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Trials of the pregnancy questionnaire

I’m sleeping like a baby after my portacath was removed, but the questions around pregnancy before the procedure were irritating For six years I haven’t been able to sleep on my right side. I didn’t think it mattered that much. I have a whole left side and a back to lie on, so wanting a…

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The State Epidemiologist who inspires tattoos

Is Sweden’s approach to Covid-19 a cautionary tale, or a realistic response in the absence of a vaccine? I doubt that even the most ardent fan of our Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr Tony Holohan, has his image tattooed on their arm. But given the chasm between his approach to Covid-19 and that of Swedish…

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Suspicious minds: How to react if a patient has been recording you without your knowledge

Mr Niall Rooney, Legal Counsel in Medisec, provides advice for medical practitioners on the growing issue of patients recording consultations Smartphones have been described as weapons of mass distraction. Whether you embrace the technology or regard our reliance on smartphones as an addiction, they are everywhere and are, undoubtedly, here to stay. You may even…

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The art of vaccination persuasion

Many anti-vaxxers are not set in their beliefs and are open to having their minds changed “Iam the second to last of 13 siblings, five of whom died of vaccine-preventable diseases in infancy. Born to poor immigrant parents, I remember well my mother’s account of the causes of their deaths. Three from pertussis and two…

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The improbable side of medical research

The connection between eyebrows and narcissism was just one example of the delightfully eccentric research highlighted at this year’s Ig Nobel awards One of my favourite events of the year is the annual Ig Nobel awards. Hosted by the journal Annals of Improbable Research, the Igs are an annual exercise in irreverence that celebrate scientific…

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Handling requests for children’s medical records

Dr Rachel Birch, Medico-legal Consultant at Medical Protection Society (MPS), advises on handling requests for children’s medical records and the disclosure of such records A father of two young patients aged 10 and 15 has asked for copies of his daughters’ medical records, stating that their mother won’t give him any information about their health…

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Let’s not rush to judgement and instead reflect on our own privilege

Instead of vilifying young people who breach physical distancing guidelines, we should focus on the social inequalities that are driving the spread of Covid-19 We read the recently published HSE Winter Plan in the knowledge that last year was the worst winter on record. Healthcare workers are looking to the Government more in hope than…

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The arts in medicine

The art of people with chronic diseases, such as epilepsy, can enhance our understanding of living with illness Let’s begin with an ending: “The art of persons with epilepsy helps us understand what it means to have epilepsy, providing windows into its complexity and comorbidities.” That is Steven C Schacter’s conclusion to his exploration of…

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Missing out on the beauty of life

I was made for the lockdown, if I had been locked down, that is How was the summer for you? Quiet? No, mine wasn’t. I’m a GP you see. Frontline without the backup, that’s us. If it was a film we would be in our far-flung outposts, dog tired and running out of ammunition, scanning…

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What we can learn from pandemics past

Some reactions to the Black Death were not dissimilar to how people are acting during Covid-19 As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, it is interesting to observe how people react differently to the threat. On the one hand, there are the diligent mask-wearers and social isolationists, who even after the initial lockdown phase have continued a…

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