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Straight Talk MD

Straight Talk MD is a podcast that examines current hot-button healthcare issues from the informative and unconventional point of view of Dr. Frank Sweeny. With over twenty-five years of experience as a medical doctor, he approaches the latest and greatest topics with a skeptical mind, presenting all the information, so you can decide for yourself.
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Straight Talk MD
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Sep 28, 2020

Ron Howrigon is back in the virtual studio to analyze Donald Trump’s 4200-word “doctrine” for a new healthcare system, created by Presidential Executive Orders [his words, not ours.]

We also look at Biden’s “Strive for Five” healthcare tweaks to Obamacare and beyond.

Lastly, we discuss how both candidates may have to modify their healthcare platforms based on the fate of Obamacare in the Supreme Court.

In this episode, we lay out the two most likely scenarios…

Sep 24, 2020

Just five weeks out from the Presidential election, there are more questions than answers about both Presidential candidates’ healthcare plans.

In this series, we examine each candidate’s plan to reform healthcare, and how it will impact the rest of us. In this episode, we take a look back at how we got here, and get a glimpse of where we’re headed.

Sep 19, 2020

In our haste to get a surgery started, sometimes we do things we shouldn’t do. Other times, we don’t do the things we should do. In the operating room, either error can have serious consequences.

Today’s episode is about the real life consequences of skipping a single, seemingly insignificant, step in safety procedures.

Sep 14, 2020

Medical Reversal happens when doctors start using a medication, a procedure, or a diagnostic tool without solid evidence that it’s effective. Then, after finding out the medication, procedure, or diagnostic tool doesn’t work or even harms the patient, they eventually stop using it.

Today, I interview Dr. Adam Cifu, author of the highly acclaimed book “Ending Medical Reversal: Improving Outcomes, Saving Lives.” We discuss the most controversial current examples of medical reversal, why it happens, and why it takes so long to de-adopt ineffective medical procedures, treatments, and medications. He also shares his prescription for how to prevent it.

Medical reversal is far more common than we think, and causes far more harm than we admit.

Sep 8, 2020

With the COVID-19 shutdown leading to over 10% unemployment and adding 2 trillion dollars to the national debt (from the “stimulus package”), the U.S. has entered “uncharted economic waters.”

No major country in the world has ever been this upside down on debt-to-income ratio. All metrics point to a fiscal disaster much larger than the 2008 mortgage crisis, and substantially worse than the “Great Depression” of 1929.

Today, health care economist, Ron Howrigon, author of Flatlining: How Healthcare Could Kill the US Economy, breaks it down by the numbers. Buckle up folks, winter is coming.

Sep 6, 2020

The most cynical surgeons describe anesthesiology as 99% boredom, and 1% sheer terror. Crepitus is about the 1%.

In this true story, a 57-year-old woman is administered general anesthesia for a “routine” knee arthroscopy, and the case rapidly devolved into the 1%. How can a routine knee arthroscopy go so wrong? In about a million and a half different ways. This is one of them.

Crepitus was originally released on our Strange Daze Podcast.

Sep 4, 2020

Cynical surgeons describe anesthesiology as 99% boredom, and 1% scared shitless. “Wrong Assumptions” is about the 1%.

In this true story, a healthy, 37-year-old woman enters the hospital to deliver her third baby under epidural anesthesia. In the operating room following delivery, she suddenly slips into a coma for no apparent reason. How can a routine case go so wrong? In about a million and a half different ways. This is one of them.

“Wrong Assumptions” was originally released on our Strange Daze Podcast.

Aug 31, 2020

The COVID-19 lockdown is being described by some as the largest uncontrolled social science experiment ever conducted. What are the mental health consequences of this real world experiment? Today, Dr. Anna Lembke is back in the virtual studio to help separate fact from fiction when it comes to the adverse mental health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aug 20, 2020

Dr. Christine Doyle, the Immediate Past President of the California Society of Anesthesiologists, is trained in both anesthesiology and critical care medicine. Both specialties are rated “very high risk” for exposure to COVID by both the CDC and OSHA. Today, we explore a variety of safety issues and experiences from the front lines of our operating rooms and intensive care units.

Aug 3, 2020

Paul Offit is back in the virtual studio to give the latest update on COVID-19. We discuss several potential game changers in testing and treatment, and an update on Operation Warp Speed, the quest in search of an effective vaccine. We also discuss the much debated return to school, reopening our communities, and the possibility for a return to life as we knew it... Can it be done safely? And if so, how?

Jul 27, 2020

In Part III of Overcoming Addiction with bioethicist Greg Pence, we wrap up a discussion of the seven different models of addiction in search of the cause - and cure - for drug and alcohol addiction. In the final episode of this series, Greg discusses the best aspects of each model, the corrupt rehab industry, and shares some optimism for those impacted by drug and alcohol addiction.

Jul 13, 2020

150,000 deaths per year in the U.S. from drug/alcohol overdose, or suicide by overdose is worthy of attention. As alcohol and drug addiction are on the rise in COVID World, it’s time to revisit the forgotten epidemic: drug and alcohol addiction. In Part II of our series, Greg Pence discusses seven different models of addiction in search of the cause- and the cure- for drug and alcohol addiction.

Jun 30, 2020

Alcohol and drug use are on the rise in COVID World, but in contrast to the coronavirus, there will be no vaccine for drug and alcohol addiction. When the lockdown is over, drug and alcohol misuse is likely to be worse than ever. It’s time to revisit our forgotten epidemic: drug and alcohol addiction. Greg Pence discusses seven different models of addiction in search of the explanation— and the cure— for drug and alcohol addiction.

Jun 8, 2020

There’s abundant evidence of a concerted effort by the Chinese dissembling machine to conceal what was really going on in Wuhan since the last week of December 2019. They took active measures to suppress and destroy the overwhelming evidence that SARS Coronavirus-2, a.k.a. COVID-19, was rapidly spreading from human-to-human in Wuhan for almost a month before they finally acknowledged it to the world on January 20th.

And the WHO didn’t challenge or confirm the veracity of the Official Chinese Narrative that there was “no evidence” that the novel coronavirus was spreading from human-to-human. Instead, the WHO largely echoed the false narrative, giving it credibility, for almost three weeks while COVID-19 was spreading around the world.

“Seeds of Destruction” takes a hard look at the evidence in plain sight of what Chinese leadership knew and when they knew it. It also examines the “patsy” role of the WHO in the Fiasco of the Century.

May 26, 2020

Dr. Paul Offit is an infectious disease expert, virologist, and the author of seven medical narratives. Today we discuss Overkill: When Modern Medicine Goes Too Far. Definitely worth a listen.

May 4, 2020

Knowing how a pandemic started is the key to stopping the next one.

A novel bat coronavirus first appears in Wuhan, China in late November of 2019.  This family of coronaviruses normally reside in bats living in caves 1000 miles south of Wuhan.

Understanding where the virus came from and how it entered the human reservoir will help prevent a similar pandemic in the future.  No matter what you may have heard, no one has produced evidence to prove exactly where or how the virus entered the human reservoir. There are two competing theories to explain where this virus came from and how it entered the human reservoir. Both are plausible. Both have merit.  Episode two critically examines both theories of origin.

Apr 20, 2020

The worldwide spread of COVID-19 is being called the “pandemic of the century” by some. Others are watching the debacle unfold can only wonder if the response to the COVID-19 pandemic will someday be called “the fiasco of the century.” The 24/7 news channels have created worldwide mass hysteria by reporting events from a sensationalist point of view without giving appropriate context. Civilians are terrified. The economy has been damaged for a generation. These commentaries share observations, analysis, experiences, and perspectives from a narrator who is both an observer and a participant on the front lines of healthcare. Episode 1: Ill Prepared…

Apr 8, 2020

In Wuhan China and later Italy, the healthcare system was rapidly overrun with critically ill patients and insufficient resources to save them all. When the population’s health needs vastly exceeded the system’s capacity, “utilitarian ethics” quickly replaced normal medical ethics; disaster standards of care replaced normal standards of care. Ventilators and drugs in short supply were allocated only to those patients most likely to survive; family members were not allowed to visit dying relatives in the hospital, and CPR was suspended for COVID-19 patients. Entire countries have been shut down with catastrophic economic consequences to tens of millions of people in an attempt to contain the virus. In each case, the health of the community trumped the needs of the individual. Bioethicists Arthur Caplan and Gregory Pence discuss the complex ethical issues we face in a COVID-19 world.

Apr 2, 2020

Dr. Paul Offit is a virologist and infectious disease specialist from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. We discuss the COVID surge in NY, immunity testing, the coming surge in California, the safest/best timing to lift the national quarantine, and much more.

Mar 24, 2020

As we enter the logarithmic phase of the U.S. COVID-19 epidemic, the Coronavirus Pandemic just got very real. Today we discuss the Federal government’s preparedness for this pandemic, protective gear shortages for healthcare workers on the front lines [especially N-95 masks], chloroquin, Remdesivir update, ongoing failures of testing, and much, much more. Today, Dr. Paul Offit assesses the arc we’re on and so far, it isn’t good. Definitely worth a listen.

Mar 18, 2020

The worldwide coronavirus pandemic of fear is escalating rapidly. In an attempt to avoid the spread of COVID-19 and a public health disaster “like no other,” life as we know it in the U.S. has come to a grinding halt.

Today, world renowned virologist and infectious disease specialist, Paul Offit, talks about the draconian measures being taken in the U.S. to avoid repeating the Italian experience with COVID-19. He opines on the risks of expediting a COVID-19 vaccine, the tepid promise of antivirals (Remdesivir), sane measures to minimize exposure, the likely impact of widespread COVID-19 testing in the U.S., and much, much more. Definitely worth a listen.

Mar 10, 2020

A lot has happened in the world since last week! In today’s show, Paul separates fact from fiction on what we know about COVID-19 infections. He opines on the extreme [and often irrational] measures being taken worldwide to try and contain the coronavirus epidemic. Finally, he makes some cautious predictions about what to expect in the coming weeks. One thing is clear: the pandemic of fear surrounding the coronavirus is causing far more damage worldwide than the virus. It’s definitely worth a listen.

Mar 2, 2020

When I contacted Dr. Paul Offit last Thursday for an interview on the coronavirus, he was literally at the CDC getting the latest update on what’s happening with COVID-19. In today’s show, Paul separates fact from fiction on the coronavirus and makes some cautious predictions about what to expect in the coming weeks. It’s definitely worth a listen.

Feb 17, 2020

The most cynical surgeons like to say that anesthesiology is ninety-nine percent boredom and one-percent sheer terror. Strange Daze is about the one percent.

The “one percent” can occur with any type of anesthesia, not just general anesthesia, which brings us to today’s episode: “On Pins and Needles.”

Spinal anesthesia is still a popular alternative to general technique for certain types of surgery, but every anesthetic technique has its limitations, including spinal anesthesia.

In today’s episode, our narrator learns the limitations of spinal anesthesia in his first year of anesthesia residency when assigned to the orthopedic “total joint” room.

In the hands of a master, spinal anesthesia is a beautiful and elegant alternative to general anesthesia. In the hands of an inexperienced anesthesia resident, spinal anesthesia can suddenly and unexpectedly devolve into the “one percent”.

You may be wondering how spinal anesthesia can go so wrong. Truth be told, in about a million and a half different ways… Tune in and you’ll find out how…

Oct 28, 2019

I have Dr. Paul Offit in the virtual studio to discuss seven stories of science gone wrong. The seven discoveries were initially promoted as “stunning scientific breakthroughs” but each one turned out to have a dark side that was harmful to the human race. Some of these “stunning breakthroughs” still threaten the future of our species today.  

In the final part of the interview, I ask Paul to comment on some of today’s high-profile health controversies: e-cigarettes, Bisphenol-A, PSA screening for prostate cancer, mammograms, and Genetically Modified Food, and question if perhaps we’re repeating this same “science-gone-wrong” history. Paul presents some practical advice on how we can avoid repeating these same kinds of mistakes as we tackle our top challenges in science and medicine today.

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