The High Stakes How-To of HIV Diagnoses & Other Bombs

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Have heard the story of the S-4 submarine? Pretend you’re–not a medical student this time–but a diver. The year is 1927. One frosty December day, your Massachusetts Coast Guard crashes and sinks the USS S-4. Heroically, you rescue many survivors yet six remain. Any attempt to open the hull simply allows more water stealing away precious oxygen. During their final hours, you place your ear to the hull and pick up faint Morse code–is there any hope?

This question adds a layer of complexity to the already daunting task of delivering difficult diagnoses Continue reading

You’re HIV Positive

RIbbonLying half-naked in some cloth napkin they call a gown, you wonder–when is Doctor Resident coming? The initial diagnosis of traveler’s diarrhea from a recent trip to Trinidad doesn’t explain your return to the ER. After two weeks in the hospital and the standard battery of tests, including HIV, your results should be available.

Excuse me, Dr. Come-Lately?  You begin timidly, when will I hear back…  Continue reading

When I Realized the Government Shutdown Included the CDC and NIH

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As if learning about every lethal bacterial species wasn’t bad enough, our government decided to run out of money and no longer keep tabs on stockpiles of infectious agents.

Just peachy.

Happy day for those who prefer Salmonella undercooked and unobserved. Let the food-borne illnesses just monitor themselves!

Oh and don’t worry about the small businesses that depend on the tourism drawn by our national parks. Pay no mind to the 2 million federal workers on furlough. I’d be more concerned about our congressmen with the winter season quickly approaching.

How will they ever get their flu shots?!?