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David Fisher, MD, MPH: September 2009

House Calls Radio

House Calls Radio
Sundays at 10pm AM 560 WIND in Chicago

Saturday, September 12, 2009

House Calls Episode Two

"House Calls" airs Sunday night at 10pm on AM 560 WIND and streams live at In addition to the latest health headlines, I will address the topic of H1N1 flu. My guest is Donald Thompson, MD, Senior Medical and Public Health Program Director in the Center for Infrastructure Protection at the George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, Virginia.

Episode Two Action Steps:
1) Prepare to utilize hand sanitizer liberally this flu season. Purchase some bottles for you and your family to have with you at all times.
2) Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth until your hands are clean.
3) Get the regular influenza vaccine, available now at your doctor's office or other locations (unless you have a contraindication like egg allergy or previous adverse reaction to the vaccine).
4) Get the H1N1 vaccine when available (likely late October-early November) if you are in one of the recommended groups:
a) Pregnant women
b) Household contacts and caregivers for children younger than 6 months of age
c) Healthcare and emergency medical services personnel
d) All people from 6 months through 24 years of age
e) Persons aged 25 through 64 years who have health conditions associated with higher risk of medical complications from influenza (these would include asthma and other lung disorders, and conditions causing immunosuppression such as HIV or certain cancers).
5) If you get sick with fever, aches, cough, and congestion ("flu-like" symptoms) stay home and limit your exposure to people until 48 hours after your fever is gone.
6) If your fever is over 103, you are unable to eat or drink, or you are having severe vomiting or diarrhea, seek medical attention. These are risk factors for dehydration, a major cause of morbidity and mortality from the flu. You should also seek medical attention, of course, if you are having difficulty breathing.
7) Don't panic. Common sense will get us through this!
Read more....

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Chicago Tribune article on "End-of-Life Conversations"

Today's article by Barbara Brotman in the Chicago Tribune gives an excellent representation of what advance care planning conversations might look like at the end-of-life. Of course, advance care planning can occur at any stage of illness, and does not always have to address things like Do-Not-Resuscitate orders or refusing other invasive measures. It could simply cover what you value when it comes to your health care, and who you want for your Power of Attorney.

The article also explains more about Someone to Trust and what we are trying to accomplish in Chicago.
Read more....

This Week's Health Headlines

People with skinny thighs die sooner, study finds
Scientists discover why broccoli is good for your heart
Late night snacking is worse than you think
Reduction in residents' work hours linked to more patient complications
Researchers discover three new genes linked to Alzheimer's
Antioxidants best when obtained from food, not pills
Read more....

Friday, September 4, 2009

House Calls Episode One

House Calls Radio debuts this Sunday evening Sept 6th at 10pm on AM 560 WIND. In addition to the latest health headlines, we will discuss the topic of advance care planning. My guest is Dr. Martha Twaddle, director of the Midwest Hospice and Palliative Care Center.

Show #1 Action Steps
1) Choose the person you would trust to make health care decisions on your behalf if you become unable to express your health care wishes.
2) Ask that person if they would be willing to act as your health care power of attorney.
3) Download the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care form. (Here's the Illinois form if you live in my home state)
4) Complete the form and have a witness sign it. You may also have your chosen agent sign the form but it is not required. No notary or attorney is required. You may choose successor agents in the event your primary agent is unable to fulfill their responsibility.
5) Make copies of the form.
6) Keep two for yourself, give one to your power of attorney, one to your physician, one to your successor agents (if applicable), and one to your lawyer (if applicable).
7) Have a conversation with your power of attorney about the things that are important to you when it comes to your health care. If you need help with this, make an appointment with your physician specifically to discuss advance care planning and ask for at least a 30 minute appointment. Bring your power of attorney with you. In Chicago, you can find a trained facilitator to help you with this process at Someone To Trust.
Read more....