In search of medical blogs/articles
March 24, 2009 12:14 PM   Subscribe

Tell me all about your favorite intelligent professional or casual medical blogs/articles somewhat in the vein of Atul Gawande.

I am an intensive care nurse with a hankering for "war stories" told by doctors and nurses (and I'm open to other professions like RTs and PTs) dealing with exceptional, emotional, notable etc cases. I love reading all of Atul Gawande's New Yorker articles and books. I just finished reading the entire back-catalog of Vital Signs in Discover Magazine. I love watching House, MD on TV, but I live for the deconstruction done by Polite Dissent's resident doctor.

I prefer longer pieces with details that go beyond a layman's understanding of medicine. Vital Signs and Gawande's writing tends to 'dumb it down' more than I find necessary but I'll accept that if it's a good article. I prefer Emergency and Intensive Care type situations but I'll settle for anything else so long as it is interesting. Any topic within medicine is game (ethics, patient relations, medical staff interactions....). My goal is to learn more about all aspects of medicine from multiple perspectives.

posted by nursegracer to Health & Fitness (17 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: They're not blogs, but these books have fulfilled a similar niche for me:
How We Die by Sherwin B. Nuland
The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat by Oliver Sacks (focus on brain troubles)
Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder (focus on work in developing countries, how worldwide policy affects health care, and how dedication to the cause can influence a provider's social life)
I've also heard really good things about Reflections on Doctors: Nurses' Stories About Physicians and Surgeons, but I haven't read it yet.

I, too, have looked for the kind of blogs you asked about, without much luck. I wonder if perhaps HIPAA makes it too dangerous to share stories in such a casual format, without publishers and their lawyers to make sure the details are sufficiently changed and whatnot.
posted by vytae at 12:51 PM on March 24, 2009

This might be too low level for you, but I like Lisa Sander's Diagnosis column in the NYT Magazine (one of the few things I like in that magazine most weeks). She follows the process of diagnosing & resolving some quirky case each week. They're short, but interesting.
posted by yarrow at 1:26 PM on March 24, 2009

Can't help much either but Mountains Beyond Mountains is a borderline insanely good book.

Oh another totally insanely good book, which is not significantly dumbed down is The Spirit Catches you and You Fall Down. OMG so good.
posted by sully75 at 1:49 PM on March 24, 2009

She doesn't do as many "war stories" as such. But I've found Danielle's blog 6YearMed to be profoundly affecting. She started it in her last year of medical school, and now she is a pediatrician -- and a HELL of a great writer.

Sometimes my heart breaks for her because it sounds like she's going through a first-year-of-your-practice "holy mother of GOD there's just so much to do and I can do so little" crisis of faith, but -- sweet God is she an amazing writer.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:51 PM on March 24, 2009

I saw this the other day though, it might have some leads:
posted by sully75 at 1:54 PM on March 24, 2009

Best answer: I love Trauma Queen, a blog from an Ambulance Technician in Edinburgh. He has a mix of funny and really moving stories and is, in my opinion, an excellent writer. These are some of his favourite posts.

(If you visit the site, note that he's off on a trip this week and has guest writers covering the blog - this isn't the normal state of affairs. Just scroll down a bit to get to Kal's stuff.)
posted by badmoonrising at 3:11 PM on March 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

Ugh! I hate Atul Gawande's books. He seems so . . . smug. I just can't get into it.

Thumbs up on Oliver Sacks, though. The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat is awesome.

I read more books than articles, but some of my favorites in that genre have been Another Day in the Frontal Lobe (a female neurosurgeon) and Hot Lights, Cold Steel (a resident's first year in ortho at Mayo.) Happy reading!
posted by lblair at 5:01 PM on March 24, 2009

2nding Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. Read it about 14 yrs. ago after another RN recommended it to me.
posted by 6:1 at 7:05 PM on March 24, 2009

Response by poster: Great suggestions so far. I'm looking forward to some interesting reading in the next few months.

Seeing all these responses made me realize that I would gladly accept some book recommendations. I've read a bunch of them (Spirit Catches You-sophomore nursing required text) but I'm always open to new ones.

lblair- Totally agree that Gawande is a smug writer, but I crave the stories anyhow. Occasionally he does show a smidgen of humility.
posted by nursegracer at 8:37 PM on March 24, 2009

The New Yorker's Annals of Medicine is insanely interesting. I think you have to be a subscriber to read some of the back issue articles but a few are available online.

I believe the article "The Itch" was one I read on MeFi that got me hooked.
posted by radioamy at 9:26 PM on March 24, 2009

Response by poster: Officially addicted to Trauma Queen. Thanks!
posted by nursegracer at 3:05 AM on March 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Oh check this out:

Website is wonky but they do a podcast and it's aimed at student MDs. It's sort of hokey, but funny and entertaining. I'd give it a shot. I like it quite a bit. They did a pretty level headed, balanced series on alternative medicines that was really interesting and thought provoking. The guy does a pretty reasonable Borat impression. I suppose you'd have to listen to understand what I'm talking about.
posted by sully75 at 7:09 AM on March 25, 2009

My similar question

I read the Pauline Chen book, it was quite interesting.
posted by sully75 at 7:13 AM on March 25, 2009

thank you for asking this question!
Similar to Trauma Queen is one written by a London ambulance driver that I'm hooked on.
posted by Wilder at 8:02 AM on March 25, 2009

and another in the UK. A Rapid response doc's blog.
posted by Wilder at 8:15 AM on March 25, 2009

Blogborygmi hosts the calendar for Grand Rounds, a weekly medical blog round-up which rotates through the hands of a number of different people. Some of the bloggers there have the kind of writing that you seek. Patients, EMTs, nurses, social workers, physicians, healthcare administrators, and other allied health professionals all participate.
posted by NucleophilicAttack at 2:04 PM on March 25, 2009

Response by poster: I found another one, in case people are still following this thread:

Your ER Doc

Found via a link off Trauma Queen. Also checking out a nurse's blog.

I'm in such bliss right now. Thank you all for making me blissful.
posted by nursegracer at 2:24 PM on March 26, 2009

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