Patient Education

Here you will find important and useful information to help you become a more informed patient about the medical care you receive. We believe every patient benefits from knowing beforehand what to expect and being actively involved in their own care.


The patient was an elderly male, a member of a prominent royal family, who became a ruthless ruler of a European principality. Little is known about his medical background, family history, or details about his final illness except that he was obese and a nonsmoker. From what is now known about his cause of death, it is likely that disturbing symptoms would have appeared several months before his terminal illness and would have included abdominal pain, constipation accompanied by vomiting, and weight loss. He probably would have noted blood in his stool. He did not undergo any diagnostic procedures nor did he undergo any operations. During his reign, he was feared as a ruthless but energetic king, ruling over a large geographic area. He survived several life-threatening attacks by conspirators. There may also have been attempts to poison him. To the great relief of his subjects, he died at age 63 after ruling for 36 years. Several hundred years after his death, the patient's body was exhumed so that an autopsy could be performed. It revealed a definitive pathologic diagnosis for his final illness.

Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta recently launched the most comprehensive population-based clinical study to date of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). The study includes about 90 patients from Atlanta who will participate in the three-day in-patient clinical trial. Researchers hope results from the study will help them better understand how the syndrome affects people and lead to more successful treatment.

The number of physicians overseeing a patient's care has a significant effect on that individual's length of stay in the hospital, according to a study of more than 10,000 hospitalized patients.

Much attention has been paid to the effect of hospital staffing problems on clinicians with respect to issues such as work–life balance, said lead author Kenneth R. Epstein, MD, from IPC The Hospitalist Company Inc, North Hollywood, California. "But much less focus has been given to the impact of discontinuity of care on patient length of stay and other utilization and quality metrics," Dr. Epstein explained here at Hospital Medicine 2008, the annual meeting of the Society of Hospital Medicine.

An innovative program helps elderly patients avoid the pitfalls associated with making the transition from hospital to home, Param Dedhia, MD, instructor in the Collaborative Internal Medicine Service, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Baltimore, Maryland, reported here at Hospital Medicine 2008, the Society of Hospital Medicine annual meeting.

Professor, Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology
Northwestern University
The Feinberg School of Medicine
Chicago, IL

William J. Gradishar, MD, is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois, and a member of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. He also serves as director of Breast Medical Oncology, associate director of the Lynn Sage Comprehensive Breast Program, and program director of Northwestern University's Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Training Program. His research focuses on the development of novel therapeutics for the treatment of breast cancer.