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, she is concerned about the younger, who has not yet […]

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 remained healthy. The couple tested negative for malaria and other tropical diseases, and within a […]

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 developed in part because of obesity. Her two children, ages 6 and 12, […]

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

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, which developed in part because of obesity.Her two children, ages 6 and 12, hovered […]

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 three nurses adjust drips, measure my uncle’s blood […]

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 just performed the heart catherization, is a family friend and is […]

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 importance to me. While this may be lifesaving in the hospital, […]

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 middle-age woman in bed who could not move her left arm. […]

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. This is not just my opinion but also that of the Centers […]

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 new cases of skin cancer occur each year. Melanoma, which is […]

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 ballroom was packed with 400 doctors with 10 doctors at each round […]

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 one case of mad cow disease is an epidemic – and rightly so – because […]

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 flu include sudden […]

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 down. Most obviously, Tenncare will undergo major structural changes by […]