Which ED Referrals Are Appropriate? The Problem of Perspective

Joshua Russell, MD, MSc, FCUCM, FACEP I didn’t want to send her to the ER, but what else could I do? Mrs. C was a gaunt 72-year-old Chinese-American woman who had never been to our clinic before. Her son carried her in at 7:56 pm like a bride across the threshold. “She cannot walk,” he said, startling the MA sitting at the front desk. “Has she been seen here before?” our MA asked with widened eyes. They both stared back blankly. She’d already run into the limits of the pair’s …
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The Value of Repeat Vital Signs

Joshua Russell, MD, MSc, FCUCM, FACEP I’m just going say it: we should repeat vital signs more often in urgent care. But from the odd looks I get whenever I work with a new medical assistant, I realize that asking for vitals to be rechecked isn’t common practice among my colleagues; it may even be frankly contrarian. So, before I lose you, I’ll concede that one set of vital signs is more than enough for the vast majority of our patients. However, there are two scenarios when repeating vital signs …
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Urgent Care Vitals, Value of Vitals

The Value of Vitals – Part I

Joshua Russell, MD, MSc, FCUCM, FACEP Recently, a PA I supervise called me about a young woman who came in for hematemesis and melena at home. The provider, let’s call him Tom, told me that the patient had normal vital signs, but he thought she should still go to the ED. I could sense some reluctance in his voice though. It was probably because the patient was just 32 years old and looked well. Understandably, Tom was conflicted, so he called me. I could only interpret the situation through his …
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Antibiotic Prescribing in “Gotham City”

I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of being talked at about antibiotic stewardship. We all realize it’s a problem. And though it’s common practice to blame urgent care providers for the situation, we aren’t uniquely culpable for antibiotic overuse. To anyone paying attention, it’s clear that antibiotic overprescribing in urgent care remains as rampant as crime in Gotham City. And the topic has become exhausting for UC providers, not because we believe it to be unimportant, but because we are spoken to about antibiotic stewardship like we are …
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Playing in the Band

Playing in the Band

I got my first guitar when I was 14. It was an Alvarez acoustic with an electric pick-up, and I played it every day—at least for a while. I thought it would make me cool and make the girls take notice. But after about a year, when neither of those things had happened, I just about gave up the guitar for good. There simply wasn’t much joy in always playing alone. What revived and has sustained my interest was joining some of my high school friends and forming a band …
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