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What’s in a medical name?

The naming of diseases can sometimes bring up unexpected ethical issues There is a long tradition of naming diseases after the doctor or researcher who discovered them. The use of eponymous titles is a somewhat hallowed tradition in medicine, serving as a shorthand way of referring to complex syndromes. Quite often, the name associated with…

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Lost in translation

A note of caution on dipping your toe in the waters of Australian-English when Down Under In Canada, it’s possible to find a man lounging on a chesterfield in his rented bachelor wearing only his gotchies while fortifying his Molson muscle with a jambuster washed down with slugs from a stubby. This fine sentence is…

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Thwarting the next global health catastrophe

Would an empowered World Health Organisation help prevent future pandemics? Over 15 months after the Covid-19 pandemic began, the first review of how the world responded has just been published. There will be more local and regional reviews I have no doubt, but for now the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) response is the one under…

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How to cure cases of ‘Zoomitis’

Experts are starting to look at why video conferences leave us so fatigued and what we can do to improve the experience Has anyone else found Zoom meetings hard going? My longest regular meeting at present is two hours, but it is not uncommon for this to be bookended with two one-and-a-half hour calls. After…

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The ‘open notes’ revolution

While allowing patients to view their medical records is a move toward greater transparency, some doctors have concerns On 5 April the 21st Century Cures Act, which gives legal effect to ‘open notes’ in the US, came into effect. It states that patients must have fast, electronic access to consultations, discharge summaries, history, physical examination…

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What does the experience of Covid-19 have to teach us?

Being ready for the next pandemic goes beyond science and requires looking at societal issues One year on from the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, what have we learned? It would be easy to focus on the gloomy answer to this question. But before I do, let’s acknowledge some of the positive aspects of the…

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What will the new normality be after the lockdown era?

History has lessons to teach us about how societies respond in the wake of pandemics Lancet editor Richard Horton has described the UK’s Covid-19 lockdown as “the greatest imposition of restricted civil liberties ever seen in peacetime”. The seemingly never-ending tail to our own latest lockdown, with no loosening predicted until May at the earliest,…

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Cut out the jargon

Inappropriate medical jargon can adversely affect care and alienate patients In spite of our best efforts to ensure appropriate care for patients, we often find ourselves distracted by a sometimes bewildering array of jargon heard during handovers and clinical presentations. Is there a reason we frequently refer to the culinary arts and acts of violence…

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Dreamtime in Dromineer

Life during lockdown was strange and difficult, but there were good times too Did it really happen? Yes, there really was a padlock on the Dromineer playground. And yes, the gardaí were at the crossroads, stopping cars and sending people home. The ‘local police’ were out too, telling visitors they weren’t welcome. It was a…

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An evidence-base for e-consultations

More research is required before telemedicine becomes mainstream practice First of all, a confession: Bless me, for I have sinned. ‘What is Houston going to admit to’, you are wondering. Hopefully a scandal of tabloid proportions? Or maybe, after years of personal probity, the true nature of the man is about to be revealed? Well,…

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