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William Heisel's Antidote: Investigating Untold Health Stories

Doctors Behaving Badly: Dr. Peter Breen

Anesthesiologists everywhere cringed when they heard the news that Michael Jackson was found dead with a bag of propofol nearby.

The drug is too strong to be used as a sleep aid and deceptively simple to administer. Anesthesia drugs like propofol require constant monitoring, and Jackson, apparently, was
left unattended after receiving the drug.

Public Citizen data on hospital laggards deserves second look

Pia Christensen of the Association of Health Care Journalists responded to an earlier blog post that I had essentially ignored some good reporting on the Public Citizen report about how hospitals are failing in a very big way to report bad doctors to the National Practitioner Data Bank. She cited three stories, saying:

Q&A with Dr. John Dombrowski: Michael Jackson's bungled pain management may have killed him

Four days after Michael Jackson died of an unexpected heart attack on June 25, Dr. John Dombrowski,an anesthesiologist and pain management specialist, posted a letter on his Web site, demanding better pain management for all patients and a recognition that pain care is an important specialty.

Doctors Behaving Badly: Dr. Anand Dhanda

It sounds like a line a standup comic might use while flailing for a laugh: "What's a guy gotta do around here to get arrested? Steal somebody's kidney?"

If you are a doctor in a hospital in most of the United States, the answer is: yes.

To see Michael Jackson doctor's alleged slipup, look at the label

UPDATE: The Associated Press reported Monday afternoon that Dr. Conrad Murray gave Jackson propofol to help him sleep, and the dose proved to be lethal. Today, police and federal drug enforcement officials are reportedly searching Murray's Las Vegas home.

It is the most anticipated autopsy in modern history.

Q&A with Dr. Sidney Wolfe: Hospitals should cough up info about dangerous docs on staff

Dr. Sidney Wolfe, the acting president of Public Citizen and the head of its Health Research Group, is a guy you don't want to have as an opponent. He has an encyclopedic command of the facts and a delivery that manages to be both gracious and a little intimidating.

Doctors Behaving Badly: Dr. Bruce Anthony Ames, Jr.

Ask your doctors about the hardest period of their lives, and they likely will say their medical residency. The hours are long. The work is mentally and physically exhausting. There's little credit when you get something right. Getting something terribly wrong can send you packing.

Dr. Bruce Anthony Ames, Jr. (Oregon License No. 23261, California 97046) found a hobby, of sorts, to relieve his stress.

Hospitals Leave National Practitioner Data Bank Dangerously Short on Data

Public Citizen put together an important report in May that was mostly missed by the press (including me).

It's a comprehensive and critical investigation of The National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), created by the Health Care Quality Improvement Act 19 years ago, ostensibly to protect patients from rogue doctors.

Doctors Behaving Badly: Dr. Alexander Kalk

To be generous, we could say that Dr. Alexander Kalk of Creve Coeur, Mo. was a workaholic.

He literally lived in his medical office, according to the medical board in Missouri, and was so busy, apparently, that he did not have time to change his clothes or take a shower.

Walking around in the same clothes day after day might make a guy irritable. So perhaps it's understandable that he took to berating his employees and sending threatening messages to a medical billing company.

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Reporting on Health invites fellows and friends who are attending the AHCJ conference  to join us for drinks and appetizers from 6:30-8 p.m. April 24 at Pedro's Restaurant  & Cantina, 3935 Freedom Circle, Santa Clara.  We'll buy a drink for the first 30 folks who arrive and provide appetizers for all. RSVP here.

Since the passage of the ACA, hospital consolidation has dramatically increased. Our webinar will give an overview of this trend, clarify what’s at stake for consumers, and give journalists fresh ideas for reporting in new, incisive ways. Our panel will include experts Martin Gaynor and Paul Ginsburg, as well as NYT’s Margot Sanger-Katz. More info here.

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