one-third). Gender, years of experience and attitude to patient involvement in decision-making were predictive of doctors' attitudes. The majority of doctors remain opposed to offering patients personalized information aids. However, practice and perspectives appear to be changing. (+info)