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On ‘Sound Medicine’: Wartime medicine, in-flight emergencies, and a pancreatic cancer survivor


INDIANAPOLIS — The award-winning “Sound Medicine” announces its program for Sept. 8, featuring a report from Syria on wartime medicine, a pancreatic cancer survivor’s inspiring story and the final installment of the “Patient Listening” series with Dr. Vince Gattone.

How are Syrian physicians adapting to wartime conditions? According to the World Health Organization, more than half of Syria’s doctors, mostly specialists, have fled the country, leaving the war-torn country in dire need of medical assistance. The death toll has exceeded 100,000, and medical supplies are being depleted at an alarming rate. The Ohio-based Syrian American Medical Society provides medical supplies and facilitates monthly training workshops by physicians in the U.S. to help the remaining Syrian physicians adapt to treating patients under wartime conditions with little technology. Most recently in Eastern Turkey, SAMS held a training course to teach physicians and physician assistants surgical skills and alternative forms of anesthesia. After the session, physician facilitators keep in contact with Syrian physicians by video conferencing.

How can airlines prevent in-flight emergencies? The New England Journal of Medicine recently published a study conducted by Chris Martin-Gill, M.D., analyzing in-flight medical emergencies. Dr. Martin-Gill looked at 12,000 cases handled by Pittsburgh Medical Center, which advises 20 major airlines during in-flight medical emergencies. Dr. Martin-Gill and his team of researchers found that medical personnel were on board and willing to assist in almost every situation, Dr. Martin-Gill included. Only 7 percent of planes had to be diverted, and only 36 cases resulted in death. The most common types of medical emergencies include dizziness, nausea and vomiting. Dr. Martin-Gill is an assistant professor of emergency medicine at the University of Pittsburgh.

The ride of his life: A diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is usually a death sentence, but Bob Brown believed otherwise. After undergoing preliminary chemotherapy and radiation, Brown was told his cancer was inoperable; he was given only months to live. But by undergoing experimental chemotherapy and a high-risk surgery, Brown has lived in remission for five years. According to Brown, the father of two young children, he still has a good quality of life. To document his extraordinary journey, Brown authored, “The Ride of My Life.” Brown talks with “Sound Medicine” to share his miraculous recovery.

Are pets susceptible to melanoma? “Sound Medicine” healthy pet expert Liz Murphy, DVM, joins host Barbara Lewis in the studio to talk about why cats and dogs are at risk for melanoma. According to Dr. Murphy, melanoma in pets has nothing to do with sun exposure. Tumors in the mouth and between the toes on pets usually indicate melanoma. Catching melanoma early in pets, as well as in humans, is key to survival because melanoma metastasizes quickly. Establishing a quick once-over routine with your pet can help detect tumors quickly.

“Patient Listening”: A physician helps his former professor: In the final installment of a three-part interview, Vincent Gattone, Ph.D., a professor of pathology and instructor of gross anatomy at the Indiana University School of Medicine, and his oncologist Paul Helft, M.D., speak with Rich Frankel, Ph.D., to discuss the progression of Dr. Gattone’s incurable disease. Dr. Helft recounts his experience treating his former professor for the past eight months and how their relationship has changed. Dr. Helft is an associate professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine and director of the Fairbanks Center for Medical Ethics. Frankel is director of the Mary Margaret Walther Palliative Care Research and Education Program at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center.

“Sound Medicine” covers controversial ethics topics, breakthrough research studies and the day-to-day application of recent advancements in medicine. It’s also available via podcast and Stitcher Radio for mobile phones and iPads and posts updates on Facebook and Twitter.

Co-produced by the IU School of Medicine and WFYI Public Radio (90.1 FM) and underwritten in part by Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, “Sound Medicine” airs on the following Indiana public radio stations: WBSB (Anderson, 89.5 FM), WFIU (Bloomington, 103.7 FM; Columbus, 100.7 FM; Kokomo, 106.1 FM; Terre Haute, 95.1 FM), WNDY (Crawfordsville, 91.3 FM), WVPE (Elkhart/South Bend, 88.1 FM), WNIN (Evansville, 88.3 FM), WBOI (Fort Wayne, 89.1 FM), WFCI (Franklin, 89.5 FM), WBSH (Hagerstown/New Castle, 91.1 FM), WFYI (Indianapolis), WBSW (Marion, 90.9 FM), WBST (Muncie, 92.1 FM), WBSJ (Portland, 91.7 FM), WLPR (Lake County, 89.1 FM) and WBAA (West Lafayette, 101.3 FM).

“Sound Medicine” is also broadcast on these public radio stations across the country: KSKA (Anchorage, Alaska), KTNA (Talkeetna, Alaska), KUHB (Pribilof Islands, Alaska), KUAF (Fayetteville and Fort Smith, Ark.), KIDE (Hoopa Valley, Calif.), KRCC (Colorado Springs, Colo.), KEDM (Monroe, La.), WCMU (Mount Pleasant, Mich.), WCNY and WRVO-1 (Syracuse, N.Y.), KMHA (Four Bears, N.D.), WYSU (Youngstown, Ohio), KPOV (Bend, Ore.) and KEOS (College Station, Texas).

Please check local listings for broadcast dates and times.