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Carolyn Thomas: My experience of patient peer review

16 Oct, 14 | by BMJ

carolyn_thomasI’ve finally hit the “Submit” button on my patient review of a research paper submitted to The BMJ—and in time for its deadline. Hurray!

This is the first project of this type I’ve ever been involved in, and at first blush I wondered if I would have anything at all meaningful to contribute—as a non-scientist who wouldn’t know a Hosmer-Lemeshow test from my left elbow at the best of times. more…

Ahmed Rashid: Junk food history taking

16 Oct, 14 | by BMJ

ahmed_rashid“Listen to the patient and they will tell you the diagnosis.”

Widely attributed to Sir William Osler, this quote is often shared with new medical students, and I often find myself repeating it to the undergraduate clinical students I currently supervise. Regardless of the specialty area or examination skills we cover, clinical history taking remains a recurring topic in our tutorials. more…

The BMJ Today: Teenage pregnancy and sleepless nights

16 Oct, 14 | by BMJ

Teenage pregnancy (within the ages of 13-19) is a major public health concern. About 16 million females aged 15-19 and about 1 million girls aged less than 15 give birth. Complications during pregnancy and childbirth are the second cause of death in 15-19 year old females globally.

A clinical review by McCarthy and colleagues looks at the issues around teenage pregnancy and how to approach them. It discusses how common it is, who is most likely to become a teenage mother, and what can be done to prevent it. The medical and social impacts of teenage pregnancy on mothers and their children are neatly represented in an online infographic. more…

Aser García Rada: Abortion in Spain

15 Oct, 14 | by BMJ

Aser García Rada_BMJThis year´s Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion, celebrated on 28 September, was especially welcomed in Spain. Earlier that week, Spain’s prime minister and leader of the conservative People´s Party (PP), Mariano Rajoy, announced the withdrawal of his plans to toughen up current abortion law. That law, which was passed by the socialists in 2010, established the right to abort on demand up to 14 weeks of gestation and under certain circumstances up to the 22nd week of gestation, as is common in most EU countries. more…

Abdullah Aljoudi: An epidemic free Hajj

15 Oct, 14 | by BMJ Group

My photo 1 “Complete the pilgrimages … for the sake of God” Quran 2:196

The 2014 Hajj was epidemic-free, according to Saudi Arabia’s acting health minister. In addition to the regular Hajj health regulations, this year the Saudi government decided to ban pilgrims from Mano river Union countries (Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone) because of the Ebola threat. The World Health Organization said there was “no report of MERS-CoV among pilgrims,”  and more than two million attended. more…

The BMJ Today: The pitfalls of migration

15 Oct, 14 | by BMJ

I’ve been taking lots of travel histories lately. As a GP who sees lots of patients with fever, patients are even starting to pre-empt me (” . . . and I’ve never been to Africa”). This heightened awareness is unsurprising, given news that some countries are introducing airport screening for Ebola. But will this actually make much difference? Probably not, say editorialists Mabey et al. By their calculations, “an entrance screening policy will have no meaningful effect on the risk of importing Ebola into the UK.” more…

Sanna W Khawaja: What can we learn from the locum?

15 Oct, 14 | by BMJ

sanna_khawajaWhen recounting the tale of my first ever shift as a bona fide doctor, the line “I was on call with a locum SHO and a locum Reg” tends to get the perfect reaction: sympathy and kudos. I follow “The Locum Doctor” on Facebook and have made many a witty (some would disagree) joke with a “locum” punchline. The newspapers also love a bit of locum bashing. Yet here I am, taking a gap year for a number of reasons and I am “the emergency department (ED) locum.” more…

Richard Smith: The joy of a hernia repair

14 Oct, 14 | by BMJ

richard_smith_2014I had a hernia repair recently, but the day turned out to be one of the pleasantest I’ve had in a long time. Can that really be true?

Oddly, I looked forward to the day. It was partly the thought of being “made whole,” partly it being a different day from the normal, and partly a chance to experience the NHS doing what it does well. more…

The BMJ Today: The challenge of getting ready for autumn

14 Oct, 14 | by BMJ

Emma-ParishAs the seasons shift here in the UK to embrace autumn, more people will seek advice for coughs, sore throats, and hoarseness, but are you up to date on laryngitis? In their clinical review, an Australian ENT team present the diagnostic challenge of this condition, outlining the red flag symptoms to prompt investigation for malignancy—very timely for mouth cancer awareness month in November. more…

Mihail Călin: Romanian healthcare workers keep packing

13 Oct, 14 | by BMJ

Mihail_CălinAn oncologist from Tulcea, a city 280 kilometres east of Romanian capital Bucharest, returned to work one week into his retirement because there was no other specialist to care for his 4000 patients. In Maramureș, a Romanian county on the northern border with Ukraine, an anaesthesiologist has to commute between two towns so that emergency surgeries can be performed–other operations are being postponed for less crowded days. Călărași, a poor county in the south, only has one diabetologist.

All of these reports are partly owing to the massive migration of medical personnel, which began after Romania’s accession to the European Union in 2007. Between 14 000 and 20 000 doctors—and probably at least as many nurses—have left the country over the past seven years, leaving behind patients with even poorer access to care and overwhelmed colleagues. Many Romanians are pinning their hopes for solutions on the EU—the destination for most migrant health workers. more…

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