Monthly Archives: April 2015

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Test Results? Call Me, Maybe

You come in for a CT, an MRI, or some other medical procedure. You wear the gown, you do your time in the tube, then you get dressed and go home wondering “I wonder what they found”. For some, the question doesn’t remain unanswered for long. For others, especially those waiting for more critical responses, that answer could take weeks.

I remember the day my friend’s mom went in for her biopsy. They’d discovered a mass in her breast during a previous MRI scan, and decided to do a biopsy to see if it was cancerous. I remember them telling her it would be two weeks before everything would be tested and her doctor had an open time available to sit down and read her the results.

I remember wondering how she’d manage to wait that long, and thinking that for someone who’s about to find out whether or not they have cancer, two weeks must feel like a lifetime to wait.

According to studies from UC San Francisco’s Dr. Maria Wei and colleagues, I wasn’t too far off. Traditionally the standard has been to deliver biopsy results in person, because doctors felt like it was a more personal way to deliver difficult news. What this meant, though, was that patients had to wait long after the results were in to actually schedule an appointment and receive the news.

Wei and her colleagues have surveyed patients at melanoma clinics around the country about whether or not they preferred the traditional way of delivering test results, and they found that now more than ever, patients want to know the news as soon as they possibly can.

It’s agonizing sitting around and waiting for something that could be potentially life changing, and patients are starting to admit that rather than sitting down with a doctor, they’d prefer to be informed of their test results over the phone as soon as the information is made available to their doctor.

It’s an interesting idea, and one that many centers are hoping to embrace. Dr. Jennifer Stein, a dermatologist at NYU School of Medicine, noted that “As generations change and as technology changes, we may be more moving in that direction. Asking a patient how they want to receive information can be really illuminating.”

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Making New Mexico A Better Place, One Pay-it-4ward at A Time

There are so many times that we’re proud to say we’re from New Mexico. Whether it’s receiving recognition for a sports team, seeing one of our gorgeous landmarks featured on Buzzfeed, or simply just walking out our door and admiring the places around us, we can honestly say that New Mexico is a wonderful place.

There’s something that’s been happening in New Mexico recently, something we think is really awesome and deserves some attention. KOB4, one of our local New Mexico news stations, recently started their “Pay it 4ward” campaign.

The campaign is all about rewarding the people in New Mexico who do extraordinary things to help others, all out of the goodness of their hearts. These people are out there making the world a better place, and they’re doing it without trying to get famous or any benefit to themselves.

KOB4 developed “Pay it 4ward” to thank these do-gooders for everything they do. In January, New Mexican residents were encouraged to nominate someone who they believed helps make New Mexico a better place to live, or someone who acts as an inspiration to others and could use a helping hand.

Every week since January 26th, KOB4 has been selecting one do-gooder from the nominations to receive the “Pay it 4ward” award, which consists of $400.00 donated from the station and delivered by whoever nominated the winner. KOB4 goes with the nominator when they deliver the award to each winner, capturing the heartwarming moment on TV for viewers.

It’s an amazing idea, and we love getting to see the love and respect New Mexicans have for each other. You can watch the latest winner here.

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Why You Shouldn’t Forget About Flu Season Just Yet

Once January hits, and especially when we get to the warmer months like April, we start to celebrate the end of flu season. People start washing their hands a little less obsessively, forgetting about vaccinations, and throwing caution to the wind as we turn our thoughts to happier things like Easter and the impending summer!

At least, most of us do. For those of us in New Mexico, however, things are a bit different. That’s right, this past week New Mexican officials issued a statement begging residents not to get too comfortable too fast. Contrary to popular belief, in New Mexico flu season is still far from over.

This year’s flu was especially nasty, almost doubling hospitalization rates in the state and leading to 28 deaths in Dona Ana County alone. Although it looks like the influenza A virus is pretty much done doing damage, influenza B is still a big threat to New Mexican residents.

It may be a little late to get vaccinations at this point, but it’s not too late to continue exercising other precautionary tactics like proper and frequent hand-washing, etc. We’re almost out of the woods, but if everyone can help out by keeping flu on the brain and continuing to try to prevent the spread for just a little bit longer, then soon enough we can start celebrating the end!

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Medical Imaging 101

If there’s one thing we’ve discovered over the years, it’s that it’s incredibly difficult to explain to patients the differences between CT and MRI. When it comes down to it, almost everyone understands that CT and MRI are somehow different. We’ll hear patients say all the time, “Ok, I know that they’re different, but how am I supposed to know which one is better for *insert specific medical issue here*”.

We’re firm believers that providing people with actual examples is one of the best ways to help them remember the differences between these two different procedures, so we’ve got a little test for you! The answers to the questions are at the bottom of the post, try your best to pick on your own before peeking at them! Good luck!

Question 1: Which machine is a CT scanner and which is a MRI scanner?

Question 2: Bob was just in a car accident and has been rushed to the emergency room. They think he may have a few broken bones, and want to make sure nothing else is wrong internally. Should Bob get a CT scan or an MRI scan?

Question 3: Sally is a soccer player, and during her last game she injured something in her knee. Sally’s doctor thinks she may have torn a tendon or ligament. Should he order a CT scan or an MRI scan for Sally?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Answers

Question 1: The first picture is a CT machine, the second picture is an MRI machine.

Question 2: CT SCAN. CT machines are better at clearly showing injuries that affect bones and internal organs. Also, because CT scans take significantly less time than MRI’s do, in almost all emergency room cases they’re the preferred choice.

Question 3: MRI SCAN. MRI’s are great at showing differences between normal and abnormal tissue, and are particularly useful when the doctor is trying to examine tendons, ligaments, or the spinal chord due to their densities. So for an injury like Sally’s, an MRI is the best option.

If you didn’t get any of the answers right, that’s ok! Medical imaging is a difficult subject, and it takes years of study to understand the benefits of both procedures. It just makes us appreciate our radiologists and physicians that much more!