Vivid Language in the Emergency Department

June 2, 2010

“You need to put her under — deeply — and basically recreate the injury. Don’t be wimpy about it: you have to go medieval on her. There’ll be a nasty crunch as you complete the ulnar fracture; don’t worry about that. Make sure you have the parents sitting down or out of the room.”

Dr. Shadowfax talks about the value of using really vivid, colourful language when giving directions in the ER. Maybe it’s not for you if you’re squeamish, but I enjoyed this post.

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Earwax Suction

May 18, 2010

THIS IS THE MOST DISGUSTING / SATISFYING THING I’VE EVER SEEN.
Man, I loved watching it. The music is so inspirational! And when he gets that tricky one at the end, doesn’t your heart just soar? This video made me so horribly delighted that I had to yell AAAAUUUGGGGHHH the whole time I watched. I want this done so bad.

Via MeFi.


Awake endotracheal intubation

March 24, 2010

Dr. Michael Bailin performs an awake entodracheal self-intubation (ie, puts a tube into his throat through which a machine will be able to keep breathing for him if he stops).

I’ve had a scope down my throat once (not this deep) to check for vocal nodes, because I performed the voice of a talking televised hamster for a few years and the character’s high-pitched scratchiness eventually took its toll. It was a somewhat unnerving, uncomfortable procedure which I certainly didn’t handle with quite as much rodeo glamour as this guy. I’ve also been intubated for surgery, and woke up with a barking, busted voice, like this guy’s at the end of this video. I think that’s my favourite part, actually, when he goes back to teaching and sounds like a giant teenaged boy. Fun.
Thanks to Greg for the tip.


Nina Arsenault

March 4, 2010

Nina's the one on the right.

Nina Arsenault is a Toronto writer, performer, fashionista, and media personality who has undergone a whole lot of body modification (60+ cosmetic surgeries) to transition from male to female and to end up looking as… I don’t even know how to put it, as “ultra”?… as she does today. She’s a great writer and I enjoy her blog, particularly the photos.

Here’s a video about her, including some rare pics from when she was living as a male. (Probably a little sexy for most workplaces):


Raised by a single mom

February 10, 2010

Meg is a med student in NYC whose blog is one of the highlights of the whole wide internet for me, usually because it’s really funny. The other day she wrote a particularly lovely, heartwarming, thought-provoking post about her work in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit:

I say things that sound important at my job all the time:

We’ve found the mutation that is causing your child’s lung disease. I’ll need DNA from every living relative so we can see who else might be a carrier. I’m sorry. We still don’t know why your baby can’t breathe on her own.

Those are all important-sounding things. And they are, in fact, important things to the family and to the medical team, and there is a lot of science involved and research and papers and that is the reason I can say those words, and that is the reason people care about them.

But sometimes at my job, without anyone’s permission or direction, without any papers in hand or abbreviations or acronyms or any right except a self-imposed one, I say something that feels very, very important to me. It’s this:

It’s going to be okay. I was raised by a single mom, and I turned out just fine.

Go read the whole post, it’s so great. Then add her blog to your RSS feed and get ready for a great post every week or so.


The Caster Semenya story made me wonder about gender* testing.

September 6, 2009

athlete7

Caster Semenya is a record-breaking South African sprinter whose times are so crazy good that the opponents she smoked last month claim that her muscular physique and lack of lipstick are indicators that she’s secretly male.

I’ve been following this story with interest, because I think Semenya’s case raises some discussion-worthy equity implications (1, 2, 3, to name a few). And no matter what the ruling is regarding the sport’s determination of her biological sex, the whole issue is being spectacularly mishandled.

Anyway, here’s a fabulous roundup of the history and procedures surrounding gender testing in sports. Turns out sex-verification is more complex than it sounds, and here’s an interactive quiz where you get to examine, test, and then ascribe a sex designation to a fictional, virtual athlete.

* PS, the scientist in me hates using the word “gender” (a sociological term) where I should be using the word “sex” (a biological term). But it doesn’t sound right to say “sex-testing”, that sounds kind of… like… what kind of tests are we doing, exactly, and who’s doing the grading? I’m just saying.

PPS, Whatever. I pretty much conked the scientist in me over the head with a liberal dose of theatre school and a lifetime of snacking on artificial cheez products which are not technically food at all, so her complaints are quite faint.


Phineas Gage walks into a bar…

July 31, 2009

Phineas Gage was a railway worker who survived an accident that blew a large iron rod through his brain in an accidental explosion in 1848. The subsequent brain injury changed his personality from friendly to belligerent, a phenomenon that challenged the then accepted theory of personality, and opened people’s minds to the idea that the physiology of the brain was involved in personality and disposition.

The above photo- the only known photo of Phineas Gage- was recently identified after being posted on Flickr by its owners, who, not realizing who the subject was, had titled it “One-eyed man with harpoon”. A random internetter correctly identified the photo’s subject in a Flickr comment, supposing that the “harpoon” he held might actually be the iron tamping rod that had injured him. Awesome. Here’s lots of info in a solid post on Metafilter. Internet for the win.