May 03

International Health: Grand Rounds issue May 3, 2011

Welcome to Grand Rounds May 3, 2011, the official blog of Better Health: smart health commentary.

This week’s medical blog sampler brings you fresh perspectives on



A preview of the final act - Dr. Mariana Perroni in Haiti


Semen and Scandal, American Style:

We open with a classic “America, Land of the Hypocrite, Home of the Knave” perspective on the downfall of University of Michigan Professor Emeritus, Lazar Greenfield MD, brought to us by Laikas Mediblog, a medical librarian exploration from the Netherlands entitled How a Valentine’s Editorial about Chocolate & Semen Lead to the Resignation of Top Surgeon Greenfield.

Renowned for the Greenfield caval filter, Dr. Greenfield terminally undermined his career after alluding to published data on the mood enhancing effects of sperm exposure in one of his many editorials published in Elsevier’s throw-away, Surgery News. Seriously, what is UP with us in this country? From ABC news to the NY Times to the Huffington Post to the Association of Women Surgeons, this pre-eminent surgeon suffered an horrific public skewering for these (if you ask me, the most it warrants is a short chuckle and a Brooklyn-style rolling of the eyes) words:

“So there’s a deeper bond between men and women than St. Valentine would have suspected, and now we know there’s a better gift for that day than chocolates.”

The feeding frenzy of self-righteous, “Oh no he didn’t”  mayhem was squelched only by the resignation of one of the living legends of our medical times. Once again, American culture perpetuates utter bewilderment from the other side of the pond. Thank you, Laika.

Travel Clinic: Safeway saves the day

Dr. Pullen makes it easier to grab your passport and flee to saner shores, spreading the good word on the merits of Travel Clinics located in Safeway Pharmacies. Run, don’t walk, to your nearest Safeway for convenient, cost effective travel screening and medical preparation on the spot for a fee I, I’m tellin’ ya, you’ve got to see it to believe it, this decimal point warrants a double take.

Psychosis: don’t let it make you crazy

Once you”ve made your post-Safeway escape, should you find yourself in Holland and suffering your first psychotic break, which, if your name is Lazar Greenfield, MD, may well be the case, W.W. van den Broek, MD, PhD suggests you never wean from your anti-psychotic regimen, lest you suffer a relapse, which, apparently you will, per the recently published PhD thesis of Geartsje Boonstra on the continuation of medication (good idea) compared to weaning from medication after a period of stability (not so good, apparently).

Afghan women and U. S. Marines – not so different, actually

While perusing van den Broek’s Dr Shock: a neurostimulating blog I came across another irresistible posted video on the U. S. military’s ingenious use of female troops to “win the hearts and minds” of Afghan women suffering the terrors of home-grown gender apartheid.  Just watching it made me healthier. Thanks, W. W.


Medical Practice Manager extraordinaire, Mary Pat Whaley, shares a post submitted by her consultant, Donna Izor. Donna worked in Haiti, taking her nursing skills out of 20 years in mothballs in order to “Do what you can, with what you’ve got, in the moment you’re given”. My favorite part… they started in the neighboring Dominican Republic at La Romana, one of the premiere resorts of the West Indies. I’ve ridden the polo ponies of ambassadors at La Romana. What a culture-warp! In the end, she found it painful to leave Haiti, a testament to the powerful humanity of Haitian people. More on that later…

Canadian Healthcare

From David Williams, co-founder of MedPharma Partners LLC, we get an outsider’s inside perspective on  the merits and demerits of Canadian Healthcare gleaned from time spent working and living among our friends North of the Border. Guess what? Pandering in Media happens everywhere. Shocking.

Cosmetic breast surgery & breast cancer screening

Ramona L. Bates MD,  plastic surgeon with a blog-habit, brings us squarely back to some State-Side reality with her entry on the poignant under-utilization of breast cancer screening prior to cosmetic breast surgery all too painfully common among a survey of American cosmetic surgeons. A wee bit alarming, frankly.

Haiti (re-verb…)

And with great pleasure, I bring you the most endearing of entries,  sent by email for direct posting of content and images, by Mariana Perroni, MD, Physician (Intensive Care and Internal Medicine) and Social Media Specialist at Albert Einstein Hospital, São Paulo, Brazil. She writes: “I wrote the following post for my hospital blog in February 27, 2010, while working as a volunteer in a field hospital in Haiti. It was called Love a Child Recovery Center and it was run by us (Albert Einstein Hospital – São Paulo – Brazil), Harvard Medical School and University of Chicago Medical School. ”

Haiti. Courtesy Dr. Mariana Perroni

We have, according to the census, 39 patients under our care today. This amount represents 15% of the total number of patients in the field hospital. Still, the number of family tragedies is uncountable.

While entering one of the tents during the morning rounds, I laid my eyes on a skinny and smiling 15 year young man. Some locals had already told me that this boy was trapped under the earthquake wreckage for days, with his family. And that both him and his father were forced to watch the slow and painful death of his mother, while stuck in the ruins. When they finally managed to escape, they carried the corpse for three days aimlessly through the destroyed streets, searching for a decent place to bury her. Being unable to find one, they were forced to make one of the toughest decisions of their lives: leave her in the street and move forward in the struggle for survival.

When I asked the young man how he felt, he answered “God wanted this to happen in my life for a reason. I am very grateful for having had the chance to continue to living it. I’m fine. ” And, on my way out of that hot and dusty tent, I heard father and son heard chanting a prayer with excitement.

It was then, amidst all that dust, pain, mutilation and misery, when I realized the powerful presence and importance that music has on the lives of the people in Haiti. The sound of melodies is constant. Whether in tents, where families spend time and distract themselves from the pain while singing songs about hope; in the streets, where women motivate themselves to do their laundry chanting prayers in unison; in the tiny radios inside the tents and in the night meetings, where the locals sing, pray and dance, with or without crutches, with great enthusiasm. Much more than vitamins and painkillers, I conclude that musical notes are the most power and effective adjuncts to the treatments performed here.

I couldn’t help but remembering the words of Aldous Huxley, who said that “after silence, music is what comes closest to expressing the inexpressible.” In my second day in Haiti, I am beginning to doubt it was him, and not a Haitian, who said that.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>