Health & Spirit

What Happened Next

Scott LaFee on

The opioid epidemic has been much in the news. But for every fatal overdose in the United States, there are an estimated 30 non-fatal opioid overdoses. Each of those events represents an opportunity for clinical intervention and prevention of a future overdose.

But what happens next in most cases is mostly nothing at all. In a study of 6,000 Medicaid enrollees who had been treated for an opioid overdose in Pennsylvania, the number of opioid prescriptions after overdosing fell just 10 percent compared with the period before the overdose. And the rate of medication-assisted treatment in the group increased just 12 percent.

Don't Come Back And See Us Sometime

Researchers at George Washington University looked at emergency room use in seven developed countries, including the U.S. They report that ER use was lowest in Germany and Australia, most likely due to better, faster access to primary care. The vast majority of Germans and Australians can make same- or next-day appointments with their regular doctors.

ER use was most common in Canada, with the U.S. and Switzerland close behind.

The U.S. was tops in keeping people from coming back to the ER, primarily due to efforts to incentivize hospitals to cut readmission rates.

Body of Knowledge

The average American consumes 14,820 pounds of meat in a lifetime, or the equivalent of a large Minke whale.

Get Me That, Stat!

Seven in 10 people aged 65 years and older have not discussed end-of-life care with a physician and 4 in 10 have not documented their end-of-life wishes.

Stories For The Waiting Room

Doctors in Maryland noted that the head of a 4-month-old boy was growing faster than normal for his age. A scan revealed a brain tumor containing what appeared to be teeth. When doctors removed the tumor, they also extracted several fully formed teeth within it.

Teeth have been found in other tumor types, but not in the brain. The case was reported in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2014. The boy made a full recovery.

Life in Big Macs

One hour of riding in a car or truck burns 68 calories (based on a 150-pound person) or the equivalent of 0.1 Big Macs. Exception: If you're driving one of the Flintstones' cars.

Doc Talk

O-sign: Used to describe a comatose patient with his mouth agape.

Q-sign: Similar to an O-sign, but with the patient's tongue protruding.

Q-dot sign: Similar to a Q-sign, but with a fly on the tongue. Considered to be a poor prognostic indicator.

Phobia of the Week

Chrometophobia: fear of money (though presumably they're still looking for an actual case)

Never Say Diet

The Major League Eating record for garlicky greens is 7.5 pounds in 6 minutes, held by Pete Davekos. Due to the nature of the contest, there were no close congratulations to the winner afterward.

Best Medicine

A guy goes to the doctor. He has two burned ears.

"What happened," asks the doctor.

"I was at home, doing some housework. The phone rang, and I accidentally picked up the hot iron," the guy replied.

"What about the other ear," inquired the doctor.

"They called back."


"A man's health can be judged by which he takes two at a time -- pills or stairs."

--Joan Welsh

Medical History

This week in 1895, Daniel David Palmer reportedly gave the first chiropractic adjustment to Harvey Lillard in Davenport, Iowa, now the home of Palmer College of Chiropractic.

Self Exam

Q: What percentage of your genes describes the complexity of your brain compared to the 98 percent of the rest of your body?

a) 15 percent

b) 18 percent

c) 50 percent

d) 89 percent

A: c) 50 percent. Your brain makes up only 2 percent of your weight, but receives 20 percent of the blood coming from the heart and uses 20 percent of your body's oxygen and glucose.

Med School

Q: According to Travel and Care International, what is the average frequency for a doctor to interrupt a patient?

a) Every 14 seconds

b) Every 30 seconds

c) Every 60 seconds

d) Never

A: a) every 14 seconds


"This Grave contains all that was mortal, of a Young English Poet, who on his Death Bed, in the Bitterness of his heart, at the Malicious Power of his enemies, desired these words to be Engraven on his Tomb Stone: Here lies One Whose Name was writ in Water."

--Engraved on the tombstone of English poet John Keats (1795-1821). Keats desired only the phrase "Here lies one whose name was writ in water." Keats friends, clearly not editors, added the rest.


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Copyright 2017 Creators Syndicate Inc.


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