Welcome back!

Welcome to the revamped version of Medicine Simply! I am currently a third year resident physician in internal medicine. I graduated medical school and obtained my MD in 2015. I currently see patients every day, either in the hospital or in the clinic, under the guidance and supervision of attending physicians. This summer I will

How to Stop a Nosebleed

*Buzzzz* My pager buzzes with the following message: “patient in 233 having severe epistaxis, come now.” The patient is a 72yo woman on aspirin (an antiplatelet drug) and warfarin (an anticoagulant). When I walk into the room, multiple staff members are surrounding the patient and one is holding gauze under her nostrils as bright red

A brave new world with artificially enwombed people in it?

“From the Social Predestination Room the escalators went rumbling down into the basement, and there, in the crimson darkness, stewing warm on their cushion of peritoneum and gorged with blood-surrogate and hormones, the fetuses grew and grew or, poisoned, languished into a stunted Epsilonhood. With a faint hum and rattle the moving racks crawled imperceptibly

Last night in the ICU

We brought his family into a separate room with plenty of chairs. Sitting to the right of his father and mother, our attending uttered the first words in the room. “I think you know what I am about to say.” His mother took in a deep sigh, her eyes already swollen from inconsolable tears. “I

Brain Death and Basketball

In reference to the recent unfortunate events regarding basketball player Lamar Odom, I have heard many inconsistent reports, from declarations that he is “brain dead” to reports that he woke up and spoke. This got me to thinking about how brain death, death, cardiac arrest, and altered levels of consciousness are often inaccurately portrayed in

How Your “Natural” Supplements Could Kill You.

The reality is that dietary supplements are not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the same way that drugs made by pharmaceutical companies are. Dietary supplements do not need approval from FDA before they are marketed to consumers. The responsibility of monitoring safety and effectiveness falls on the manufacturer. In other words, I can bottle something and write on the label that my potion cures cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, and the government can do nothing to stop me. Though regulations were created in 2007 to “ensure the identity, purity, quality, strength and composition” of supplement products (in other words, to make it more likely that the bottle labeled as Vitamin C actually contains Vitamin C), the government does NOT enforce these regulations.

PCPs, PPOs, and Premiums: De-coding Health Insurance Terminology

The purpose of today’s post will be to define all of the terminology commonly used regarding health insurance. This will help me set the stage for an upcoming entry, about my experience with helping my significant other sign up for a Marketplace insurance plan (i.e. an Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” plan).

What is a deductible? This is the dollar amount of out-of-pocket expenses that your insurance requires that you pay before they will begin to pay for claims.

Sandra and Bill’s deductible is $500. That means that they will have to pay the first $500 of medical bills before their insurance will begin its regular coverage. So when Timmy falls and breaks his arm at the beginning of the year and goes to see an orthopedist in his private office for diagnosis (involving a consult, x-rays) and treatment (a cast), Sandra and Bill will have to pay the first $500 of bills before their insurance company starts to pay.

What is a copay? A copay is a fixed dollar amount that you pay every time you use a particular type of healthcare service.

Sandra has a $10 copay to see her primary care doctor (PCP) and a $25 copay to see a specialist. She has a $10 copay to fill a prescription for a generic drug and a $30 or $50 copay for a brand-name drug (depending on it’s “tier,” which is a category of price difference determined by the insurance company for drug coverage).

What is a coinsurance? This is the percentage of a medical bill that you will have to pay. Usually, an insurance company does not bill both a copay and a coinsurance for the same service, so it would apply to services outside of outpatient physician consults and drugs.

Sandra and Bill may have a 20% coinsurance for lab tests, diagnostic imaging (i.e. x-rays, MRIs, CTs), and inpatient services. If little Susie is hospitalized for an asthma exacerbation, Bill and Sandra will have to pay for 20% of the bills, up to a certain maximum level.

What is ALS?

Over the last few weeks, many of us have seen video after video of friends and celebrities taking on the “Ice Bucket Challenge” to benefit ALS research. So, what is ALS? And why does it need to be researched? In a sentence: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive

Benign Skin Growths and Spots

During my dermatology elective, I encountered countless patients who were concerned about growths on their skin that were, in fact, harmless and very common. There are thousands of lesions that can appear on the skin, but here I will discuss a few of of the most commonly seen benign skin spots and growths. I will