10 Ways to Improve Your Bedside Manner

84516963A physician must absorb a tremendous amount of knowledge before he or she is prepared to treat patients.

But computers and robots are capable of absorbing far greater quantities of information. So why is no one calling for doctors to be replaced by computers or robots?

The answer is that medical patients are looking for warmth, support and understanding in addition to expert medical knowledge. These are things that human beings can provide but machines cannot.

It is a part of your responsibility as a physician to cultivate a compassionate and comforting bedside manner, and here are 10 recommendations that can help you improve your performance in this vitally important area:

#1 Focus exclusively on your patient

Doctors are like jugglers trying to keep a dozen balls in the air at the same time. But no matter how busy or pressed for time you are you should never allow yourself to become distracted by other matters when you are with a patient.

#2 Observe the non-verbal elements of every encounter

Listen to the tone of your patient’s voice and watch his or her body language closely. This will tell you a lot about what your patient is really thinking and feeling, making it easier for you to respond in the appropriate manner.

#3 Work hard to make a good subliminal impression

By this we mean pay attention to your own body language, facial expressions and vocal tones. Your patient should see you as authoritative yet receptive, businesslike yet compassionate.

#4 Make your patient feel safe and comfortable.

If the medical problem is of a highly personal nature, let your patient know you would be willing to move to a more private space to discuss it.

#5 Adopt an open style of questioning

Draw your patients out and get them to go into detail about their problem and the symptoms they’ve been experiencing. You’ll gain more insight while validating their desire to be listened to and taken seriously.

#6 Listen closely

Make absolutely sure you understand the nature of your patient’s symptoms. If anything seems ambiguous or unclear ask questions and pay close attention to the answers. If your patient thinks you haven’t been listening he or she will see it as a sign of indifference and disrespect.

#7 Don’t judge

You are a professional and you can’t do your job properly unless you remain detached. Be honest with yourself and hold yourself accountable if and when you come up short in this area.

#8 Choose your words carefully

You must never forget your patients are apprehensive and in an emotionally fragile state. So always try to stay positive, upbeat, hopeful and encouraging, but without being trite, condescending or patronizing.

#9 Be reassuring

Let your patients know exactly what they have to do to get better and explain to them the role you will play in the healing process. Always emphasize healing over illness or injury, it will help your patient stay optimistic and relaxed.

#10 Stay in control but remain warm and polite

If your bedside manner is good your patients may be so comforted by your presence they won’t want to let you go. Be as polite as you can when you have to end an appointment and let your patients know you will always be available if and when they need to visit you again.

Making it Second Nature

At times it may be difficult to put your best foot forward in your interactions with your patients. After all you are a human being who has bad days just like everyone else.

But never forget that practice makes perfect. The more diligent you are about cultivating a warm and caring persona the easier it will be to maintain it in every circumstance.

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Everything You Need to Know About Comas

450063159Comas are a popular plot point in movies and television, but what exactly is a coma?

What Is a Coma?

When someone falls into a coma, he or she is in a prolonged state of unconsciousness. To outsiders, it looks as though the patient is just in a deep sleep; however, the patient can’t be awakened.

What Causes a Coma?

Comas are the result of injury to the brain. The injury can be caused by bleeding, increased pressure, buildup of toxins or a lack of oxygen. The injury can be either temporary and reversible or permanent. Over half of comas are related to head trauma or to disturbances in the circulatory system of the brain.

The following problems in the brain can lead to a coma:

  • trauma
  • swelling
  • bleeding
  • stroke
  • blood sugar
  • oxygen deprivation
  • infection
  • toxins
  • repeated seizures

What Are the Types of Coma?

Types of coma include:

  • Toxic-metabolic encephalopathy—an acute condition of brain dysfunction where the patient presents as confused, delirious, or both. This condition can usually be reversed. The causes are varied, but can include infection, systemic illness and organ failure.
  • Anoxic brain injury—This brain condition is caused by a complete lack of oxygen to the brain. When the brain lacks oxygen for a few minutes, brain tissues can experience cell death. Anoxic brain injuries can be a result of a heart attack, drowning, head injury or trauma, drug overdose or poisoning.
  • Persistent vegetative state—Patients in this state are severely unconscious. The patient is unaware of his or her surroundings and is not able to move. Even if a patient in a persistent vegetative state is able to awaken, he or she may have no higher brain functioning. Those in persistent vegetative state are able to breathe and have sleep-wake cycles.
  • Locked-in syndrome—With this rare neurological condition, the patient is completely paralyzed except for the eye muscles. The patient remains awake and alert and has a normal mind.
  • Brain death—Brain death can be caused by lasting or widespread injury to the brain. The patient loses all brain function, and the condition is irreversible.
  • Medically induced—This is a type of temporary coma, or a deep state of unconsciousness. Doctors use this type of coma to protect the brain from swelling if the patient has suffered an injury. The doctor administers a controlled dose of anesthetic, which makes the patient lose feeling or awareness. The doctors then watch the patient’s vitals.

Can Comas Be Treated?

Treatment for comas is mostly supportive. The patient may receive medications, surgery or antibiotics to help relieve complications. If a patient has suffered a coma because of an overdose, the coma can usually be reversed if the patient receives medical attention quickly.

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Do Doctors Have the Worst Jobs in America?

156506520Do doctors have the worst jobs in America? Wait, that question doesn’t seem right. Aren’t doctors some of the most coveted people in the nation? That may be, but the fact is that doctors are often completely burnt out and exhausted from long hours, immense responsibility and environmental frustration.

Far from being the grand occupation it might seem from afar, the occupation of medical doctor is the second most suicidal occupation in America. According to one WebMD study, only 54% of 24,000 doctors surveyed said they would choose medicine as a career again. In another WebMD study of 12,000 doctors, a miniscule 6% described their morale as positive. Perhaps the most terrifying statistic of all is that approximately 300 doctors commit suicide annually. What is causing all of this exhaustion and frustration?

Firstly, an impossible workload. Doctors have always been overworked and unfortunately over the years their workload has only increased. According to the Archives of Internal Medicine, nearly 50% of medical doctors work more than 60 hours per week, and in order to get through their patient list each day, most doctors have to see a new patient every 11-15 minutes.

This time frame doesn’t allow any doctor, no matter how competent, to fully understand their patient’s situation or generate a holistic treatment plan. This means that the quality of medical care decreases while the requirements for future care increase. Less preventative care given now means increased, and probably more involved, care needed in the future.

Secondly, the cooperation that is required between the medical profession and the insurance companies adds a level of frustration. Unfortunately the practice of medicine is often driven by the requirements of insurance companies rather than the needs of the patient. For instance, a doctor may be required by an insurance company to prescribe a certain generic prescription to his patient before he can prescribe the medicine that he knows will be more effective. This is an incredibly frustrating experience for the doctor because it keeps him from using his medical expertise and wastes additional time and money for both himself and his patient.

Thirdly, many of the technical tools provided to doctors are sub-par and outdated. The software many doctors use is inefficient and adds to the time they have to spend doing administrative tasks instead of seeing their patients.

Add to all of these elements the fact that doctors have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on their education—which, as we have seen, they may not always be allowed to use—and you have a perfect recipe for the exhaustion and burnout that we see in the medical community today. It is unfortunate that a field built upon a desire to help others has become such a demoralizing environment for those who have invested their lives into doing just that.

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How to Recover from a Sinus Infection Faster

Young blonde female blowing her noseA sinus infection, otherwise known as sinusitis, can leave you feeling pretty miserable. The sinuses are pockets in the forehead and face that produce normal mucus to keep you healthy, as well as moisten the air you breathe. When the sinuses get inflamed, they’re not able to perform their usual functions, and this sometimes results in infection.


There is a range of symptoms that someone with a sinus infection might exhibit. These include:

  • a runny nose
  • congestion
  • coughing
  • sneezing
  • headache
  • fatigue
  • bad breath
  • sore throat
  • fever
  • pressure or tenderness around eyes

Not everyone has the same symptoms, and these symptoms also vary in severity dependent upon the individual.

Home Remedies

Often, sinus infections will improve on their own with time. To help alleviate symptoms, there are a number of measures you can take.

  • Use nasal saline
  • Apply warm heat
  • Breathe in steam vapors from the shower
  • Drink lots of fluids
  • Flush out sinuses
  • Rest
  • Use decongestants as needed
  • Use over-the-counter painkillers as needed
  • Drink tea
  • Eat spicy foods
  • Avoid cigarettes

When to See a Doctor

If your sinus infection isn’t going away with home remedies, you may need to see a doctor. If you have any of the symptoms below, call your doctor’s office for guidance.

Symptoms that don’t improve after seven to 10 days

  • Green, yellow or bloody mucus
  • A high fever
  • A strong headache not improved by OTC painkillers
  • Ear pain
  • Stiff neck
  • Severe neck pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Heaviness in the chest
  • Vision changes, swelling or redness around eyes
  • An allergic reaction to medication
  • Chronic sinusitis

Medical Treatments

About 2 to 10 percent of sinus infections are bacterial, and these can be treated with antibiotics. A doctor may also want to perform allergy testing to see if that is what’s causing your sinusitis, especially if it’s chronic. If you do have allergies he or she may prescribe or recommend certain allergy medications. Inhaled steroids are sometimes used to reduce inflammation. Lastly, surgery may be an option, if you continue to have bouts of sinusitis. You may need a procedure that enlarges the sinus passages and removes blockages.

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When Should You Keep Sick Children Home From School?


One of the most difficult decisions that a parent or care giver needs to make is to decide when a sick child needs to stay home. For many parents this decision may be made worse by the fact that their child may frequently complain of ailments just to skip school. Here some ScannerDoc tips that should help you make a decision.

Find the Answers

When should you keep sick children home from school? This question can be answered by first considering three simple questions. Firstly, you need to think about your child’s symptoms. Is it possible that they will keep her from participating in school activities? Next, if your child is contagious, then your decision is already made for you. Finally, consider if your child may need more care and supervision than the school can provide.

Doctor Speak

One of the most common ailments that afflict children is the flu. In fact, when it comes to the flu, school children are the most affected. The disease is contagious and easily spread in the classroom environment where children frequently come in contact with a sick child.  This is why pediatricians recommend the flu vaccine. Though many parents worry about the effectiveness of the vaccination, better vaccines that match the flu virus in circulation are being developed.

Some of the common symptoms associated with the flu include runny nose, cough and fever. ScannerDoc recommends that parents keep their children home from school if they have a fever of over 100. In addition, symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea are indications of the contagious phase of the illness.

In other words, if the child has a temperature of over 100, is vomiting or has a tummy upset, then it is best for her not to go to school. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the CDC recommends that children stay away from school at least 24 hours after the fever subsides.

If a child suffers from an ailment that is not contagious, such as an injury, it is best to consider how comfortable she may be at school. If medication may resolve the situation then it would be quite alright to continue with the usual routine. If you still find it difficult to make a decision, we recommend that you speak to your pediatrician.

Read This If You Have Been Diagnosed With Multiple Sclerosis


Being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis can be frightening and you may feel like you are alone. However according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, it is one of the most common neurological diseases in adults. Multiple Sclerosis affects people between the ages of 20 and 40, and studies show that 400,000 people in the United States have been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, with 2.3 million people worldwide also suffer from it. What you need to know about this disease is that it can be managed successfully.

Medical professionals say that there are various treatments and medication now days that are designed to effectively handle the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. If you have been diagnosed with the disease, you should make it your duty to find out all you can about it. Education is the key to empowering yourself. The more you know about the condition, the better prepared you are. Multiple Sclerosis is a difficult disease to diagnose and a series of tests must be done in order to rule out the possibility of other diseases.

Some of the symptoms you may experience with this condition include, blurred vision, loss of balance, impaired speech and extreme fatigue, however, you must understand that no 2 people are the same. Some symptoms may come and go, while others will last longer. Start your treatment as soon as you receive your diagnoses. The longer you wait the more you increase the risk of disability. By tracking your symptoms and how often you are getting them, you can assist your doctor in determining whether the medication is helping or not. You can also try to avoid a relapse. Although there is no definite way of knowing when a relapse will begin, there are things that can trigger a relapse, such as consuming excessive amounts of alcohol and smoking. Being in the sun too long, taking hots baths and extreme fatigue may also trigger a relapse. Speak to your loved ones about your concerns about the disease and the most important thing that you can do aside from taking your medication and doctors advice, is not to give up hope.

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Is It Safe To Take Antibiotics Over Long Periods Of Time?


Antibiotics are utilized to treat bacterial infections throughout the body. In the average lifetime, a person will take them numerous times on a short-term basis. It’s well-known that antimicrobials are invaluable treatment options. Some confusion exists about taking antibiotics over long periods of time, though. Fortunately, we’ve got answers here at the ScannerDoc: Medical Imaging and Health Blog.

Typical Antibiotic Uses and Treatments

For most bacterial infections, a regimen of antibiotics lasts anywhere from three to 10 days. Antimicrobials tend to come in pill or ointment form with slight variations between the two. Rarely are they needed for longer than a few days to stop bacterial infections. Typically, doctors prescribe antibiotics to treat eye infections, urinary tract infections, and more. These medications will not treat any viral infections.

When is long-term usage necessary?

Long-term antibiotics usage is a rare occurrence, but certain conditions require it. For instance, rosacea and certain forms of acne necessitate frequent usage of these medications. A handful of other conditions involving bacterial infections could involve long-term treatment with antimicrobials. The overwhelming majority of people will never suffer from such a condition because antibiotics are so effective.

Long-Term Usage Risks

Taking antibiotics over long periods of time can be risky for two reasons. For starters, all medications come with side effects. Side effects range from discomforting to severe, and they often get worse with time. Antibiotic resistance is the second issue, which can have large implications. With prolonged usage, the bacteria could become resistant to medication, and that makes treating infections exponentially more challenging.

Can long-term usage be safe?

In the end, long-term antibiotic usage can’t be avoided in all cases. Patients should work closely with their doctors to create a safe but effective usage plan. Topical ointments have less pronounced side effects and a lower risk of resistance, so they’re preferable for long periods of use. Either way, doctors and their patients need to weigh the benefits versus the risks in creating an antibiotic regimen to avoid issues moving forward.

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Facts About Dizziness And Vertigo

485060108Many adults will experience occasional dizziness at some point in their lives. Vertigo is a related condition but it is more serious and creates the feeling that the room is spinning around you even when you are standing still. According to a study conducted by the UCSF Medical Center, one in four adults over 40 will experience vertigo at least once. Here are some facts about dizziness and vertigo everyone should know.

Dizziness creates a temporary imbalance that can be mild or severe depending on the individual. In some cases, vertigo can cause vomiting or nausea and sometimes it signals a serious balance disorder.

The inner ear plays an important role in balance. The saccule and utricle are two structures in the ear that detect gravity and signal your body about its orientation in space. When you move from a standing position to a lying position, these structures are responsible for directing blood flow in response to the position change. You may feel dizzy if there is a malfunction of this process.

BPPV, or benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, is the result of a mechanical problem within the ear. Sensing crystals, called octoconia, and calcium inside the ear help you maintain balance. If they are knocked loose and travel through the ear canal, it will cause you to feel like you are spinning. This is a problem that often affects elderly individuals, but adults in any age group may experience it. Physical therapy is the most effective treatment for this condition.

Among the most serious causes of dizziness is heart disease. Atherosclerosis, atrial fibrillation and narrow or leaky heart valves are conditions that can cause you feel dizzy. The sensation is caused by a lack of blood flow to the brain.

Other common causes of dizziness include a vitamin B12 deficiency, anxiety and dehydration.

If you experience dizziness or vertigo that interferes with normal activity, it is important to seek the advice of a qualified medical professional. The only way to know for sure if it is caused by a minor condition or a major health problem is to have a physician perform an examination and provide an accurate diagnosis.

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Health Screening Schedules and Recommendations for Men 18-39

170083396Visits to the doctor should not be limited to the times when you are feeling unwell. Even if you feel fine, there could be an issue developing that you are not aware of. There are lots of diseases that don’t have noticeable symptoms until they are at an advanced stage and difficult to cure. Vigilance will enable you to catch them at an early stage for quick resolution. This is important at any age so even men in their prime between 18 and 39 years of age should consider it.

Blood Pressure Screening

Most people will be adequately covered by a blood pressure screening every two years. However, those who have a history of high readings or a chronic ailment should get theirs checked at least one every year. Look around for this service around your area so that you can drop by when it’s convenient. There are plenty of establishments offering this including pharmacies and other stores if you can’t go to a clinic. The nurse will give some advice after taking your vitals. A BP greater than 140/90 is unusually high and warrants an appointment with a doctor.

Cholesterol Screening

Heart diseases are responsible for millions of deaths every year. Be sure to prevent their development by getting screened for signs like cholesterol level at least once every five years, especially if you are a male above 34 years old. People who have diabetes have more difficulty controlling their cholesterol so they should get screen regularly from the age of 20. Kidney ailments and heart conditions may prompt your doctor to recommend more frequent tests. Ask their advice on when to get health screenings.

Diabetes Screening

Type 2 or adult-onset diabetes can happen to anyone, especially those who have a sedentary lifestyle and a high body mass index (BMI). Check your weight and height. Input these two variables in an online calculator to learn about your BMI. Individuals who exceed 25 are considered obese and have a high risk of developing diabetes. Get screened right away if you haven’t done so already.

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What To Expect From Dialysis


Dialysis is not a painful treatment, although the needles may hurt going in. If you experience significant pain from the needles, you may request numbing medicine to ease this pain. During hemodialysis the patient may experience painful muscle cramps. These cramps are usually brought on by gaining excess fluid weight between treatments. So it is important to limit the amount of fluid you take in daily as it can be dangerous to a person undergoing dialysis.

How Will I Feel After Dialysis?

This treatment is intended to make you feel better and enjoy a better quality of life. Many people feel better after a week, while for others it could take months and with a select few, the dialysis treatments may nit be helping at all. In this case, you would need to alert your care team and also inform them of all the uncomfortable symptoms you may be experiencing. In the beginning, your body will need time to adjust to the dialysis. This includes the treatment, medicines and routine as well. However, once you are undergoing regular dialysis and the the waste and excess fluid is being removed from your body, you should start to feel a noticeable difference in health. Dialysis will not make your health worse, under any circumstances.

What to Expect from Dialysis?

There are several ways to tell if you are receiving a good quality and enough dialysis treatment. The first sign is obviously feeling good, both physically and mentally. The second sign is having enough energy and motivation to do the things you want to do and lastly you will have a good appetite and also feel as though you don’t need another dialysis treatment, even when your next treatment is due.

If you are alternatively not receiving enough dialysis treatments, you may lose your appetite, feel tired all the time and have a yellowish tone in your skin. The taste of ammonia in your mouth is also another way that many people know that they are not getting better on dialysis. This either means that more treatments need to be scheduled or alternatively, more tests need to be done to determine what is hindering progress.

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