Grand Rounds Vol. 5 No. 13

Grand Rounds Vol. 5 No. 13: The Best of 2008

It’s the time of year when the “Best of ” lists start popping up everywhere. As a writer, I pay the most attention to the holiday book lists and that is where I got the inspiration for this edition’s theme. Quality writing is a gift to everyone who reads it, so I challenged the medical blogosphere to send me the best writing of the year–the funniest, most poignant, most controversial, etc. What follows are the Best Posts of 2008, as selected by each of the 49 bloggers who submitted to this week’s Rounds.

(*= Editor’s Choice. Think of these posts as the best of the “Best Of…”)

Best of Health Practice
The way doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals interact with patients and with each other, the way our bodies interact with the environment around us, the way the health care system interacts with emerging technology—these are just some of the topics covered in the Health Practice category. There was a lot of wisdom passed around in 2008.

*Kim at Emergiblog offers a post on empathy she is particularly proud of—and once I read it, I could see why. A must-read, indeed.

*Doc Gurley chose “How To Break Bad News,” thinking its message would appeal to new readers. I have to agree, and I’ll add that its content is important for everyone.

*The Happy Hospitalist describes what a real life Code Blue resuscitation is like in “Don’t You Dare Touch Me.” When you read it, you’ll understand why.

Canadian Medicine is most proud of this post about the dangers of anonymous blogging. It’s an extremely relevant topic for everyone involved in medical blogging, and a great treatment of it.

Notes of Anesthesioboist discusses Code Indigo. Not sure what that means? Be sure to read this powerful post.

Medicine for the Outdoors considers this post on the environment to be the most important subject matter covered on his blog all year. His explanation of why is thoughtful and detailed.

Other Things Amanzi describes a textbook case that is anything but usual.

Clinical Cases and Images Blog asks, “How Should Hospitals Use Twitter?” It’s a good question, so make sure you catch up on the conversation.

Allergy Notes continues with the theme of Twitter as quite the hot topic in 2008 in the post Allergy and Immunology Journal Club on Twitter.

Dr. Shock ponders if psychiatrists should wear white coats. According to one study, 96% percent of patients preferred their psychiatrist sans white coats. Do you agree?

Sharp Brains sends along “Art Kramer on Why We Need Walking Book Clubs,” where they discuss how emerging brain research areas are going to have a major impact on our lives in the next 5-10 years.

Teen Health 411 suggests a recent post about developmental assets and teens, calling it “the closest thing to a guidebook for conscious parenting I have ever seen.”

Receiving shares an interview with Dr. Lewis Goldfrank, a world-renowned emergency physician and toxicologist who is dedicated to social justice and human rights.

The Angry Medic learns from a patient that really, some wounds never heal.

Neuroanthropology writes about
Our Blessed Lady of the Cerebellum, a compelling story of personal, medical, and political drama.

Dethmama Chronicles offers the story of a daughter’s last act of love and respect for her mother in “Joie de Vivre et Madame M.”

Leslie at Getting Closer to Myself explores the emotional impact of chronic illness and questions the concept of “First Do No Harm.”

Lyrehca at Managing the Sweetness Within deals with the best way to treat insulin reactions. She’s a diabetes veteran, so she would know.

Aequanimitas discusses the unique qualities of elite alpinists in “Achieving Impossible Heights.” Check out what it takes for yourself.

ACP Internist tells us that alternative medicine use holds steady at more than 1 in 3 Americans. This post follows up a topic that is occurring more and more frequently in the communication from patient to doctor.

Laika’s MedLibLog describes the difficult concept of randomized controlled trials in an easy to understand manner.

The Fitness Fixer offers innovation in abdominal muscles, saying this post was one that directly quickly stopped the source of chronic back pain for many people who wrongly thought they had to tighten or strengthen abs to stop back pain.

Best of Health Policy
As you know, 2008 was a busy year in the world of health care policy—the recent presidential campaign certainly added more urgency to important conversations about health care reform, health insurance, and other issues surrounding health care delivery.

*Mind, Soul, and Body writes an impassioned response to where the path of blaming patients for their illness will always lead in “Those People.”

*Mike Feehan at InsureBlog thinks many people mix up health care and health insurance—and he’s here to set the record straight. (I love a good semantics discussion…)

David Harlow of HealthBlawg tells us that
ambulance diversions will soon be banned in MA and explains how overcrowding factors into this decision. Be sure to read miss his interesting interview with Alasdair Conn, MD, Chief of Emergency Services at Massachusetts General Hospital.

David E. Williams of Health Business Blog asks an important question to think about as we move forward: Generic Biologics –or Me Too Drugs 2.0?

Duncan Cross has a decisive answer for why health insurance is tied to jobs.

Survive the Journey shares some good ideas on how to address the primary care physician shortage in “Dear Doctor, I Can Help.”

Louise at Colorado Health Insurance Insider stirs up some dialogue when writing about the affordability of health insurance.

Best of Health Humor
Even weighty topics warrant a good dose of humor, and I’m pleased to see a little snark, some (not so) subtle sarcasm, and the occasional silly story come through in 2008.

*Barbara K at In Sickness and In Health likes the idea of starting the year with a laugh and offers “A Conversation Overheard in a Waiting Room.” Since I live in the Boston area, I could really relate.

How To Cope With Pain takes a break from more serious topics in chronic management and gives us a
humorous look at invisible illness
courtesy of “I Can Haz Cheezburger” photos.

*The Week is used to medical school rejections, but one in particular came from Drexel many weeks into the academic school year: “As if I was on the edge of my seat thinking they would accept me after classes began!”

At Sutures for a Living we hear what it’s like to have “one of those days” in the post “Mama said there’d be days like this.”

Dr. Val offers some Christmas humor in “The Christmas Miracle.”

Shrink Rap keeps up with the holiday theme, offering an edgy piece about gifts.

Dean Moyer of The Back Pain Blog offers some tips for avoiding injury in
Back Pain and Anger
. And for what it’s worth, kicking a fire hydrant isn’t one of them.

Covert Rationing Blog sends along
“How To Think About the Obesity Dividend,” saying that “my usual ironic voice was misinterpreted here by more than a few. While it is probably a sign of my own pathology, I always enjoy it when that happens.”

Best of Health Inspiration
Attitude is an important part of living with medical conditions, and the following posts offer insights and experiences that uplift, entertain, or motivate.

*Rosalind Joffe at Working With Chronic Illness thinks fighting illness is the wrong approach. Check out her reasons why.

*Kerri at Six Until Me writes about her wedding day, the best thing that happened to her in 2008. It’s written “with love in mind and with diabetes in mind.”

Jenni at ChronicBabe says she wants to be a turtle, which she calls “the concept of carrying your positive self everywhere with you; the times when things are hardest and you just want to pull your head inside your shell; and the benefit of going slow and steady – pacing yourself.”

Adventures of a Funky Heart! says you can’t help but getting “fired up” about all the things that are coming in the Congenital Heart Health field when you sit down and talk with Amy Verstappen, President of the Adult Congenital Heart Association.

Rachel at Rachel’s Diabetes Tales is getting back into the exercise groove a few weeks early. Who needs to wait for New Year’s resolutions?

Chocolate, Music and Hope offers “Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: Learning to Accept Disability,” saying it is “the most meaningful post I have written to me because it really marks how far I have come in learning to accept my disability…”

In “All Souls,” Writing and Healing responds to a patient’s death and learns firsthand how reflective writing can bring clarity, release and a profound gratitude for simply knowing the patient.

Day of the Doc remembers all the veterans in our country and poses a heartfelt and educational discussion of PTSD.

Lastly, Emerald Arts gives us inspiration of the visual persuasion. Check out her post in photos chronicling a day at the beach.

Best of Health Debut
Since 2008 was my debut year as well, I can relate to what it feels like to put yourself out there for the first time. The bloggers who sent the following posts have never submitted to Grand Rounds before, but took the plunge and shared their estimation of 2008’s best posts. Welcome!

Genevieve at Spit Happens has a rare form of cystic fibrosis coupled with bronchiectasis (a girl after my own heart with those diagnoses). In this post on chronic illness and relationships, she discusses the downside of being a passionate fighter—and no, she’s not crazy.

Living in the Midwest knows the low point chronic illnesses can bring a patient to—and wants to confront it directly and honestly.

My Journey from Nurse to Doctorshares what happens when a mentor is anything but in “How Things Change.”

Thank you to everyone who submitted posts and made the Best of 2008 possible. Highlight Health will host next week’s edition.

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