In Honour of Family Medicine

Today I leave for a two week family medicine rotation in a small rural town in the Western Cape.

This year, family medicine will supposedly be a lot more fun than in third year. Calls will be a mish-mash of every rotation. Lady in labour? We catch it (yay!). Stitches, we do it (uh-oh…).

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First Psych Consult

At a recent community volunteer clinic, I had my first proper psych patient. I have dealt before with suicide attempts, but those were unconscious patients in casualty and thus did not present the opportunity for a consultation.

This patient came for help herself – something I though was a good sign. Her affect was blunted and she was clearly depressed. There was a positive history too.

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We See a Light

As part of Infectious Diseases, we must learn about Syndromic Management. It is not the best approach for a qualified doctor, but it is important to understand – especially in a primary health care setup.

During one of these tutorials, the doctor in charge made us close our books and asked us about our approaches to the full waiting room and the possibly accute patient.

We answered well.

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Antibiotics: So Now What?

Reuters reports that antibiotics are not useful for most sinus infections. Excessive prescription of antibiotics has lead to large-scale resistant organisms.

Okay, this I know.

But now what? Antibiotics make patients feel better. A frequent sufferer of sinusitis, I know this. So now my patients walk away from a consultation feeling that their doctor doesn’t care about their suffering. I don’t see many doctors being happy with that.

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Le Document Pour MB.ChB.III

The inspiration for this document came during my second year while studying for an end-of-block test. At the same time, the then-first years were studying for Pathology, aided by “Le Document”. Somewhere in this time period I looked at a fellow second year, threw my hands in the air rather dramatically and exclaimed,

“I wish I had a Le Document for Second Year!”

Le Document pour MB.ChB.II can be found here. It focussed mostly on holistic wellness during a tough theoretical year. Third year is a whole new ballgame, with students finally set wild in the clinical environment. Theory modules are unfortunately still a reality and at my school, third years are haunted by Neurosciences and Musculoskeletal System.

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Grouchy Smurf is Grumpy: On Globally Relevant Research

I’m a bit of a Grinch. Or a grump, or maybe just a cynic.

Anyway, I read this article about how poor dental health can lead to pneumonia, therefore you must brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day. The research was done by the Yale University School of Medicine, so I don’t for a moment doubt its legitimacy. They were also open-minded enough to mention that the precise relationship between oral bacteria and pneumonia must still be determined.

However, I fail to see the importance of such research in the context of health in the 21st century.

The countries where the general standard of living is high enough to worry about regular teeth brushing also happen to be the countries where health care is of such quality that pneumonia need no longer be a death sentence.

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So what did you do for Mandela Day?

Tata Madiba turns 93 years old today. In honour of the many years he spent in service of South Africa and in fact all of humanity, 18 July is “Mandela Monday”. Citizens are asked to spend 67 minutes in service of their community – one minute for every year that Nelson Mandela worked for freedom, peace and equality.

Living in South Africa there has naturally been hype about this for some time and I have been mulling over the idea incessantly.

One question I have asked is, “Should doctors and nurses and social workers (etc) feel obliged to participate?”

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