Top health care priority should be holding down costs – Commercial Appeal

For me, the saddest part of the 2016 presidential election is not that we have two of the most disliked presidential candidates in history but that so little attention is being paid to health care.

You may have noticed that health care rarely comes up in campaign speeches or in debates, and when it does it’s often scripted empty promises. Donald Trump has a plan entitled “Healthcare Reform to Make America Great Again.” Hillary Clinton talks about having fought for health care her entire career. It’s unclear if either of them — or indeed any candidate — can make a meaningful change.

Donald Trump talks about repealing the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) and replacing it with “something terrific.” That “terrific” is vague or a secret plan — maybe similar to the secret plan to defeat ISIS. Hillary Clinton talks about “universal, quality, affordable health care” by building on the ACA, but is vague about how she would persuade a Republican-controlled Congress to support her.

To set the record straight, the two candidates were invited by the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, for this week’s edition, to provide their visions of health care in America. Hillary Clinton presented a four-point plan, and Donald Trump did not respond.

Clinton would improve the ACA, make health care more affordable, integrate health care, and secure true innovation. The Clinton plan would provide $5,000 tax credits per family for out-of-pocket costs. Additionally, it would limit out-of-pocket prescription drug costs to $250 a month.

According to his website, Donald Trump’s plan is to repeal the ACA, allow people to purchase insurance across state lines, and provide states with block grants for Medicaid, among other provisions. Trump’s plan would leave 18 million Americans, presently covered under the ACA, without health insurance, eliminate preexisting conditions requirement for insurance and not allow young adults up to age 26 to be covered on their parent’s insurance policy.

Experts say allowing insurers to sell across state lines will have little impact, and that block grants for Medicaid, a long-held position by the Republican party, would cap some Medicaid costs.

Something both candidates agree on is allowing Medicare to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies in order to lower drug prices and prevent price gouging — as we have seen from the manufacturer of EpiPen.

Sadly, neither plan, Republican nor Democratic, meaningfully addresses the ticking time bomb for the nation: the rising cost of health care, due in part to overuse and unnecessary care. Repealing the ACA would do nothing to bring costs down — in fact, according to factcheck.org, during 2002 to 2006 under George W. Bush, health care premiums rose at a higher rate (58 percent) compared to the increase under Obama (33 percent), with the ACA in effect.

Addressing health care costs must be the No. 1 health care priority for the next president. The two plans at present are much like moving deck chairs on the Titanic.

America spends nearly a fifth of its GDP on health care, in effect siphoning money from needs such as education such as infrastructure. High employee insurance costs also limit American companies’ ability to expand. The cost to taxpayers for treating a 95-year-old nursing home patient with dementia on the ventilator in the ICU for over a week exceeds the cost of a teacher’s one-year salary. Yet we can’t seem to see this as a priority for society or the government.

Reforming health care takes political capital — and at times angering the voter base. More so, too many vested interests have their hands in the $3 trillion ($9,523 per person) health care cookie jar. No matter who wins, the public will need to push for continued reform of our health care system. This is the only way real change will happen.

Source : Commercial Appeal

Presidential candidates’ medical histories not worth hoopla – Commercial Appeal

When you are 70 years old, you are bound to have some medical problems, so I am not sure why the media and the public are making a hoopla about the medical histories of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. For an elderly patient, my usual medical … [Continue reading]

Doctors must play a role in curbing opiod addiction – Commercial Appeal

Last week, thousands of my physician colleagues and I received a letter from the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy. He asked us to change our behavior in prescribing pain medicines. Around the same time, I was seeing a middle-aged man who had … [Continue reading]

Manoj Jain Interview On NPR About Zika

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Dr. Manoj Jain: Travel advisory illustrates danger of Zika virus – Commercial Appeal

For this week's column, I had been writing about the health care reform plans of the presidential nominees until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared a "travel advisory" to the Miami Beach area due to Zika virus. … [Continue reading]

Brain scan data can predict political affiliation – Commercial Appeal

Over the past two weeks, I, like millions of Americans, watched the Republican and Democratic national conventions. As politicians, celebrities and ordinary people made compelling arguments to vote for their candidate, I felt like a ping-pong ball … [Continue reading]

Let’s start treating gun violence like the epidemic it is – Commercial Appeal

A recent Time magazine article suggesting that we should treat "gun violence as a disease" rather than just as a crime got me thinking. I vividly recall the debate several decades ago when alcoholism was suggested to be a disease and not just a … [Continue reading]

Yoga continues to surprise with potential health benefits – Commercial Appeal

I began one of the longest days of the year with a sun salutation — a mountain pose, the lunge, the downward dog, the plank pose, baby cobra, child's pose, powerful pose (essentially a squat) and back -to-the-mountain pose. June 21, the day close to … [Continue reading]

Research suggests Tylenol can dampen emotional as well as physical pain – commercial appeal

Last week, when I stubbed my toe on our family room coffee table, a throbbing pain ensued. Over the next two to three days, as the bruise turned pink and then purple, the pain persisted. During the same time, I had a case of the blues. I am … [Continue reading]

Mississippi leads nation in measles vaccination rate – Commercial Appeal

Mississippi ranks 50th in the nation in infant mortality, 50th in physical activity, 50th in heart disease deaths and 49th in overall health. We in Tennessee rank only slightly better, prompting one of my public health colleagues to remark, "Thank … [Continue reading]

A peek behind the curtain into Lashondia Palmer’s journey from acute illness to health – Commercial Appeal

When I first saw Lashondia Palmer, 41, in Baptist Memorial Hospital's intensive care unit, she looked as if she were in a torture chamber. On a special bed rotated at 180 degrees, she was facing the floor, with a dozen black belts and blue pads … [Continue reading]

Measles outbreak shows consequences of vaccination myths – Commercial Appeal

Last week, Stephanie Morris, a nurse in the intensive care unit, stopped me. In the hospital, Stephanie cares for the sickest of sick patients, but at home she cares for her two children, ages 8 months and 2 years. And with the outbreak of measles, … [Continue reading]

Beware sexual transmission of Zika virus – Commercial Appeal

Some years ago, when a biologist studying mosquito-borne viral illnesses returned from abroad to his home in Colorado, he became ill with fever, rash, joint pain and body ache. Soon his wife, too, became ill with similar symptoms. The children … [Continue reading]

Understanding root causes is first step in confronting violence – Commercial Appeal

At a time when our lives are filled with news of violence, it seems appropriate to talk about peace. With the attacks in Paris, San Bernardino and Brussels fresh in our memory, with Sandy Hook, Charleston and the Wisconsin Temple shooting not yet … [Continue reading]

Quest for meaning makes satisfying midlife – Commercial Appeal

When he turned 45, Mitch Alsup bought a red Corvette. Mitch is a quick-talking guy with dirty blonde hair and a short, trim physique. He has a ready smile and is willing to share his story. "As a kid, I use to go down to the Chevrolet dealership … [Continue reading]

Let’s all do our part to reduce food waste – Commercial Appeal

I am about to place my plate in the sink, until I see a single pea left on my plate. I recall a recent article in National Geographic that stated that one-third of all the food we produce is wasted. I have a Zen moment, and think of the journey the … [Continue reading]

Yes, we can teach greater compassion – Commercial Appeal

Last week, an old friend of mine, Arun Gandhi, came to Memphis to speak at Rhodes College on "Conscious Compassion and Commitment — Ingredients of a Peaceful Society." Arun is well suited for this: He is the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, the mentor to … [Continue reading]

What we need to know about the Zika virus – Commercial Appeal

Every few years it seems a new virus captures the public's attention. Over a decade ago, it was SARS, which had people in Hong Kong wearing masks, then it was avian flu, then H1N1, then the West Nile virus, and then Ebola, and now it is Zika. We … [Continue reading]

Air quality in New Delhi sounds warning for Memphis’ future – Commercial Appeal

It's Jan. 1, 2016, and I just landed in New Delhi, India, for a medical conference. The city of 16 million, like any other city, has large factories, miles of concrete structures, traffic gridlock and millions of cars spewing pollution. And today, … [Continue reading]

Pharmaceutical market puts profits above all – Commercial Appeal

A grandmother develops a boil which turns out to be a difficult-to-treat staph infection (MRSA). She needs high-powered antibiotics. A middle-aged man who received a blood transfusion decades ago now has hepatitis C and needs anti-viral medicine. A … [Continue reading]

Carter sets humble example with Habitat for Humanity work – Commercial Appeal

Last month, a house was being built in the Uptown neighborhood — not by construction workers, but by the former president of the United States, Jimmy Carter; the future Mayor of Memphis, Jim Strickland; and dozens of other volunteers. The volunteers, … [Continue reading]

Research shows that processed and red meats increase risk of cancer – Commercial Appeal

I am standing in line at the lunch buffet at my hospital and I have an option: a red meat steak entree or an eggplant parmesan. If each day I choose the red meat or a processed meat entree, I increase my chance of colorectal cancer by almost 20 … [Continue reading]

A doctor puts his mind to mindfulness

A few summers ago during a week-long vacation, I started playing a mind game. In the mornings, I would sit outside on a comfortable deck chair, surrounded by the shrill call of cicadas, and gaze across the lawn into the trees. After getting settled, … [Continue reading]

Super sweet soda is way too accessible – Commercial Appeal

I am standing at the kitchen counter and conducting a simple demonstration. In a tall glass of carbonated water, I begin to add teaspoons of sugar. I put in one and then two teaspoons (this is what I add to my tea or coffee). Then I add three and … [Continue reading]

Teenage years marked by changing brains, bodies – Commercial Appeal

Pencil marks dot up the white door frame of my 16-year-old son's room. The highest is at 5-feet-8 inches, and it reads "Dad." Just last month one evening, my son stood tall against the door frame, and I reached above my shoulder. We posted it … [Continue reading]

On International Peace Day, commit to nonviolence in your own life – Commercial Appeal

nonviolence

On International Peace Day, commit to nonviolence in your own life For years, I had driven by it, admiring the architecture, but I had never visited it until this summer. The building, one of the newest and most beautiful in Washington, D.C, is on … [Continue reading]

We Have More in Common Than in Conflict: Reflections for International Day of Peace – Huffington Post

For years, I had driven by it, admiring the architecture, but I had never visited it until this summer. The building, one of the newest and most beautiful in Washington DC, is on Constitution Avenue near the Lincoln and the Vietnam Veterans … [Continue reading]

Santhara — Jain Way of Death with Equanimity – Huffington Post

Last month, a deeply religious man in India ended his life in a way that has been practiced for millennia by devout members of the Jain religion. His death made headlines when a state court in Rajasthan declared the practice, known as Santhara, … [Continue reading]

Coordinated Care Can Reduce the Spread of Resistant Infections – Huffington Post

It was a week into my elderly patient's hospital admission when he began to have fever and profuse diarrhea, some 10-12 bowel movement a day. The diagnosis was not hard to make: a stool test showed he had C difficile. Another patient, a thin women … [Continue reading]

The benefits of meditation – Commerical Appeal

This summer’s Disney-Pixar movie “Inside Out” makes us think about our thinking. But, I wonder, first of all, “can we even think about our thoughts?” In fact, over the summer with campers at Lausanne Collegiate School, from junior kindergarten to … [Continue reading]

His wife is ill. He’s a doctor. Isn’t he supposed to know what to do? – Washington Post

Two weeks after my wife has a hysterectomy, she begins experiencing fevers that rise and spike each evening: 99.2, then 100.7, then 101.5. I am an infectious-disease doctor and a consultant for Medicare. And I am puzzled and a bit frightened. “What … [Continue reading]

Facing consequences can help change harmful behaviors – Commercial Appeal

Sitting across the desk at the car dealership, Steven Ethridge, a soft-spoken salesman, was copying down the VIN number of our newly purchased van. “Last year, I couldn’t read the numbers,” he casually remarked. As a doctor, I was curious why a … [Continue reading]

Rising Insurance Premiums and the Future Costs to Health Care – Huffington Post

o-DOCTOR-WAIT-TIME-facebook

Recently, health insurance companies across the nation have petitioned to increase premium rates for customers covered under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In North Carolina, Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) has proposed a 25.7 percent raise in … [Continue reading]

Making sense of 36% Blue Cross premium increase – Commercial Appeal

This week, when I read the headlines “Blue Cross proposes premium increases,” I cringed. Health care premiums are a significant burden on many American families, averaging about $1,000 a month, not counting thousands of dollars people pay in … [Continue reading]

A Doctor’s Experience in the Nepal Earthquake – Huffington Post

The morning after his brother's bachelor party, standing on the fourth floor of his family home, Dr. Arvind Goel, felt the ground move under his feet. "First it was minor vibrations and then it built up in a crescendo and then the couch where my four … [Continue reading]

National Nurses Week honors essential partners in patient care – Commercial Appeal

Some years ago, when my father underwent bypass surgery, he was anxious, depressed and in pain as he lay in the hospital bed tied to IV catheters and tubes. Each day, his surgeon, his hospitalist, and other consultant doctors whisked in and out, … [Continue reading]

Gender pay gap persists especially in health care professions – Commercial Appeal

Last Tuesday evening after dinner, with a cup of tea in hand, I read a newspaper column titled, “Women still earn a lot less than men.” This prompted me to ask my wife, “Do you think this is really true?” Then, I editorialized, “But it can’t be true … [Continue reading]

2015 Gandhi-King Conference to explore stubborn racial disparities – Commercial Appeal

gandhi-king-conference-2015

When I walk into an exam room and my patient is black, do I treat him differently than if he were white? I may say “no”, but the data say “yes.” When I walk into an exam room and I see a patient who has no health insurance, do I treat her … [Continue reading]

Meditation a useful technique for achieving mindfulness – Commercial Appeal

We sit in a conference room on red swivel chairs, quiet, motionless, eyes closed. We turn off our senses just like we turn down the house lights, switch off the television, and close the garage door at the end of the day. We become numb and detached … [Continue reading]

What’s in an itch? – Commercial Appeal

What’s in an itch? Walking out of a patient’s room, I develop an itch. An itch around my neck, on my forehead, and in the middle of my back. I cannot help but scratch and feel some relief. My patient, a thin woman in her 50s, who works in a day … [Continue reading]

A Snow Day Reflection – Huffington Post

This week, I was going to write my usual health column, but then I decided to take a "snow day." Yet, soon, I realized that the snow and ice we have experienced was not hindering the path from my bedroom to the computer room, nor was the snow … [Continue reading]

Sometimes deep-seated beliefs impervious to contrary evidence – Commercial Appeal

Last week, when my beloved New England Patriots won the Super Bowl, barely any friends shared my joy. Even my wife, a New York Giants fan, retorted with “The Patriots are a bunch of cheaters,” referring not so subtly to the deflated football … [Continue reading]

Healthy Memphis: Huddle isn’t just for football – Commercial Appeal

Last week, we were awestruck watching the last three minutes of the NFL’s National Football Conference championship game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Green Bay Packers. My 15-year-old son and I watched Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson … [Continue reading]

New England Patriots Had a Safer Option in the Last Seconds of Playoff Game – Huffington Post

Co-authored by Rishab Jain As lifelong New England Patriots fans, we stood with bated breath in the last four seconds of this past Saturday's AFC Divisional Round playoff game against the Ravens, as Joe Flacco heaved up a Hail Mary that was, … [Continue reading]

Healthy Memphis: Taking stairs means giant step toward better living – Commercial Appeal

On the first of the year, while making my rounds at the hospital, I did something I hope to continue: I took the stairs. My action was prompted by something that had happened a few days earlier. I had “sticker shock” when I stepped on my bathroom … [Continue reading]

Healthy Memphis: Finding hope and happiness this holiday season – Commercial Appeal

My wife loves to watch holiday movies. Each Christmas season she watches James Stewart’s 1946 movie “It’s A Wonderful Life.” “Every year, everyone should watch ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ and ‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,’” she insists. She watches them … [Continue reading]

A kiss is not just a kiss: biology vs. psychology – The Tennessean

A group of researchers looked at the oral bacterial flora of 21 couples to determine how many bacteria were transferred by a kiss.

This year, we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. So, last week, one evening, I told my wife about a news story I heard on National Public Radio (NPR) about the microbiology of a kiss. My wife smiled. A group of researchers, I said, looked at … [Continue reading]

Healthy Memphis: The scientifically sound benefits of kissing – Commercial Appeal

This year we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. So one evening last week I told my wife about a news story I'd heard on National Public Radio (NPR) about the microbiology of a kiss. My wife smiled. A group of researchers, I said, looked at the … [Continue reading]

Healthy Memphis: Local Rotary contributes to global TB battle – Commercial Appeal

As I write this, I am on a flight back from India after a weeklong medical mission trip for a Rotary Club Global Grant on the elimination of tuberculosis (TB). In America, we don’t worry about TB because it is one of our many medical success stories, … [Continue reading]

Rethinking the 21-Day Quarantine for Ebola Contacts – Huffington Post

Contact Dr. Manoj Jain (mkjain@aol.com / 901-681-0778) A few weeks ago an emergency room doctor called our infectious disease physician group concerning a patient who had returned from Liberia and was having nausea and vomiting. Several of the … [Continue reading]

Are Local Hospitals Prepared for Ebola? – Huffington Post

Contact Dr. Manoj Jain (mkjain@aol.com / 901-681-0778) Two weeks ago at our community hospital, after we concluded a nearly two-hour standing room only Ebola preparedness meeting, I practiced donning and doffing the personal protective equipment … [Continue reading]

Healthy Memphis: Donate to combat Ebola – Commercial Appeal

Last week, I casually mentioned to my wife, “I spoke with volunteers at Doctors Without Borders today, and they need help.” This was before the first case of Ebola was diagnosed on U.S. soil. Doctors Without Borders is a nonprofit organization … [Continue reading]

To Stop Ebola Here, We Must Stop It There – Huffington Post

Last week, after dinner, as I was rinsing the dishes, I casually mentioned to my wife, "I spoke with the volunteers at Doctors Without Borders today, and they need help." This was before the first case of Ebola was diagnosed on U.S. soil. A pregnant … [Continue reading]

Panhandlers shouldn’t exploit illnesses – Commercial Appeal

t’s nearly 100 degrees in the mid-August Memphis sun. At the side of the exit ramp to Winchester Road from Bill Morris Parkway East, a middle-aged man sits on a bucket. He is wearing a clean white T-shirt, gray shorts and a faded orange cap partially … [Continue reading]

Unpleasant, but necessary, 50th birthday present – Commercial Appeal

For my 50th birthday my doctors give me a present: a colonoscopy. The prep instructions are daunting. “In a large pitcher pour two 32 oz. bottles of Gatorade and 8.3 oz. bottle of MiraLAX. Begin drinking every 15 min. until completed.” I start this … [Continue reading]

Pay for performance right direction for heath care – Commercial Appeal

It’s another busy day at the hospital and as I dictate yet another consult note, I find I am repeating myself: “Patient has a history of diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease ...,” and then on the next patient, “heart disease, breast … [Continue reading]

Education can Empower in Fighting Ebola – Commercial Appeal

Charlotte Missionaries

    If an ill patient, who unexpectedly has Ebola, landed in Memphis, it is likely that my partner or I would see him. We work as infectious disease doctors at the hospital closest to the airport. The Ebola patient would present with … [Continue reading]

DR. JAIN FOR SHELBY COUNTY COMMISSION

I am Dr. Manoj Jain, and I am running for Shelby County Commissioner for District 13, which includes portions of Midtown and East Memphis stretching to Germantown. I am a medical doctor and live with my family in East Memphis. My parents immigrated … [Continue reading]

Doctors struggling over role in treating childhood obesity – Commercial Appeal

Lying in a hospital bed, my seriously obese patient can barely see her swollen and odorous right foot over her abdominal fat. The foot is soon to be amputated, the result of an untreatable infection exacerbated by diabetes and kidney failure, which … [Continue reading]

Sinusitis among most mistreated illnesses – Commercial Appeal

Over the past month my daughter, my aunt, my father-in-law and sister-in-law all have been taking antibiotics for a sinus or an upper respiratory infection. As the infectious disease doctor in the family, I feel partly responsible for all this. For … [Continue reading]

Flu complications come on fast – Vaccine can save time, money, lives – Tennessean

The night before I was leaving for a three-week medical mission trip, I was called urgently to the ICU to see a patient I’ll call Rachel, a previously healthy woman in her late 40s, slightly overweight. She had started a new job as a customer service … [Continue reading]

Vaccine can prevent deadly flu complications – Commercial Appeal

The night before I was leaving for a three-week medical mission trip, I was called urgently to the ICU to see Rachel (name altered), a previously healthy woman in her late 40s. She had started a new job as a customer service agent. Rachel was the … [Continue reading]

Obamacare’s Upheaval of the Insurance Market – Huffington Post

Some years ago, driving through an end of town where pawn shops and boarded up homes are common, I saw a small placard sign nailed on a telephone pole. "Buy Health Insurance," it touted with premiums as low as $25 a month. I was tempted. … [Continue reading]

Challenges for Sebelius and Obamacare – Huffington Post

Last Friday, I was among a dozen people who sat privately to talk about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare, with the embattled Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius. Dressed in a light green blazer, sitting alongside … [Continue reading]

Closing the Medicaid doughnut hole – Commercial Appeal

A patient, a burly black man in his 40s who works as a cook, is in the hospital wincing in pain from a staph infection on his leg. He has no health insurance and earns about $15,000 a year. You would think that the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka … [Continue reading]

Doctor’s Advice: Get Health Insurance – Huffington Post

Standing in the dimly-lit cave-like radiology reading room, I was looking at a CT scan which was done in the emergency room on a man in his 40s who had a testicular mass -- likely a cancer -- which had spread through out his body. It wasn't that the … [Continue reading]

What should doctors do to combat childhood obesity? – Washington Post

What should doctors do to combat childhood obesity?

Lying in a hospital bed, my seriously obese patient could barely see her swollen and odorous right foot over her abdominal fat. The foot was soon to be amputated, the result of an untreatable infection exacerbated by diabetes and kidney failure, … [Continue reading]

Complications after surgery are urgent challenges – Commercial Appeal

My uncle, Vinay Mehta, who had his second bypass surgery four days earlier, is rushed back to the ICU hooked up to monitors and multiple IV lines. A critical care doctor who wears cowboy boots and uses words sparingly is at the foot of the bed, and … [Continue reading]

My uncle’s medical journey – Commercial Appeal

My uncle, Vinay Mehta, lies quietly on a gurney in the hospital’s pre-post catherization room. His wife of 40 years is by his side. The TV across the room is flickering, and the EKG monitor behind him beats a regular rhythm. His cardiologist, who … [Continue reading]

Healthy Memphis: Tick-borne illness may be cause of summer fever – Commercial Appeal

Karen Young, a woman whose short reddish-brown hair reminded me of Julie Andrews from the movie “Sound of Music,” tells me her fever and body aches started a few days before the 4th of July weekend. “I was hurting all over, like arthritis bothering … [Continue reading]

Interfaith about community, not conversion – Commercial Appeal

Interfaith about community, not conversion

For a number of years in the holy month of Ramadan, I have joined my Muslim friends in the “breaking of the fast” dinner. I am not Muslim, and neither were half of the 500 Memphians gathered last month at the Esplanade Banquet Hall for the seventh … [Continue reading]

Overcoming our biases requires understanding how we think – Commercial Appeal

The Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman case has once again opened the racial wounds of our nation, and it reminded me of the first piece I wrote for The Washington Post six years ago. I wrote about racial disparity in the health care system, titled … [Continue reading]

Decline in Cost of Health Care in America – Huffington Post

We have done it. We have decreased the increase in the cost of health care. Let us explain. For three decades (1980-2009), the cost of health care has been increasing each year at an average rate of 7.4 percent -- double the rate of inflation. [1] … [Continue reading]

Guest column: Bend in health cost curve can be sustained – Commercial Appeal

We have done it. We have decreased the increase in the cost of healthcare. Let us explain. For three decades (1980–2009), the cost of healthcare has been increasing each year at an average rate of 7.4%—double the rate of inflation. However, over the … [Continue reading]

Germ-free pacifiers may mean sicker kids – Tennessean

Germ-free pacifiers may mean sicker kids

Years ago, when my children (now teenagers) were babies and they dropped a pacifier on the floor, we rinsed it with tap water before putting it back in their mouth. As a parent and as an infectious disease doctor, sterility is of utmost importance … [Continue reading]

Tact, Tone And Timing: The Power Of Apology – Talk of the Nation : NPR

An effective apology involves a delicate balance between tact, tone and timing. In high-stakes settings, when jobs and reputations are on the line, it can be even harder. The significance of an apology can vary in different settings and … [Continue reading]

Medical errors are hard for doctors to admit, but it’s wise to apologize to patients – Washington Post

In 2007, I published a story in my local paper in which I confessed to having made a medical error years earlier. I’d mistakenly prescribed an antibiotic for a patient whose chart indicated an allergy to the drug. Thankfully, the story had a happy … [Continue reading]

Cleanliness may not be best when it comes to pacifiers – Commercial Appeal

Years ago, when my children, who are now teenagers, were babies and they dropped a pacifier onto the floor, we rinsed it with tap water before putting it in their mouth. As a parent and as an infectious disease doctor, sterility is of utmost … [Continue reading]

Healthy Memphis: Besides pleasure, biking and walking trails lead to significant health benefits – Commercial Appeal

Two weekends ago, when the temperature hit the low 70s and the afternoon sun was warm, but not Memphis hot, my 13-year-old son and I put on our helmets and hopped onto our freshly serviced bikes for a ride. I had not seriously ridden a bike for a … [Continue reading]

Memories of Boston Marathon – Huffington Post

I know Boston and the Boston Marathon well. I lived for 20 years in Needham and Wellesley, the western suburbs of Boston, the halfway mark of the 26-mile race, from where I have watched the marathon in route. Many times I picnicked at Hopkinton State … [Continue reading]

Denying employment could be powerful disincentive for smokers – Commercial Appeal

As I walk into the hospital each day, I notice patients and families sitting outside on benches that are surrounded by large signs prohibiting smoking on hospital grounds. For over five years, a collaborative and concerted effort by Memphis hospitals … [Continue reading]

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s Detachment Similar To That Of Eastern Sages – Huffington Post

A few weeks ago, as I watched the white helicopter rise above St. Peter's Basilica and carry the pontiff emeritus to a life of seclusion, I was reminded of Hindu and Jain saints who withdraw from the world and live a renounced life. With his last … [Continue reading]

Letters – Menstrual Shame and Superstitions in India – The New York Times

“The Taboo of Menstruation,” by Rose George (Op-Ed, Dec. 29), sheds a welcome light on the unfortunate effects of menstrual superstitions and ignorance in parts of India. Unfortunately, similar taboos with similar debilitating outcomes exist in other … [Continue reading]

‘Lincoln’ rekindles equality – Washington Post

On Thanksgiving weekend, with family and friends, I watched Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece “Lincoln.” It was a history lesson on racial inequality. Abraham Lincoln championed the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery, paving the way for the 15th … [Continue reading]

Video : Pregnancy Flu and Autism – WREG

In Health News, a new study suggests moms who get sick with the flu, or fever, while pregnant may increase their risk of having a child with autism.  But some caution not to read too much into the results.  Infectious disease expert Dr. Manoj Jain … [Continue reading]

Doctors need to eliminate waste from healthcare – Commercial Appeal

Thirty percent of health care spending — amounting to $750 billion a year — is wasted, according to a recent report by the Institute of Medicine. I know. As a doctor, I am party to this waste, and I think doctors can play a major role in recovering … [Continue reading]

LETTERS : In Search of Political Champions for the Poor – New York Times

To the Editor: Re “Cutting the Deficit, With Compassion” (Economic View, Sept. 9), in which Christina R. Romer suggested reducing the federal budgetdeficit “in a way that does as little harm as possible to people, jobs and economic … [Continue reading]

Data, coaching important in changing behavior in health care and life – Commercial Appeal

A few months ago, as I drove my daughter to the airport on Interstate 240 for her summer internship in Boston, I read the overhead message sign: "TN ROADWAY FATALITIES 371 — PLEASE DON'T BE NEXT" The same day, walking into my hospital's ICU, I saw a … [Continue reading]

We all need ‘skin’ in Medicare debate – Commercial Appeal

As I approach my 50th birthday, I worry about Medicare not being there for me when I become eligible. I have some inside knowledge about Medicare. My parents and in-laws are patients on Medicare. As a doctor, I am a provider for Medicare, and as a … [Continue reading]

Medicare Control of Cost – Huffington Post

As I approach my 50th birthday, I worry about Medicare not being there for me when I become eligible. I have some inside knowledge about Medicare. My parents and in-laws are patients on Medicare. As a doctor, I am a provider for Medicare, and as a … [Continue reading]

Sikh Temple massacre shows violent thoughts, words lead to actions – Commercial Appeal

On Tuesday night, I sat with my children at the Sikh temple in Cordova and wondered what triggered Wade Michael Page to massacre six people at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisc. Though no one will know for sure, this much seems certain: Page had … [Continue reading]

Data show football may not be safe for kids – Commercial Appeal

Last fall, I went with my 12-year-old son to his middle school's opening home football game. The bleachers were lined with parents, the smell of hot dogs and nachos wafted over the field, the announcer's voice blared, and the cheerleaders jumped out … [Continue reading]

Employers have clout to reduce health costs – Commercial Appeal

I once thought that only the federal government in Washington could effect changes that would impact the cost of health care in the United States, especially with so much attention on the recent Supreme Court decision on the 2010 health care reform … [Continue reading]

Judging ‘Obamacare’ depends on your situation Put politics aside and just focus on facts – Commercial Appeal

On the day the U.S. Supreme Court delivered its historic decision on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare, I was rounding on my hospital patients: a man on the ventilator with pneumonia who had private insurance, one elderly woman with … [Continue reading]

Family support makes transplants easier to take – Commercial Appeal

SUBMITTED PHOTO Juana Boyland won medals in several events in the 2002 Transplant Olympics. She underwent a lung transplant. I had not recognized the deep bonds between sisters until I saw my two daughters holding each other in a long embrace … [Continue reading]

Dr. Manoj Jain: Alert wife assists on doctors’ diagnosis – Commercial Appeal

Often patients and families think their doctor is all-knowing when it comes to the causes of their illness and the plan for treatment. Yet, uncertainty underlies each diagnosis and treatment plan. This could not have been more true in Jay Killen's … [Continue reading]

Meningitis – WREG

Texas just became the 4th state to pass a law requiring the meningitis vaccine for college students who plan to live in dorms.  While it’s not a law here, we wondered if it really is important enough. That it should be.  Infectious disease expert, … [Continue reading]

Culture change on obesity will take time – Commercial Appeal Article

"Ouch," that hurt, I said last Sunday. It was not a reaction to the Grizzlies' Game 7 loss to the Clippers, but Chris Peck's scathing must-read commentary on Memphis being the national hub for obesity and our lack of concern about it. I will not … [Continue reading]

Cautionary tales make anti-smoking ads effective – Commercial Appeal

As I was scrolling through the newspaper online recently, an ad kept blinking on the side of my computer screen. It read: "A Tip from a Former Smoker. After a stroke from smoking, get used to losing your independence." In the background was a … [Continue reading]

How much does it cost? Even doctor is stumped – Commercial Appeal

Rarely do people think about medical costs when there is a medical emergency or an urgent need for a test. Recently, I was in such a situation. A few days after a 22-hour international flight, the calf muscle in my right leg began to ache. If it … [Continue reading]

Doctors in private practices are now joining hospital staffs – Washington Post

Fifteen years ago, I proudly hung a sign outside my office with my name followed by “MD.” I had started my own business. A small private medical practice is much like a mom-and-pop store, where the doctor has the autonomy to decide the hours, which … [Continue reading]

Pioneering physicians’ life stories are treasures – Commerical Appeal

Last week, I hurried through the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library to attend a forum on Asian-Americans. Afterward, Wang-Ying Glasgow, the coordinator for library services, urged me not to miss the new gallery exhibit on the history of … [Continue reading]

Author Rushdie and Indian Ambassador Rao to headline India Summit | Emory University | Atlanta, GA

Acclaimed author Salman Rushdie and Indian Ambassador to the United States Nirupama Rao are among the speakers at the third annualIndia Summit on March 2-3 at Emory University. Grounded in the cross-cutting theme of innovation, the summit features … [Continue reading]

White House advisors meet with Mid-South Asian American community -WMCTV

February 17, 2012 White House officials made a trip to Memphis Thursday to talk with the Asian American and Pacific islander community, one of the fastest growing communities in the Mid-South. view video … [Continue reading]

Hospitals feeling way toward greater transparency – Commercial Appeal

A few years ago at a conference, I learned about a hospital initiative that allowed family members to be present 24/7 with their loved ones, often in the most challenging of environments, such as the intensive care unit. I was hesitant to accept … [Continue reading]

What kind of sick? Symptoms, treatment differ among cold, flu, bacterial infection – Commercial Appeal

On a Friday afternoon last month, Niti Mehta, a second-grade teacher at Shady Grove Elementary, began to "shake like a leaf." A week earlier, she had the sniffles and nasal congestion, but no fever or shivering. RICHARD ROBBINS/THE COMMERCIAL … [Continue reading]

Test pattern: Doctors rethink paradigm for cancer screening – Commercial Appeal Article

Some years before his retirement, when my father-in-law went in for his routine physical, his doctor ordered a prostate specific antigen (PSA) test, along with a cholesterol test and blood count. My father-in-law was not having any symptoms, and no … [Continue reading]

Depression common following an operation – Commercial Appeal Articles

My patient, who was built like a linebacker, was a week out from major heart surgery. He sat in a chair in his ICU room with his head drooped down. The surgery had gone well, and his heart rate, blood pressure and respirations were all normal. When … [Continue reading]

When terminally ill patients ask how long they have, doctors find it hard to say – Washington Post

In January, when my close friend’s lymph node biopsy came back as a rare form of T-cell lymphoma, I scoured the scientific literature. What was his prognosis? He was 56, a little overweight but otherwise healthy. He had helped us move into our home … [Continue reading]

U.S. doctors can take cue from medical tourism – Commercial Appeal

When my father had a toothache, he saw a dentist in Boston who recommended a root canal and dental crown costing about $2,000. He decided to wait until he was in India, his native land, for holidays and had the procedure done there for … [Continue reading]

Diwali at the White House – Washington Post

Thursday evening my teenage daughter asked me to help her review for an AP U.S. Government exam on the Bill of Rights. That she was studying the first amendment and the freedom of religion seemed fortuitous: the following morning I was to board an … [Continue reading]

False positives show need to adjust expectations for cancer screening tests – Washington Post

Several years ago, during an annual mammogram, my wife, who is in her 40s, was told a mass had been found in one of her breasts. Anxious and uncertain, she had a biopsy, and we braced for the worst. My father-in-law, when in his 50s, went through a … [Continue reading]

Accepting death is difficult for patients and doctors, but it needs to be done – Washington Post

My 64-year-old patient with terminal cancer and less than six months to live wanted to go to Oregon. He was contemplating assisted suicide, which is legal there. “My life has been long and good,” he said. “I believe it is my right. I want the ability … [Continue reading]

No easy cure for hospital errors / Significant gains seen in specific areas – Commercial Appeal

Some years ago, a nurse paged me at 3 a.m. from the hospital because a patient of mine had spiked a high fever. Suspecting an infection, I called in antibiotics. A few hours later, the frantic nurse called to say my patient had turned red and was … [Continue reading]

Waging Peace – Commericial Appeal

Since my childhood, I have believed that both petty and global conflicts can be resolved through the power of nonviolence. In school, when a kid bullied me, my parents told me, "Never hit back." Since I was puny -- 90 pounds in ninth grade -- this … [Continue reading]

LETTERS TO THE INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE Following the Jain Tradition – New York Times

Regarding Aidan Foster-Carter’s “To Catch a Roach” (Meanwhile, Sept. 27): Last Saturday night, coming home from a party, we found a roach, a spider and an ant in our kitchen. Gently, I got the roach to climb on to the bristle part of the broom; my … [Continue reading]

Knowledge is weapon in fight against silent killers – Commercial Appeal

The first question my friends asked last week after we watched the new movie "Contagion" was: "Can this really happen?" I should know. I am an infectious disease doctor. "Not only can this happen, but it could be happening right now," I said. … [Continue reading]

Intensive care units grow more friendly to patients’ families at some hospitals – Washington Post

Not long ago, when my father was about to undergo a heart procedure, I hinted to the cardiologist, a colleague, that I wanted to be there, too, not just to offer comfort but also to be present for the play-by-play that would lead to a critical … [Continue reading]

Video: Brain Infection – WREG

Interviewed on : August 18, 2011 Dr Manoj Jain is an Infectious Disease Specialist talking about the deadly brain infection that occurs after swimming in warm fresh water that killed a 9-year-old boy in Virginia and 16-year-old girl in Florida. … [Continue reading]

Knowledge is weapon in fight against silent killers – Commercial Appeal

Published: August 15, 2011 by Dr. Manoj JainWhen my patient, a middle-age working woman and mother of three, was admitted to the hospital for shortness of breath, I told her she had a choice: "You can live for three to four years, or you can live for … [Continue reading]

Big pharma and patient care – Commercial Appeal

About a decade ago when I was newly settled into private practice in Memphis, a representative for a drug company marketing a new and powerful antibiotic stood in my office and asked whether I would like to attend a consultants' meeting about the … [Continue reading]

Video: Scarlet Fever | WREG

Interviewed on 29th June, 2011 Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Manoj Jain discussing if we should be worried about the Scarlet Fever outbreak that is happening now..   … [Continue reading]

New MyPlate guidelines only first step to better diet – Commercial Appeal

Published: June 13, 2011 by Dr. Manoj Jain My patient's hospital breakfast plate lay inches away from his freshly cracked and wired sternum, underneath which his clotted arteries were bypassed. On one side of the plate lay brown slices of bacon; … [Continue reading]

When Good Bedside Manner Becomes An Afterthought – Talk of the Nation : NPR

Medical schools strive to teach students the importance of good bedside manner in communicating with their patients. But sometimes, in the midst of examinations, paperwork and delivering difficult news, showing compassion can become an afterthought … [Continue reading]

Flood water not likely to produce epidemics – Commercial Appeal

Published: May 16, 2011Last Monday evening, our family headed out to see the "flood of the century," as the mighty Mississippi crested in Memphis. From afar, trunk-less treetops appeared as shrubs and tall telephone posts had become stumps. And, … [Continue reading]

Doctors often struggle to show compassion while dealing with patients – Washington Post

I was standing at my patient’s bedside. Mike Venata was having chills with a temperature of 103. Sweat covered his balding scalp like dew, then coalesced and rolled down past his staring eyes. Just 20 minutes earlier, a specialist had informed him … [Continue reading]

Obama talks about cheap healthcare in Mexico and India

A recent comment by President Obama has caused a stir in India. Below are some press clips. "My preference would be that you don't have to travel to Mexico or India for cheap healthcare," he said in response to a question about why US health … [Continue reading]

Collegians face obstacles to healthful lifestyles – Commercial Appeal

This week in the Commercial Appeal I talk about my lunch conversation with my daughter, who is a freshman in college. Hope you enjoy it: Freshman year in college is life-changing, but more often lifestyle-determining. For the first time in … [Continue reading]

Medical tourism can pose problems, but savings are welcome – Washington Post

Medical tourism Re: “The future of American medicine may be offshore” [Apr. 5]: The interest in getting much less costly health care overseas is understandable. But what happens to a patient who has major surgery in India, for example, has immediate … [Continue reading]

Letters to Medical Tourism Washington Post story

Over the week I am received numerous emails about how many of you have received low cost high quality care in Mexico, India, and South America. Also, there have been concerns about the follow up and quality of care.Market forces are powerful and the … [Continue reading]

My homes – Memphis and Indore – quite similar

Little while ago I wrote about my trip to Indore, India and compared it with the problems and issues we face in Memphis. HERE IT IS: Memphis and Indore - my homes   I have been away -- 8,500 miles away in India, where I was born and lived … [Continue reading]

Medical tourism draws growing numbers of Americans to seek health care abroad

When my father had a toothache, he saw a dentist in Boston who recommended a root canal and dental crown costing about $2,000. He decided to wait until he was in India, his native land, for holidays and had the procedure done there for $200. … [Continue reading]

Primary care doctors in short supply – Commercial Appeal

Published: March 06, 2011 Daniel Talley was my first patient the morning after Congress passed health care reform a year ago. Talley is a soft-spoken truck driver and for most of the past 10 years has endured two kinds of pain: needle stabs from … [Continue reading]

Hospitals taking over from private practices – Commercial Appeal

Published: February 14, 2011by Dr. Manoj JainA decade and a half ago, when I moved to Memphis, I proudly hung a sign outside an office I shared with another doctor. It had my name followed by an MD. I had started my own small business as a solo … [Continue reading]

Video : Do We Ration Healthcare

Click here for video -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVi5Yd6536Y … [Continue reading]

Hospitals’ focus on patient safety hasn’t eliminated preventable deaths – Washington Post

Published: December 20, 2010 Some years ago, I got a call at 3 a.m. from the hospital because a patient of mine had spiked a high fever. Suspecting an infection, I called in some antibiotics. A few hours later, a frantic nurse called to say my … [Continue reading]

Home remedies – Commercial Appeal

Answers to rising health costs will be found in local communities, with doctors, hospitals and patients taking new roles in the delivery of care.I took a penlight, peered into my daughter's mouth and saw two fiery-red, cherry-sized tonsils."My throat … [Continue reading]

Force that bonds us is stronger than what divides – Commercial Appeal

On an unusually quiet Sunday afternoon in the intensive care unit, Memphian Kristen Sharp lay in bed attached to a heart pump. Her tightly braided hair was pulled to the side of her thin, brown face. She gave me a beaming smile. It was Halloween … [Continue reading]

Doctor Report Cards: Innovating Healthcare through Grading | MyFox Memphis | Fox 13 News

There are no A's or F's, but a new doctor ranking system is in place in the Bluff City and its creators are hoping it will improve healthcare. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation teamed up with Healthy Memphis Common Table to publish the results for … [Continue reading]

More rules are needed to curb drug firms’ attempts to influence physicians – Washington Post

Nearly a decade ago when I was newly settled into private practice in Memphis, a drug representative for a new and powerful antibiotic stood in my office and asked whether I would like to attend a consultants' meeting about the drug in … [Continue reading]

Mandatory flu shots for hospital staff a no-brainer – Commercial Appeal

Published: October 18, 2010 A nurse who tracks hospital infections displayed her name tag with a green dot. "It means I have had my flu shot this year." We were at a meeting strategizing on how to reduce hospital infections through initiatives such … [Continue reading]

Compassion can move us to break cycle of violence – Commercial Appeal

Published: October 11, 2010I was standing at the bedside of a patient who was having shaking chills with a temperature of 103. Sweat covered his balding scalp like dew, then coalesced and rolled down his neck like raindrops. Just 20 minutes earlier, … [Continue reading]

Honoring a Surgeon – Commercial Appeal

Like many people, I sometimes find myself in buildings or grand auditoriums that are named for individuals whom I know little about. But that was not the case last Thursday when I attended the inauguration of the Dr. H. Edward Garrett Sr. Auditorium … [Continue reading]

Auditorium celebrates surgeon’s life’s work – Commercial Appeal

Published: September 20, 2010 Like many people, I sometimes find myself in buildings or grand auditoriums that are named for individuals whom I know little about. But that was not the case last Thursday when I attended the inauguration of the Dr. H. … [Continue reading]

Viewpoint: Good doctor-patient relationship reduces lawsuits – Commercial Appreal

Published: September 06, 2010 My medical partner, a soft-spoken and caring man with more than a decade of clinical experience, has encountered patients who have threatened to sue him. So when I told him I'd received a letter from a patient's widow … [Continue reading]

Viewpoint: Threat of malpractice lawsuits means medicine is a balancing act – Commerical Appeal

Published: September 05, 2010 Some months ago at my office, my receptionist handed me a registered letter. The name on the envelope seemed familiar. "Dear Sir," I read. "Please be advised that this letter serves as official notice that I am … [Continue reading]

Even with malpractice insurance, doctors opt for expensive, defensive medicine – Washington Post

Some months ago, the receptionist in my clinic handed me a registered letter. The name of the sender seemed familiar. "Dear Sir," the letter read. "Please be advised that this letter serves as official notice that I am considering a potential claim … [Continue reading]

When a patient says she wants to sue me … – Washington Post

Even with malpractice insurance, doctors opt for expensive, defensive medicine Some months ago, the receptionist in my clinic handed me a registered letter. The name of the sender seemed familiar. "Dear Sir," the letter read. "Please be advised … [Continue reading]

Vacation helps us recharge and refresh – Commercial Appeal

Published: August 23, 2010 "A vacation is not a luxury but a necessity; it keeps us healthy and living longer." Try that line the next time you are negotiating vacation days with your boss. Then, quote this research to support your point.Read More … [Continue reading]

Writers, like physicians, hope to stir improvement – Commercial Appeal

Published: August 16, 2010 A few weeks ago a young woman was admitted to the hospital with a raging fever, excessive urination and back pain. I prescribed an antibiotic for a kidney infection, and over the next several days I watched her improve and … [Continue reading]

New Medicare appointee is no stranger to Memphis – Commerical Appeal

Published: July 19, 2010 The new director of one of the largest health insurance systems in the world has been hired. He will manage health insurance for 90 million enrollees -- including many Memphians -- and wield funds of more than $800 billion … [Continue reading]

Take steps to prevent severe harm from heat – Commercial Appeal

Published: June 28, 2010 I have fond childhood memories of my summer vacations in India playing soccer (we called it football), cricket and marbles in the relentless 100-degree heat.Often, it was under the setting sun and as kids, we were unaffected … [Continue reading]

How one handles life situations is telling – Commercial Appeal

Published: June 07, 2010 Last week, my oldest daughter graduated from high school and began her journey as a young adult. As a proud parent and the commencement speaker, I shared some life lessons with the class of 2010. Here is some of what I … [Continue reading]

Big steps help end infant mortality – Commercial Appeal

Published: May 10, 2010 For every 1,000 babies born in Memphis, 12 die. This is double the national rate and similar to that of some developing countries like Sri Lanka and Jamaica. Read More … [Continue reading]

Examining Physicians Part 3: High or low, room to improve – Commercial Appeal

Published: April 27, 2010 I rehearsed my lines as I drove up to an office in Midtown. I was meeting with a doctor who had been rated poorly by his patients. Memphis is one of three cities where Consumers' Checkbook, a nonprofit national consumer … [Continue reading]

Examining Physicians Part 2: The good doctor: High-scoring Memphis physician practices patient-centered care – Commercial Appeal

Published: April 26, 2010 Dr. John Buttross reached over his office desk to shake my hand. He has a warm smile and a salt-and-pepper mustache. Buttross was rated one of the top primary care doctors in Memphis on a doctor-rating survey recently made … [Continue reading]

Examining physicians: How do you feel? Better choices, care are goals – Commercial Appeal

Published: April 25, 2010  Doctors play a unique role in our lives. They ask us to undress, and then they lay their hands on our bodies. They give us drugs that alter our minds. We trust our doctors as much as we trust our spouses -- sometimes … [Continue reading]

Close friend’s passing raises questions beyond the scientific – Commercial Appeal

Published: April 12, 2010 A close friend of mine, Tapan Thakur, died last week. As I tried to go about my routine of seeing patients or having dinner with my kids, no more than five minutes would pass before my thoughts would revert to him. Read … [Continue reading]

Health care reform from one doctor’s perspective – Commercial Appeal

Published: March 19, 2010 I don't want to discuss the polarizing politics of the health care reform bill, which is now a law. Rather, I want to answer one fundamental question that my patients and my peers have asked me. "What's in it?" Read More … [Continue reading]

Bundled payments might cut hospital costs without reducing quality of care – Washington Post

A decade and a half ago, when I started my solo practice, I would say to my routine HIV patients, "Let's see you back in three months." I was eager to fill clinic slots; also, because of my lack of experience, I felt safer seeing my patients more … [Continue reading]

Pleasant thoughts can help you sleep – Commercial Appeal

Published: March 08, 2010 At 9 p.m. most nights, I put my reluctant 10-year-old son to bed. He frets and frowns, saying "I can't sleep when I am alone," but readily agrees when I offer to stay. Read More … [Continue reading]

Video : H1N1 Declaration Gives Hospitals Flexibility – CNN

President Obama's declaration that the swine flu is a national emergency is supposed to give more flexibility for how the outbreak is handled. So what exactly does that mean? Fredricka Whitfield put that question to Dr. Manoj Jain, an infectious … [Continue reading]

With Swine Flu Returning, Families Can Reduce Risk of Transmission – Washington Post

Last winter, a few months before the first outbreak of H1N1 flu, my 13-year-old became ill, first with a cough and runny nose, and then with low-grade fever and nasal congestion. It was not severe enough to have her miss school, but we had her skip … [Continue reading]

For Doctors, Rationing Care Is Standard Practice – Washington Post

Published: August 04, 2009 A seasoned pulmonologist shakes his head. "Let's face it, we already ration care." And, pausing ever so slightly, he begins his story. "This family of an 80-year-old gentleman came to me a few days after he was admitted … [Continue reading]

LETTERS : An Insidious Infection in Indiana – Newyork Times

To the Editor : “Our Pigs, Our Food, Our Health,” by Nicholas D. Kristof (column, March 12), addresses a topic of paramount importance, the epidemic of MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) in our community. Mr. Kristof draws an … [Continue reading]

Even ‘Snake Oil’ Can Help Patients Heal – Washington Post

Published: March 17, 2009 "Our conference was being held over lunch, but Pat, a middle-aged health-care consultant, did not touch a bite of her food. When I asked if something was wrong, she revealed her lifelong battle with Crohn's disease, an … [Continue reading]

Want to Live a Bit Longer? Speak Up. – Washington Post

Published: February 17, 2009 "Did you know that women live longer than men?" I asked my wife. Of course she did -- and not just because, like me, she is a physician. Anybody who walks into a nursing home can see the imbalance. Most people's … [Continue reading]

A Skeptic Becomes A True Believer – Washington Post

Published: February 10, 2009 I was skeptical when my hospital embarked several years ago on an initiative to reduce the number of hospital-acquired infections in our intensive care unit. These are infections that originate from the tubes and … [Continue reading]

Once Detected, HIV Can Be Manageable – Washington Post

Published: December 09, 2008 Ten years ago, an intelligent, reserved software engineer -- a woman with the complexion of Halle Berry and the physique of a marathoner -- came to my infectious-disease clinic, accompanied by her fiance. They'd been … [Continue reading]

Patients Can Join the Fight Against Flu Without Firing a Shot – Washington Post

Published: November 25, 2008 Last month at a luncheon marking International Infection Prevention Week at the National Press Club, some speakers reminded me of a shameful and frightening statistic: Almost 60 percent of American health-care workers do … [Continue reading]

Elective Surgery Is One Thing, Elective Politics Another – Washington Post

Why the Presidential Race Should Skirt The Doctor's OfficePublished: October 28, 2008 A few weeks ago, as I was making rounds on the oncology floor, one of my patients asked, out of the blue, "Hey, Doc, who you gonna vote for?"I would have expected … [Continue reading]

Equal Treatment for the Uninsured? Don’t Count on It. – Washington Post

Lack of Compensation Can Tempt Doctors to Tailor Their Care to a Patient's CoveragePublished: October 14, 2008 When I walked into the hospital room of a 19-year-old woman, a foul smell all but overwhelmed me. I called a nurse to assist me and saw … [Continue reading]

Hospital Clash Puts Patients in the Middle

Published: September 16, 2008 From the patient's point of view, doctors and hospital officials can seem to be a monolithic medical power structure. But in fact, physicians and administrators often do not see eye to eye.Read More … [Continue reading]

Some numbers to count on – Times of India

Published: September 14, 2008 Often at a family gathering or a social event the conversation moves to the issue of “how to live longer?” And I respond in no uncertain terms. “The elixir of long life is pretty simple — exercise, eat well, avoid … [Continue reading]

Hand Washing: Time Well Spent – Washington Post

We Need Carrots and Sticks to Reduce Infection RatesPublished: August 05, 2008 One morning on hospital rounds, I saw a physician colleague enter the intensive care unit where a patient lay intubated and sedated. With his hands unwashed and ungloved, … [Continue reading]

The Germs Are Potent. But So Is a Kiss. Newyork Times

Published: August 05, 2008 “I have been waiting to see you, and I want answers now,” my patient said angrily as I entered her hospital room.Like a silent guard, her husband stood three feet from her, costumed in olive-green gloves and a bright yellow … [Continue reading]

Family Adjusts to Rules of the Road – Washington Post

Published: July 15, 2008 Last summer, my oldest daughter, Sapna, passed a multiple-choice driver's exam, secured a learner's permit and asked to sit in the driver's seat. This was a source of concern for me. As an epidemiologist, it is my job to look … [Continue reading]

Praying with the patients – Times of India

Published: June 22, 2008 Iam a doctor of Indian origin working in Memphis Tennessee, which is often referred to as the buckle of the Bible belt. My patient is an elderly man with end-stage congestive heart failure, kidney failure and now an infected … [Continue reading]

Doctors Can Be Doubters – Washington Post

My patient is an elderly man with end-stage congestive heart failure, kidney failure and now an infected dialysis line, and he is unlikely to live more than six months. The Bible lies on his bedside table next to his hospital breakfast tray and the … [Continue reading]

Heavy drinkers, smokers face Alzheimer’s risk – Times of India

Published: May 11, 2008 Occasionally forgetting where you left your car or scooter keys or being unable to recall the name of a distant acquaintance are normal memory lapses. However, frequent spells of forgetting names and places or repeating … [Continue reading]

Musical way to recover from illness – Times of India

Published: April 30, 2008 Does music affect living beings? And more relevant to doctors and patients, does music help recover from an illness? A series of experiments on animals has shown that a stimulating and an enriching environment can … [Continue reading]

A Doctor’s Viewpoint Changes When the Patient Is His Father – Washington Post

Published: April 15, 2008 Each morning as I head for my morning rounds, I routinely hurry through the hallway alongside the cardiac catheterization lab not noticing what goes on inside. But, this morning it was different. On the table, under the … [Continue reading]

Food colour making children hyper – Times of India

Published: April 06, 2008 Nearly every kid's food is “decorated” or “tainted” with artificial food color and additives. While they make food look pretty, there may be a downside. Can our children's daily consumption of juices, candy, and soft drinks … [Continue reading]

Five easy steps to living long and well – Times of India

Published: March 16, 2008 Reaching the age of 90 and being in good health may be easier than we think, according to a new study in the Archives of Internal Medicine. It’s well known that our genetic makeup influences our life span, but until now it … [Continue reading]

Honestly, I Could Not Help Him – Washington Post

Patient's Routine Visit Becomes An Ethical Challenge for a DoctorPublished: March 04, 2008 My patient had come for a routine doctor visit. He was a well-built, soft-spoken middle-aged man who was always polite, respectful and adhered meticulously to … [Continue reading]

The biochemistry of Sudarshan Kriya – Times of India

Published: February 24, 2008 "If we reduce the number of oxygen radicals, we improve the antioxidant status in our body and live longer" Manoj Jain Ever wonder what causes us to age resulting in death of our body cells over the years, develop … [Continue reading]

An aspirin a week… – Times of India

Published: January 27, 2008 Imagine a drug which can reduce pain and fever, spare the muscles of the oxygen-starved heart, prevent strokes, and save 110,000 lives per year. To add to its stellar performance, imagine if it can also reduce certain … [Continue reading]

Essay : Putting Pay on the Line to Improve Health Care – Newyork Times

Published: September 04, 2007 Every quarter I get together with my partners to review the performance of our medical practice. Like a manager of a car dealership, I bring out the numbers. I show them how many patients we saw in the previous months, … [Continue reading]

How I Learned to Treat My Bias – Washington Post

Published: April 15, 2007 At our hospital in Tennessee not long ago, I saw my picture on the hallway message board alongside those of other doctors in a display thanking us for our service. My Asian-Indian complexion set me apart -- it's something … [Continue reading]

Gita and Ganesh in Space – Hindustan Times

Published: March, 2007 As Indians we swell with pride to see Sunita Pandya Williams, an Indian-American, walking in space. For me, the event has special significance, since I grew up with her in an upper-middle class suburb of Boston. She lived less … [Continue reading]

Recognizing a Sacred Bond Sometimes Obscured – Newyork Times

Published: January 23, 2007 I carry the card in the glove compartment of my car. It is not a Valentine’s card from my wife, or a graduation card from my mother. It is a simple greeting card, with a cheerful watercolor of wildflowers, sent to me by a … [Continue reading]

Summer diseases – Shelby Sun

Summer is fun, but it isn’t without hazards. In fact, a surprising number of people become ill or are injured during the summer months. The good news is – summer diseases and injuries are preventable. Take the case of skin cancer. Over one million … [Continue reading]

American Cancer Society Reaffirms the Benefits Of Mammography – Shelby Sun

October is national breast cancer awareness month and October 17 is mammography day. If you are confused about the screening recommendations for a mammogram, you are not the only one – so are many doctors. A few months ago, the American Cancer … [Continue reading]

www.mypyramid.gov – an awesome resource – Shelby Sun

It’s very likely that you have visited the new food pyramid website, www.mypyramid.gov. How do I know? Because, the site was clogged for several days after it’s unveiling, due to unprecedented network traffic. The old food pyramid, which was first … [Continue reading]

Mark your calendar – Flu shot – Shelby Sun

On Monday you have a hair salon appointment, on Wednesday it’s dinner at Martha’s place and Friday morning is your flu shot appointment at the pharmacy. If the last appointment is missing you better mark your calendar. Last year 2 of every 5 seniors … [Continue reading]

The world is flatter and fatter – Shelby Sun

The obesity pandemic - slowly and silently - is killing more people in the world than the bird flu may ever kill. In United States alone, an estimated 300,000 individuals die annually from obesity and its complications such as diabetes, heart disease … [Continue reading]

Medicare drug bill – a step towards privatization of Medicare – Shelby Sun

The Medicare legislation being voted on by Congress this week hopes to bring the greatest change to Medicare in its 40 year history. The plan is sure to effect our health, our pocket books, and the future of our health care industry in America. The … [Continue reading]

Meditation – not just for the mind! – Shelby Sun

Last week I attended a talk by Dr. Herb Smith a former Rhodes College psychology professor. He was teaching meditation. I am often asked , “what is meditation?” As doctors we have a fairly sophisticated definition. Scientifically we define … [Continue reading]

Diabetes increases the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease – Shelby Sun

Last week, at a breakfast meeting Governor Mike Huckabee spoke about his personal battle and victory over diabetes. As the talk was interesting, one fact stuck to our minds – “every 21 seconds someone new is diagnosed with diabetes.” This threat of … [Continue reading]

Dehydration from Bright Lights and Bright Sun – Shelby Sun

When Zuleyka Rivera Mendoza, the newly crowned Miss. Universe, fainted on stage, she was likely squeezed by her tight dress and dehydrated from the bright lights. Dehydration is more common than we think. Thirst is a symptom of dehydration as is dry … [Continue reading]

Improving Care for Sepsis Patients – Shelby Sun

A visit to the hospital can be traumatizing. Even more traumatizing can be when the team of doctors and nurses are not coordinated in the recognition, diagnosis and management of a critical illness such as sepsis. Sepsis is a life threatening … [Continue reading]

Sticking to It – Shelby Sun

When Ms. Landers, a 30 year old HIV positive patient, comes to my office and is failing on her HAART (Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy), I wonder why. Is it because the medicines are not working and resistance has developed? Is it because there … [Continue reading]

Time for a check up – Shelby Sun

The odometer on my Toyota Avalon just passed 100,000 and soon the “check engine” light went on. It was a reminder that I needed to take my car for routine servicing. Thought it is annoying the “check engine” light is an “in the face” reminder of … [Continue reading]

To eat or not to eat: Spinach – Shelby Sun

Last week while having dinner at a hospital board meeting at the Peabody, I wondered if I should eat the salad – especially the spinach. It is hard to imagine that spinach, the food of Popeye-the sailor, could be more harmful than healthy, yet such … [Continue reading]

Meningitis Vaccine for Teenagers – Shelby Sun

Our pediatrician poked a pen in my teenage daughter’s arm and said “That’s how much it will hurt, or I will give you ten dollars” He was talking about the meningitis vaccine. Meningitis is an infection of the fluid surrounding the spinal cord, and … [Continue reading]

Memphis – First in Addressing Childhood Obesity – Shelby Sun

Who would have imagined that the first interactive national conversation on childhood obesity would begin in Memphis? But that is what is happening on September 17, 2005 as 1,200 people – parents, youths, doctors, politicians, corporate executive, … [Continue reading]

Norfleet Forum- Focuses on Diabetes and Obesity – Shelby Sun

For several months I have been on the planning committee for the Norfleet Forum, which is an annual meeting in Memphis of health care providers, to be held on November 13-14. The Forum has taken on the challenge to reverse the epidemic of obesity … [Continue reading]

Only in America …dietary guidelines – Shelby Sun

Only in America do we order a big double cheese burger, large fries and a diet coke from the drive-through and the government tells us this is wrong. Early this month when the new dietary guidelines were unveiled by the Department of Agriculture and … [Continue reading]

Patients and Family are Part of the Healthcare Team – Shelby Sun

Few weeks ago my wife, also a physician, and I attended a medical seminar on teamwork. A Navy pilot, Steve Harden, was teaching us teamwork skills from the aviation industry so that we could reduce medical errors in the healthcare setting. The hotel … [Continue reading]

Feel the power of prayer – Shelby Sun

Last month I spoke to students at Rhodes College on “Does Prayer Really Work?”. I am not a preacher or a pastor but a doctor. Why would a doctor be talking about prayer? A controversy has brewed in the field of medicine- whether doctors should pray … [Continue reading]

The ballooning cost of prescription medications – Shelby Sun

Nearly 84% of the elderly take a prescription medication regularly. Each year we pay 10% to 17% more than the previous year for our medication, which is a rate higher than the rate of inflation and even higher than the overall rise in cost of … [Continue reading]

Giving Thanks for Health – Shelby Sun

On Thanksgiving Day we had a gathering of family and friends for a feast. Before the meal we all prayed together and then one by one-  old and young -answered the question. “What are we thankful for?” Nearly everyone said there were thankful for … [Continue reading]

A can a day will keep fitness away – Shelby Sun

It’s 7th grade math. One 12 ounce can of soda has 150 calories. There are 365 days in a year. One can of soda per day will add 54,750 calories in a year (150 x 365). One pound of body fat has 3,500 calories. So, if one can of soft drink is added to a … [Continue reading]

Remembering the mad cow disease epidemic of 1990s – Shelby Sun

History repeats itself, and so do epidemics. Yet, over time we have become better prepared to handle epidemics. Before the holidays, when one Holstein cow in Washington State tested positive for mad cow disease, an epidemic had occurred. Yes, just … [Continue reading]

Aspirin the wonder drug – Shelby Sun

Have you ever wondered how the wonder drug works? What magic does aspirin have that allows it to reduce pain and fever, save 110,000 lives globally per year, save the muscles of the heart, and the working power of the brain?  And now, a recent study … [Continue reading]

Canadian drugs for Seniors – Shelby Sun

My dad gets his beta blocker (high blood pressure medicine) from overseas, but my wife insists on carrying an entire course of antibiotics when we fly out of the country. Just like our family, the Congress is uncertain if it should legalize the … [Continue reading]

When patients and doctors don’t agree… – Shelby Sun

Mrs. Johnson refused to have her second leg amputated. She lay on the hospital bed with her one prosthetic leg leaning against the wall, the straps dangling; the dark skin of the prosthetic leg matched her skin color. The leg almost looked life … [Continue reading]

Travelers Beware – Shelby Sun

“We should go to Africa for our next vacation.” said my friend. “Africa?” I questioned. Imagining exotic diseases, I shuddered at the thought, while my friend was contemplating an open-jeep safari in the grasslands of Kenya racing a zebra. Each year … [Continue reading]

What to do – I got the flu? – Shelby Sun

You have a  fever of 100 degrees and a runny nose, but you still manage to go to work. So you think you have the flu? Nope.  You don’t have the flu. Relax,  it’s just a common cold. The flu is – well, like getting hit by a Mack truck. Symptoms of … [Continue reading]

Resistant Staph Infections Disguised as Spider Bites – Shelby Sun

Mrs. Scott insisted she had been bitten by a spider as she caressed a deep ulcer on her right thigh.” “Did you see the spider?” I asked. “No, but it looks like a spider bite” she said. When we got the wound culture report back, we realized it was not … [Continue reading]

Education of mothers helps reduces infant mortality – Shelby Sun

Last week I along with several of my public health colleagues sat with Governor Bredesen during lunch. He pointed to us and asked “I need a simple message. Just as children we learned that ‘we must brush our teeth daily and visit the dentist,’ what … [Continue reading]

Herbal Therapy and the Common Cold – Shelby Sun

As a doctor I rarely recommend herbal or alternative therapy for the common cold to my patients, but as a parent I use it all the time. Why such different behaviors? The common cold is "common" occurring 1 to 3 times a year in an average American. … [Continue reading]

Covering my Behind – Shelby Sun

It is not the calls from patients or the hospitals that keep doctors awake at night, but it is the risk of a potential malpractice lawsuit. Nearly 1 in 2 doctors has been sued. Nearly, 3 of 4 doctors in practice for more than 10 years have been … [Continue reading]

Eating Soy Foods Can Reduce Bone Fractures – Shelby Sun

In our society soy foods do not get special preference, in fact some people find them disgusting. However, a recent study that showed that eating soy foods could protect us from getting bone fractures may change our minds. The September issue of … [Continue reading]

Cell Phones Don’t Cause Tumors, But They Do Cause Accidents – Shelby Sun

My brother called me several months ago and asked, “do you know if cell phones cause brain tumors?” He was calling from his cell phone with a hands free headset while driving. “I don’t know.” I said, “but, I will look into it.” Several years ago, … [Continue reading]

Holiday Candies Expanding Waistlines – Shelby Sun

Each fall Halloween kicks off the candy eating season- still to come are Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, and Valentines Day. By the end, an average American would have gained an extra pound of weight. Thought this may not seem much, we never shed … [Continue reading]

New Orleans Last Week – Not Unlike Bombay Last Month – Shelby Sun

I was stranded overnight in a car and then waddled 5 miles through hip deep dirty brown water. This was not in New Orleans last week, but in Bombay, India a month ago when 38 inches of rain fell in one day (Memphis receives 48 inches in a … [Continue reading]

Married adults live longer. but why? – Shelby Sun

I told my wife about a recent study, "Honey, married people live nearly a decade longer than unmarried people." She smiled. Then asked "Who.the married men or the women?' "Both," I said. "The data from federal death records showed that married men … [Continue reading]

Fast Food Needs To Change Fast – Shelby Sun

We went to McAlister’s Deli for lunch last Saturday. As my daughter and I peered at the four columns of menu items above the counter, she noticed one column entitled  “Vegetarian”. “Daddy, one-fourth of the meals are vegetarian”, she said. (She is … [Continue reading]

Guess who turned 40 this year? – Shelby Sun

Like it or not medicare is here to stay – infact there are many who advocate it as the insurance plan for all Americas who cannot insurance from their employees or self-insured. Now that would qualify for a mid-life crisis. The big 4-0 The health … [Continue reading]

Forgiveness – it’s healthy for you – Shelby Sun

Many Christmas dinners have come and gone and you still have not talked with Uncle Stan. Since that heated family argument ten years ago, neither has apologized and neither has forgiven. This holiday season reconsider your grudges. Forgiveness is … [Continue reading]

Disease management program – a new strategy – Shelby Sun

Last Thursday I along with 20 other physicians met with Governor Bredeson for over an hour and a half. He was selling his TennCare reforms. Most of us listened. Some of us praised him. Some griped and others gave him new ideas, which he jotted … [Continue reading]

Happiness and health – are they linked? – Shelby Sun

During morning rounds at the hospital I examine Mr. Jones. He had a lung transplant a year ago, and has made more visits to the hospitals than to the supermarket. I ask myself, “Is Mr. Jones happy?” I pass the automatic double door out of the ICU … [Continue reading]

Health report cards – Shelby Sun

This school year in addition to getting a scholastic report card on your child, imagine receiving a health report card, which would tell you how overweight or underweight your child is.  If you lived in Cambridge Massachusetts, that would be the … [Continue reading]

How healthy are our restaurant menus? – Shelby Sun

Last week we dined at a restaurant, we have been frequenting for the past 10 years. The young polite waiter asked for the order. I looked at the menu, then I paused and asked for something completely out of the ordinary. “Do you have a menu that … [Continue reading]

How much to drink? – Shelby Sun

My wife is a drinker. She drinks 7-10 glasses each day – of water that is? She wants me to be like her, but I refuse. I am stingy with my drink – only with meals or after a work-out or when my thirst nudges me to bend over a water fountain, suck up … [Continue reading]

Meningitis Vaccine for Teenagers – shelby Sun

Our pediatrician poked a pen in my teenage daughter’s arm and said “That’s how much it will hurt, or I will give you ten dollars” He was talking about the meningitis vaccine. Meningitis is an infection of the fluid surrounding the spinal cord, and … [Continue reading]

Nonviolence Conference to Address Racial Disparities in Healthcare – Shelby Sun

If an African-American patient comes into a doctor’s office, does he get similar care compared with a Caucasian patient? “No,” says the Institute of Medicine. The present research “demonstrates significant variation in the rates of medical … [Continue reading]

When an epidemic becomes a pandemic – Shelby Sun

A few months ago, a hospital surveyor asked me. "As an infection control practitioner, what would keep you awake at night?" "Outbreaks of staph infections and hospital acquired infections are a concern," I said. "But, we can manage them. I worry … [Continue reading]

Patient’s Rights- Know Them and Exercise Them – Shelby Sun

Do patients have “needs” or do patients have “rights?” When I was in medical school - a couple of decades ago – we talked about patient’s needs. Today, the concept has matured to patient’s rights. In fact, in 1997 President Clinton signed a Patients … [Continue reading]

New Vaccine Can Save ER Visits – Shelby Sun

Parents and pediatricians can add another vaccine to their laundry list (now at 15) of childhood vaccines. Oh no…another shot, that sounds painful. But wait, the new vaccine, RotaTeq, is an oral suspension given in 3 doses to babies younger than 8 … [Continue reading]

Addressing Obesity at a High-Tech Town Hall Meeting – Shelby Sun

An estimated 11 million people in Africa will die of famine this year. Approximately, two-thirds of all adults and one-third of all children in the United States are now overweight; of these, nearly 50% of adults and 16% of children are obese. … [Continue reading]