Smoking Cessation

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When you work in healthcare, the negative effects of smoking are apparent in the health of your patients. For those that are still living, smoking causes premature aging, emphysema, shortness of breath, chronic bronchitis, physical symptoms like discoloration of skin and teeth, and worst of all for women, pregnancy complications like premature delivery and miscarriage. Many women still ignore the advice of their doctors and continue to smoke during their pregnancy and risk harming the baby. It’s admittedly difficult to quit smoking but continuing to engage in this poisonous habit will probably result in eventual death from heart disease, stroke, or lung cancer, or a combination of symptoms.

Many people feel trapped by their addiction to cigarettes but there may be a solution to the “withdrawal” that many people fear when quitting smoking. A prescription drug called Chantix has been on the market for several years but many people were hesitant to try it. Doctors have also been hesitant to prescribe it to people who have or could have psychological problems like anxiety and depression. Personally, I had heard of people having vivid nightmares while taking the drug. Despite the huge benefit of Chantix as a means to quit smoking there were not a lot of people quitting with the drug because of its perceived side effects…until now.

A study was recently released that compared the adverse effects of people taking Chantix with those taking a placebo and found that the withdrawal symptoms of the study and blind groups were largely the same. The most frequent symptoms were stomach sickness, lack of sleep, and headache. The study showed that there was no increase in psychiatric symptoms with people taking the drug even if they had a preexisting psychiatric condition. This means that it is probably safe for most people to quit using Chantix. Taking a drug to quit smoking is extreme in and of itself but for people who smoke heavily and have a high risk of serious health problems the findings of this study may provide the push needed to try an alternative means to quit once and for all.

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Why Difficult Patients are Harder to Treat

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Difficult Patients

Most health care practitioners will assert that they always take a neutral stance on their patients no matter what their attitude. While they might want and actually believe this to be true, recent studies have shown that the more moody and difficult a patient is the greater the chance that he or she will be misdiagnosed.

While it is one thing to ask for a second or even a third opinion from a different doctor, some patients believe that despite their lack of medical training they simply know better than the doctor. This attitude results in disputed lab results, demanding of medications, additional tests, and mistrust and contempt towards the doctor and their staff. One study estimated that as many as 15% of patients are considered to be “difficult” patients.

Dealing with Bad Attitudes

Healthcare providers are trained to deal with such people especially in cases of trauma or emergencies. A patient’s bad attitude is not so much of a problem with conditions that are easily diagnosed by a test like pneumonia or strep throat. It is, however, a problem for more complex conditions like overactive thyroid, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and a whole host of others that are not so easily diagnosed and frequently present different symptoms in different people.

For those complex cases, it is important that patients allow doctors to do their jobs. Despite their complexity, most healthcare practitioners have experience in treating the symptoms of complex conditions as they present themselves and they are able to provide relief even if they cannot diagnose, cure or eliminate the illness or disease. Difficult patients place doctors in what has been called a “negative feedback loop,” in which they are distracted by the patient and no longer able to look objectively at their condition. Such a lack of objectivism is what typically results in misdiagnoses and longer courses of treatment from the doctor.

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Why Don’t More People Know About Medical Assisting?

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One of the biggest misconceptions about Medical Assistants is that they are a glorified front office assistant or administrative assistant. While most of this is pretty true, they are also more than capable of participating in clinical work for their healthcare facility because of their training in health science. So medical assistants are capable of filling out a lot more diverse rolls than just administrative assistant or front office manager.

Keep in mind that the duties of a medical assistant will vary depending on the facility and the doctor they work for. In other words, no two medical assistants will have the same kind of responsibilities. However, there are some common clinical duties that medical assistants do share in common.

The Clinical Duties of a Medical Assistant

Drawing blood – as part of the medical assisting program, most students learn how to draw blood from patients. This is commonly known as phlebotomy and it is often offered within the courses listed for any medical assistant training program. All medical assistants who work in clinical facilities will eventually have to draw blood as part of their job. Clinics often get swamped with patients during midday and evening shifts, so they make sure to put everyone who has medical training to use during these hours.

Recording Vital Signs – all medical assistants working in either hospitals or physician’s office will record the vital signs of patients before the doctor examines them. They do this not just because they are qualified to do it, but because it’s just another task they can take away from the doctor, so that he or she can get down to the examination and treatment faster. Plus medical assistants keep records of your vitals, so it would make it easier for them to write in the chart if they took it.

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Why Medical Gloves Pose a Safety Risk

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Deadly Medical Gloves

The FDA has proposed a ban on the sale of powdered medical gloves in the United States. The powdered medical gloves are covered with a substance that’s known as Absorbable Dusting Powder (ADP) or more commonly known as corn starch. We don’t typically think of corn starch as being used in medical facilities because it is more widely used as a cooking aid or thickener. However, both latex and synthetic gloves are covered with the corn starch dust to make it easier for doctors and nurses to put them on. The corn dust itself does not have any medical benefit to the patient.

Different Types of Gloves

The FDA is encouraging the ban (which has yet to be improved) because when the ADP corn dust powder is applied to latex gloves it has the potential to be inhaled or ingested by the patient during a procedure. This can cause an allergic reaction, inflammation of the lungs, or a more serious complication. The seriousness of the corn starch dust reaction or ADP would depend largely on the health of the patient which could be hard to assess at first meeting in an emergency room. For synthetic gloves the corny powder does not carry a risk of allergic reactions but still the inhalation can cause corn starch related inflammation of the lungs and extreme airway inflammation.

Natural latex gloves are still the most common type of gloves used in the world, but the sale of them is expected to decline because of the commonality of latex allergy. I think we can all agree that latex gloves are better than no gloves, but still if they pose a health risk would support the ban.

It shouldn’t be difficult for hospitals to make the transition since companies are already producing multiple types of gloves, including the synthetic non-powdered variety. I oppose the use of corn on any glove.

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The Argument for Vaccinations

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If you choose not to vaccinate your children, then you are putting them at risk for a whole host of illnesses, some of which are life threatening. I recently heard about a couple who refused to vaccinate their three children. The youngest one was only two and began to show symptoms of meningitis. The parents refused to treat him with modern medicine and instead opted for herbal remedies and nutritional supplements. Not surprisingly, the child never recovered and died of the disease.

The scary part about all of this is that the parents run a company called Truehope Nutritional Support that sells a supplement that supposedly cures a whole bunch of illnesses and ailments. It is the same supplement they were giving their little boy.

Concerns of Being Unvaccinated

Meningitis is concerning but that is only one of the diseases that has been reported among unvaccinated children. You can also include measles, rubella, and mumps. Some children will be able to escape unscathed and develop this purported “natural immunity,” but is it really worth the risk of having them die if they don’t?

There are social concerns as well. Parents of vaccinated children might be hesitant to allow their children to spend time with unvaccinated children and vice-versa. My uncle’s children who were unvaccinated were not able to attend public school in the U.S. so they were homeschooled before moving to Canada. As far as I know, they are both healthy but still they suffered being isolated as children by not being able to attend school. I should mention my uncle is a “doctor” of natural and holistic medicine.

I think it is increasingly important for healthcare practitioners to stress the need for vaccinations and for parents to realize how lucky they are to have the ability to prevent these horrible diseases that exist in less fortunate countries around the globe.

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