Dr. Eugene Eisenberg was stumped. A patient who was young and fit and otherwise healthy, but had high blood sugar, had come to see him.
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Dr. Eugene Eisenberg was stumped. A patient who was young and fit and otherwise healthy, but had high blood sugar, had come to see him.
“She didn’t look at all like a diabetic patient,” Eisenberg recalled. Yet, after various tests and procedures, a specific diagnosis remained elusive.
Then “one day she was leaving the office and I shook her hand to say goodbye," the Napa endocrinologist recalled. “I felt her hand. It felt a little too puffy and soft and doughy for an athletic woman.”
All of a sudden, he had an idea.
“There’s a condition of the pituitary called acromegaly,” he described. Sure enough, Eisenberg’s suspicions were confirmed and a treatment plan was created.
It’s one of the things he likes about being a physician, Eisenberg said during an interview at his office on Thursday.
“It requires a lot of investigation and problem-solving,” he said. “And when you finally make the diagnosis, you can help people quite a bit.”
And for a long time, as it turns out. Eisenberg, 94, has been a doctor for 72 years. He’s practiced in Napa since 1995. But that streak has come to an end. Eisenberg retired on Friday from his longtime practice on Villa Lane.
“I’ve been trying to retire for at least 10 years, maybe longer,” he said during an interview last week. “I’ve gotten different endocrinologists to come up here and work with me with the idea that they’d take over the practice, and each time they turned out to be a disaster, and they either quit or something was wrong, so it didn’t work out.”
However, lately, “I’ve just begun to feel a little fatigued,” he said, emphasizing the word little.
Eisenberg didn’t originally plan to become a physician. After skipping a few grades and graduating from high school early, he studied chemistry in college. By his third year, his sister pointed out that he had finished nearly all the requirements for pre-med. So why not go on to medical school?
That’s exactly what he did.
“I applied to (UC San Francisco) and Stanford,” he recalled. “I got rejected at Stanford and got accepted at UCSF. That’s how I ended up in medicine.”
According to the National Institutes of Health, the endocrine system includes eight major glands throughout the body, including as the thyroid gland, pituitary gland, adrenal gland and pancreas. This system affects growth and development, metabolism, sexual function and mood. Diabetic patients often see an endocrinologist.
“In those days, most of the endocrine syndromes were diagnosed only when they were very far developed,” the physician said. “And as we developed newer techniques, we can (now) diagnose (patients) earlier and earlier. And one of the things I pride myself on is diagnosing an endocrine problem when nobody else would have suspected it was even there,” such as the fit woman with puffy hands.
After graduating from medical school in 1950, Eisenberg became a member of the staff at UCSF, where he worked for 20 years.
He was married for 14 years, starting in 1967, and has three children and five grandchildren.
During the Korean War, Eisenberg enlisted in the Air Force and worked as a doctor. He was stationed in the Philippines for a time, where among other duties, he found himself taking care of polio patients. “That was very difficult," he said. "In those days, we didn’t have the fancy respirators we have now. We had those big iron lungs.”
Next, Eisenberg worked at the UC Berkeley medical school (which later merged with UCSF) for another 20 years. Living in Berkeley, he saw patients part time.
“Then I kind of got burned out,” he said. “I was supposed to be practicing half time and working at the medical school half time. But actually it was practicing three-quarters of the time and working at the medical school three-quarters of the time. So really, one-and-a-half jobs.”
“I had been a sailor for a long time,” he recalled. “So I decided I was going to quit and go sailing for a few years.” Accompanied by his partner, “I got a 35-foot ketch and we left in June 1990.”
“We sailed all the way to New Zealand and Japan,” and back, he said. “Then we decided after about four years it was time to go home.”
At one point, Eisenberg became a partner in a communal-style ranch in Napa called the Green Valley Ranch. After getting to know the area, he decided to buy a home in Napa. The doctor said he figured he would work one or two days a week in Napa doing endocrinology consultations, yet “within six months, it grew into a full-time practice.”
Obviously, medicine has changed a lot over 72 years. Eisenberg likes to stay current on new treatments and therapies but does not care for the required use of electronic records.
“Doctors end up looking at their screens instead of the patients,” clicking away, he said.
“When I go in the office with a patient, I look at them; I talk to them,” Eisenberg said. “Nobody gets out of my office without some kind of examination.”
The physician waits to enter his notes in his computer until after the patient visit ends. “That leaves me with a big pile of work to do,” he said pointing to a tower of papers and folders on his desk. “I have nightmares about paperwork,” he said wryly.
Most of his patients are referred by other doctors, said Eisenberg. “I have to make the diagnosis, make the treatment and follow up on the treatment," and keep in contact with that primary care doctor.
About 35% of his practice centered on caring for diabetic patients, he added, “and that takes a lot of time because they have all kinds of new medicines coming out. You have to keep up on all that stuff.”
Those diabetic patients are among the most challenging, “because you have to teach them how to change their whole lifestyle,” especially what they eat. “(But) when you do achieve a therapeutic success, it’s very gratifying. And fortunately you do that more often than less.”
Eisenberg said he most recently had about 2,000 patients of record. Over seven decades, he estimated he’s treated tens of thousands of people — including delivering 105 babies during a medical internship rotation in obstetrics and gynecology.
He’s certainly seen the U.S. health care system change. To Eisenberg, the only logical solution to today’s health care industry is “creating a one-payer system with the government covering everybody.”
The many medical insurance companies “all have their own rules,” he said. “It just drives you crazy having to do all these pre-authorizations for this and that, whereas if it was just one payer, you wouldn’t have (to do) that. It would take at least 30 or 40% of my office work off my shoulders.”
And if he didn’t have to complete electronic medical records?
Some older Americans are cheering news of a deal on Capitol Hill that could lead to lower drug costs. The health care and climate agreement struck by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin includes multiple landmark provisions that could help Medicare beneficiaries. Among them: a $2,000-a-year-cap on prescription drug costs, and a provision allowing the federal government to directly negotiate with pharmaceutical companies. Senior citizens on costly drugs can run up bills of tens of thousands of dollars a year. David Lipschutz of the nonpartisan Center for Medicare Advocacy calls the deal “transformational” even if it doesn’t go as far as some lawmakers and advocates had hoped.
“That would supply me my life back,” he said. For example, “Today I have to spend the whole day dictating reports.”
Notably, Eisenberg was one of the few endocrinologists in Napa County. Another endocrinologist only works part time in Napa. Others are located in Fairfield, Walnut Creek and Santa Rosa. But not all are taking new patients.
A month before he closed, he sent a letter to his patients about his retirement.
One of them is Karen Dewey, 66, of Napa.
“I’ve been a diabetic since I was a teenager,” she said. For years, Dewey saw Eisenberg every three months. She credits the endocrinologist with taking the time to educate her about diabetes, keeping up with the latest treatments and suggesting new therapies.
“He’s just wonderful,” said Dewey. “And Donna Whitcraft (his medical assistant) is fabulous. It’s like the three of us are a family.”
“I really owe my life to him,” she said. When first diagnosed, “I was scared of going blind and dying. That’s how it was back then in the '70s. Now I’m healthy as a horse. And that’s what’s kept me alive, the education he gave me and how to take care of myself.”
Whitcraft said working with Eisenberg "has been absolutely wonderful. I learn something new every single day. He's just a wealth of information."
She described Eisenberg as a combination of "old school and new school." He cultivated the traditional doctor-patient relationship, but "he's up to date with all the new stuff. He's a nice mix of both worlds."
Eisenberg said other patients have also told him how much they will miss him.
“I’ve been getting hugs and kisses for a month. And I’ve been getting a lot of wine,” he said with a smile.
When asked about what he’d do after retirement, Eisenberg joked that he didn’t think he’d have much free time.
“I’m busy with home projects; I do a lot of gardening,” including caring for some 30 rose bushes in his north Napa home.
“And some people have been after me to write a book about my experience in medicine.” He could write two books, said Eisenberg. The first would be a collection of vignettes about being a physician. The second could cover basic anatomy and physiology. “Maybe: ‘Anatomy and Physiology for Dummies,’” he said with a smile.
Friday was his last day of seeing patients, yet this doctor’s work isn’t done yet.
“I still have that pile of paper to get rid of,” Eisenberg said. “That’s going to keep me busy for a month.”
You can reach reporter Jennifer Huffman at 707-256-2218 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Richmond University Medical Center (RUMC) provided free physical exams to help young athletes of all ages prepare for their upcoming sports seasons as part of a comprehensive athletic evaluation day held on July 30.
The exams were provided at RUMC’s Primary Care/Immediate Care/Walk-In Center, located at 1161 Victory Boulevard. Athletes from throughout Staten Island and Brooklyn participated in the event. A total of 33 athletes from various schools received exams that included a check of each athlete’s vision, cardiovascular fitness, and muscle reflexes, among other tests.
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Growing up in a family of doctors, you would naturally want to don a white coat and a stethoscope down the line. Adil Ahmed* says, this is why he wants to be a doctor. The 18-year-old from Jammu had attempted the National Eligibility cum Entrance test for the first time, on July 17., a couple of weeks before we spoke to him.
Adil isn't quite hopeful of getting a medical seat this year even though he thinks that the test went 'pretty well'. The reason: the number of medical seats in India are not enough to cater to the demand of the aspirants. The latest data available with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare reveals that there are 91,927 MBBS seats in India across 612 medical colleges but, 18.7 lakh people wrote NEET Undergraduate, across the country.
This means that for one medical seat, there are more than 20 people competing. These seats are spread across 322 government and 290 private colleges.
On the bright side, this academic saw a 10.3 per cent increase in the number of medical seats, reveals the MoHFW data. While 4,777 new government seats were added, the number of new seats added in private medical colleges were 4,075. Last year, India had just a little over 83,000 seats. However, this spike is still far from sufficient to match the demand. Along with the medical seats, the number of people who write NEET is also going up every year.
This year, 3.3 lakh more people wrote the exam, compared to 2021. While there were 18 people fighting for a medical seat in the country last year, this year, the number has gone up to 20.
So, what do the ones who do not score enough to get a medical seat in India do? A fraction of them go abroad to study medicine. According to the data available with the National Board of Examination, in 2021, close to 25,000 students wrote the Foreign Medical Graduate Examination.
However, Adil is not one of those students who would want to study abroad. "Medical education abroad is quite expensive for someone like me. In case I fail to make it this year, I'd write NEET again in 2023. If that fails, I'll look for another course where the competition isn't this high," he says.
Tamil Nadu and Karnataka account for a quarter of these medical seats with The former has 10,725 seats and Karnataka cumulatively has 10,145 MBBS seats. While in Tamil Nadu, most of these seats are in government colleges (5,500), most of Karnataka's medical seats are in private colleges (6,995). They are followed by Maharashtra with 9,895 medical seats spread over 62 colleges.
*Name changed on request
So-called ‘gay tests’ have been used by anti-gay governments and authorities to inflict immense physiological and physical trauma to victims for decades. From Egypt to Uzbekistan, Uganda to Saudi Arabia, forced anal tests are persecuting gay men in more than a dozen countries around the world – all with either the explicit or implicit support of governments.
In countries where same-sex sexual activity is outlawed, law enforcement officials have been documented forcing men accused of consensual same-sex relations to undergo invasive and degrading forced anal examinations. The flawed ‘evidence’ from these unscientific tests is then used by legal authorities to convict people of homosexual conduct.
“Forced anal tests are tantamount to rape,” Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation and human rights campaigner, told LGBTQ Nation. “They often inflict pain and are a form of torture: an inhuman and degrading ill-treatment. These probes are not an accurate diagnosis of homosexuality, since many gay men do not have anal sex and some straight men have relaxed anal sphincters.”
While human rights groups are working to end this practice, it’s an uphill battle.
“Countries that use anal tests are mostly highly repressive homophobic regimes that ignore human rights and international pressure,” adds Tatchell.
Victims of this practice not only face long-term physiological injury from undergoing a nonconsensual anal test, but the physical harm can be equally as damaging. While the test itself can be performed in a number of ways, it is typically conducted by either a medical professional or police officer who examines a suspect’s rectum.
In 2016, news outlets reported a gay asylum seeker from Syria was arrested in Lebanon and held at Rehanieh military police station in the country.
“He was tortured into confessing his sexual orientation, and was subjected to an improvised anal examination by means of a rod being painfully inserted into his rectum,” says Lucas Ramón Mendos, Research Coordinator at International Lesbian, Gay, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA World).
“Scars or a “conical” rectal cavity is often wrongly assumed to be evidence of regular and repeated anal intercourse,” explains Mendos.
There are a number of cases where victims of rape or other crimes are re-traumatized by anal exams after law enforcement officials arrest a rape victim, rather than the alleged rapist, due to the victim having a suspected history of anal intercourse.
A report called “Our Identities under Arrest” published by ILGA World late last year found in at least 7 countries in Africa (Cameroon, Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zambia) and 5 in Asia (Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Turkmenistan, the United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan), that governments use forced anal examinations to “prove” anal intercourse.
As Mendos notes, these are only the countries where documented cases had been discovered, with it being likely that many more unreported cases of this practice exist but have not been discovered due to police and government suppression.
Local LGBTQ advocacy groups are actively engaging with medical organizations, law enforcement groups, and legal associations to put an end to this invasive practice. Despite the clear challenges of fighting for gay rights in countries where same-sex relations are punishable by imprisonment or even death, activists have found some success in a handful of nations, including Kenya, Lebanon and Tunisia.
Tunisia has a long history of allowing anal tests, with a 2015 case of a man being sentenced to a year in prison after being forced to undergo an examination leading to the National Council of Tunisian Physicians condemning the use of non-consensual anal examinations.
In 2017, Tunisia formally accepted a recommendation to end forced anal exams. However, at the time Tunisia stated: “Medical examinations will be conducted based on the consent of the person and in the presence of a medical expert”.
In 2020, a judge in Tunisia sentenced two men suspected of being gay to prison after they refused to provide consent for an anal examination, ruling that their refusal constituted “sufficient evidence” that the “crime” of same-sex sexual activity had been committed, says Mendos.
“Since then, several examples have been documented of police and courts interpreting suspects’ refusals to undergo the exams voluntarily as evidence that they are attempting to hide their guilt,” adds Mendos.
In some nations, the use of forced anal exams is sporadic and not routine, with its deployment depending on the whim of law enforcement officers. Egypt holds the distinction of systematically subjecting LGBTQ people to forced anal exams, according to Human Rights Watch research.
“In terms of countries where we still have ongoing evidence of forced anal exams, I would say Egypt is at the top and it is built into the way that the criminal justice system handles cases of debauchery,” explains Neela Ghoshal, Senior Director of Law, Policy & Research at OutRight Action International.
Unlike the decriminalization of same-sex conduct, achieving an end to forced anal exams doesn’t require parliamentary action.
“It’s not something subject to the same kind of political winds as decriminalization because it can be achieved through regulation,” explains Ghoshal. “The approach is ‘how can we get a Ministry of Health order or an order from the Ministry of Justice calling for an end to these exams’.”
No reputable medical organization supports the use of forced anal exams. The World Medical Organization called on doctors to stop conducting these tests and urged national medical associations to educate health professionals about the “unscientific and futile nature of forced anal exams and the fact that they are a form of torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.”
Dozens of other medical groups have issued similar statements supporting the medical consensus that these forced examinations are based on outdated pseudoscience and cause immense damage to victims.
Yet many doctors who carry out forced anal exams do not do so because they believe it is an effective or accurate test but rather due to external pressure.
“In almost all cases, [doctors] do feel as if they are being forced to conduct the exams because police or prosecutors come to them requesting, or in some cases with a court order, that they conduct the exam,” says Ghoshal.
Of the doctors Ghoshal has interviewed who have conducted these exams, she found many who were adamantly opposed to these exams and knew that scientifically they didn’t show anything of value and also recognized they were causing harm.
“We had a Lebanese doctor, for instance, who had conducted these exams and was then willing to go on video and publicly denounced them and say, “I have done this, this is a horrible thing for a doctor to participate in and these exams are useless.”
Some doctors, however, firmly stood by the exams.
“I had the impression that they, in some cases, got some sadistic pleasure out of humiliating gay people by conducting the exams,” concludes Ghoshal.
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ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. — Katie Heitzman and Claire Schaef didn’t just pass the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology certification exam. They did so with distinction.
Heitzman and Schaef, who graduated from St. Bonaventure University in May with degrees in biochemistry, were among only 12% of graduating seniors nationwide who passed the ASBMB test with distinction, meaning they attained scores of “proficient or above” on 10 of the 11 test questions.
Overall, only 43% of the 1,052 students passed the test to achieve certification (“proficient or above” on at least eight questions).
“Compared to the national average of below 50% for ASBMB certification, this is strong evidence for the preparedness that our biochemistry program provides for our students,” said Dr. Xiaoning Zhang, biology professor and director of the biochemistry program.
“I’m very proud of Katie and Claire. They worked hard and persevered, especially during the pandemic. These are invaluable traits that the workforce is looking for.”
The certificate test has been offered to graduating biochemistry seniors at St. Bonaventure every year since 2018, when SBU’s program earned ASBMB accreditation. Since then, about 90% of SBU’s students who took the test achieved certification, almost all with distinction, Zhang said.
The certification test is designed to test students’ knowledge and understanding of the core competencies in biochemistry and molecular biology developed by the ASBMB and its members. Questions have been structured to assess these concept areas at different levels of cognitive skills and abilities.
A GRADUATE of University of Mindanao in Davao City (UM-Davao) topped the June 2022 Criminologist Licensure Examination.
Based on the latest result released by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) on Monday, July 25, Bachelor of Science in Criminology graduate Lyen Carel Garcia ranked first out of ten top notchers nationwide with a rating of 90.70 percent.
He is also only one of two top notchers from a Mindanao institution, along with Jelera Cumayas from the Iligan Medical Center College Inc. who ranked tenth with a rating of 88.15 percent.
In a viral online post, Garcia posted a photo that showed the four sides of his room were mounted with study notes and reviewers, and the stacks of books that guided him throughout his review for the exam.
“There's no success without hardship. Kung gusto mo, pagpapaguran mo (You have to work hard for what you want),” Garcia said in his social media post on July 25.
Meanwhile, Garcia’s alma mater, UM-Davao, earned a 60.87 percent passing rate wherein 154 passed out of 253 examinees. Of this, 73.42 percent or 116 first time examinees passed, as well as 40 percent or 57 repeat takers.
The UM Digos College have a 58.33 percent passing rate wherein 63 passed out of 108 hopefuls. In UM-Tagum, 129 passed out of 307 resulting in a passing rate of 42.02 percent, while UM-Bansalan had 34.18 percent composed of 27 passers out of 79 examinees.
Other institutions also garnered significant passing rates, including Saint Mary’s College Tagum with 66.67 percent, Davao Central College with 47.12 percent, Davao Oriental State College of Science and Technology with 44.57 percent, and Cor Jesu College Holy Cross of Digos with 44 percent.
Holy Cross of Davao College earned a 30.61 percent passing rate, Davao Winchester Colleges with 26.23 percent, and Holy Child School of Davao with 24 percent.
According to PRC, 12,698 examinees passed the June 2022 Criminologist Licensure Examination out of 41,913 total takers.
The University of the Cordilleras, with 94.37 percent passing rate, is the top performing school with 50 or more examinees and with at least 80 percent passing percentage. It is followed by the University of Iloilo with 84.48 percent. ICM