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On ‘Sound Medicine’: Unprepared surgeons, guinea worms, and waiting for medical miracles


INDIANAPOLIS — “Sound Medicine” announces its program for Jan. 26, including segments about measuring surgical technique, the challenges facing student-run medical clinics, and the cost of waiting for medical miracles.  

Can surgical technique be measured? The New England Journal of Medicine recently published a study that compared the outcomes of surgery from surgeons with good technique and poor technique. John Birkmeyer, M.D., lead author of the study and a professor of surgery at the University of Michigan, discusses the study and how inefficient surgeons, made aware of their shortcomings, can improve their skills. An additional study conducted by Samer Mattar, M.D., a professor of surgery at Oregon Health and Science University, found that many new surgeons might not be properly trained during residency. Dr. Mattar explains why.

What challenges face student-run medical clinics? Currently there are 110 student-run free medical clinics operated by 49 U.S. medical schools. These clinics provide the homeless and indigent population with medical care, while also providing training for the medical students who run them. Field reporter Scott Goldberg takes “Sound Medicine” behind the scenes of a student-run medical clinic in Chicago and exposes the problems facing the facility and clinics all over the country.

Can the Guinea worm be eradicated? Donald Hopkins, M.D., vice president for health programs at the Carter Center, helped eradicate smallpox. Now he is close to eliminating the ancient Guinea worm, a parasitic infection that is spread by drinking water contaminated with water fleas. “Sound Medicine” host Anne Ryder speaks with Dr. Hopkins about the Guinea worm and the Carter Center’s efforts to eliminate them.

What are the medical benefits of marijuana? J. Michael Bostwick, M.D., joins “Sound Medicine” for the second of two interviews exploring the risks and benefits of marijuana use. In this final segment, Dr. Bostwick discusses the medical uses of marijuana and cannabinoids. Dr. Bostwick is a professor of psychiatry at the Mayo Clinic.

Waiting for a miracle: Larry Cripe, M.D., an associate professor of medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine, shares a moving essay about the cost of waiting for medical miracles and the role faith plays in medical decisions.

“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.