Monday, October 28, 2019

Burnout at work

Everyone experiences stress at work...otherwise it wouldn't be work! However continuous unrelenting stress is harmful to the individual. Oftentimes the problem for the worker is recognizing there is one, because unless this happens corrective actions will be difficult go implement.

The following are 20 warning signs that the stress levels at work have become toxic and some serious thought should be put towards remedying the situation. 

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Taking blood pressure medicines at night saves lives

High blood pressure or hypertension is a very common condition. It is an important risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Treatment for it exists and involves taking tablets on a daily basis usually for the rest of one's life. 

Some blood pressure tablets come with a recommendation to take at night because of the possibility of causing dizziness. Other tablets can cause the patient to use the bathroom more frequently and so patients ask the doctor to take them at times when this would cause least inconvenience. 

A new study just published followed up a large number of patients in Spain to study if taking blood pressure medications at night has any effect on health. It emerged that it has. Taking blood pressure tablets in the night time reduces the risk of dying from heart attack, stroke or heart failure. 

Thursday, September 26, 2019


While on LinkedIn I came across some useful information about the ECG. The ECG has long been used as one of the first investigations when checking the health of the patient's heart. It remains a reliable, if interpreted well, companion in the doctor's search for answers.

So the following picture illustrates what normality should look like.

Being familiar with the normal is the first step for every doctor. Deviations from these patterns then need to be assessed and investigated. 

In the next picture we become aware of the most important abnormalities in the ECG....these changes should not be missed.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Red eye clinic

Once I came across the term 'red eye clinic'. My mind immediately went to an ophthalmic clinic - dealing with eye problems. The writer was actually referring to out of hours clinics that offer doctor services when most clinics would be closed. Hence 'red eye' - referring to the tired clinician suffering from lack of sleep.

These clinics are particularly stressful because they tend to present problems which could be dealt with in other scenarios, like for example the three month old painful knee coming in for a check up at 4am. Hence the challenge is to educate the patient in a diplomatic way to seek the appropriate avenue of assistance.

Alternatively they present acute problems of a very serious nature, like trauma or heart problems, where timely and effective medical assistance is of utmost importance.

And last but not least - the doctor. He or she has to struggle with the natural urge to sleep at the hours usually dedicated to this activity whilst keeping an alert mind to deal with the issues at hand. Coffee is often the answer!

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Barts MedSoc end of year reflections

Last week saw the end of my first experience as a GP tutor to Barts Malta first year medical students. The MedSoc programme, as it is called, is a series of twelve themed days from October till May dealing with a range of topics from the GP perspective. Topics dealt with included chronic pain, diabetes and pregnancy amongst others.

I was on a learning curve. Organising visits to associations, agencies, old people's homes and patients' residences as well as preparing tutorials and practical sessions....the work was intensive. Seeing my students motivated and eager to learn made it all worthwhile.

So this week it was with a bit of a heavy heart that I met Upe, Hish, Lexie and Casey for the last time. Knowing however that the experiences shared will stay with us for a long time...