About James Allen, MD

I am a Professor of Internal Medicine at the Ohio State University and the Medical Director of Ohio State University East Hospital

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

A couple of weeks ago, I got one of those calls that you dread as a medical director. I was in the office seeing pulmonary patients and one of the hospital supervisors paged me to tell me that a nurse covering patients on one of the hospital floors smelled alcohol on the breath of one of […]

Do Happy Doctors Make Less Money?

I was reading over the 2016 Medscape Physician Compensation Report and was struck by some of the results. Every year, Medscape does a survey of physicians about their income, job satisfaction, demographics, etc. Last year, 19,200 physicians, responded to the survey and it unveiled some curious results. Perhaps not surprisingly, the 6 specialties with the […]

Medicaid Reduces Emergency Department Use

A couple of months ago, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown visited our hospital to do a press announcement about legislation that he and Senator John McCain were sponsoring. After the formal event, I spent a few minutes speaking with Senator Brown. I was telling him about how we had seen a decrease in our emergency department visits […]

The Nuns Versus Blue Cross

Anyone who has been to our hospital recognizes it right away. It is circular. If you are driving from the east into Columbus on interstate 70, it rises up in front of you like a giant cylinder on the horizon. Each nursing unit is round and the patient rooms are all on the outside, like slices […]

Found Down With A Needle In The Arm

“39 yo female presented in cardiac arrest after being found down with needle in her arm. Multiple epinephrine and Narcan given prior to arrival with no ROSC. Resuscitation continued briefly with PEA on monitor and patient was pronounced dead.” Every week, we review all deaths in the hospital. One of our quality nurses summarizes each case […]

The Anachronism Of Tenure

Tenure [ten-yer] noun:  Guaranteed permanent employment, especially as a teacher or lecturer, after a probationary period. In academic medicine, the ultimate professional achievement is tenure. But what, exactly, is tenure? Historically, it meant that if you proved yourself, you got tenured and you were given academic freedom to do whatever research you wanted and the freedom […]

Hand Washing Deniers

We do monthly audits of how compliant our hospital personnel are with hand hygiene. Last month, our hospital hit 97% and the month before, 98%.  The policy is that everyone (doctors, nurses, physical therapists, housekeeping, etc.) has to sanitize their hands when entering a patient room and again when exiting a patient room. No exceptions. […]

America’s Declining Life Expectancy?

I got on the Social Security Administration’s Life Expectancy Calculator and found out that I’m probably going to live until 83.1 years. That means that October 2041 is going to be a bad month for me. Two weeks ago, the Center for Disease Control reported that for the first time since 1993, the U.S. life expectancy decreased […]

A Safe Operating Room Is A Cold Operating Room

On Monday, I got a text message from our hospital’s Chief of General Surgery at 6:40 AM that the operating rooms were in excess of 100° F. When the air temperature in the OR is too high, it is not only uncomfortable for the surgeons and OR staff who are all wearing surgical gowns, it […]

Diversion Is Deadly

Every day, I get an email with all of the statistics from the previous day’s emergency department activity. The one statistic that can drive me crazy is the emergency department diversion hours. These occur when the ER goes on “divert” status which means that emergency squads are told to bypass our emergency department and take […]