Three Factors Contributing to Antibiotic Overprescription

Zachary Lutsky
Zachary Lutsky

Zachary Lutsky, MD, has been working as an emergency medicine physician for more than a decade. During this time he has cared for patients at several institutions, including Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and earned board certification in emergency medicine. Beyond that, Zachary Lutsky, MD, has developed a professional interest in such topics as antibiotic overprescription.

According to research from the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly one in three prescriptions of antibiotics is unnecessary. This habit of over prescribing antibiotics contributes to the increasing number of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Following are several things driving this unnecessary antibiotic use:

Patient satisfaction

When patients visits their doctors, they often expect that they will receive a prescription, regardless of whether the prescription is necessary or not. Some patients will demand that antibiotics be prescribed, while others won’t. Still, whether it’s perceived by the physician or real, the pressure for doctors to prescribe something to patients influences their decision to prescribe antibiotics more frequently.

Safety

Physicians aren’t always sure what’s making a patient sick. Often certain conditions, such as a cold, shares remarkably similar symptoms to more serious illnesses, like pneumonia. To protect their patients from an undiagnosed or misdiagnosed illness, many doctors will prescribe antibiotics as a safeguard.

Decision fatigue

Doctors are responsible for repeatedly diagnosing and treating many of the same conditions. This ultimately leads to decision fatigue, a situation that occurs when a physician’s decision-making abilities decline due to making repetitive choices about treatment. It’s believed that decision fatigue plays a role in the inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics, and interestingly, studies have shown that physicians are more likely to prescribe antibiotics later in their workday.

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Commonly Overlooked Symptoms of Heart Attacks

Heart Attacks
Image: webmd.com

A board certified emergency medicine physician, Zachary Lutsky received his MD from RFU/Chicago Medical School more than 15 years ago. Since then he has served as an attending physician at such institutions as Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Santa Clara Valley Medical. Over the course of his career, Dr. Zachary Lutsky has dealt with such conditions as heart attacks.

Most people are familiar with the typical symptoms of a heart attack, such as pain in the arms and chest discomfort. However, not every heart attack victim experiences pain in these areas. In fact, some individuals have pain or aches in other areas of the body, including the neck, stomach, or jaw. This pain often appears after exercise and will disappear as someone rests, thus leading many people to believe the pain is exercise-related.

Beyond pain, individuals struggling with a heart-related problem may experience fatigue that is unrelated to medicines or illnesses. When heart-related, fatigue is often described as a general weakness in the body that is associated with subtle symptoms, including shortness of breath. Since these associated symptoms are often minimal, individuals often overlook them.

Another common symptom of heart attack that gets overlooked, particularly in women, is indigestion. While indigestion and other stomach issues are a common occurrence for some, they may also precede a heart attack. For this reason, individuals should always contact their doctor whenever they have any unexplained indigestion.

Heart Attacks – Causes and Risk Factors

Zachary Lutsky
Zachary Lutsky

An experienced emergency physician, Dr. Zachary Lutsky is trained to provide lifesaving care to patients undergoing heart attacks and other urgent health events, as he did during his service at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. In preparation for his career, Dr. Zachary Lutsky underwent his emergency medicine residency at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in nearby Torrance.

A heart attack occurs when the flow of oxygen-rich blood supplied by the coronary arteries is blocked or reduced, imperiling heart function. If enough damage occurs, the heart goes into arrest, which can quickly lead to death. Patients with coronary artery disease have a buildup on the artery wall called plaque, made up of fat, proteins and other material. When the plaque cracks, the body sends blood-clotting factors to the site. The resulting clot can interrupt blood flow to the heart, giving rise to a heart attack. Coronary artery spasms, a less common cause,also interrupt blood flow to the heart.

Some risk factors for heart attack include uncontrollable issues like age and family history. However, many other factors are related to lifestyle and can be addressed by changes in behavior, like quitting smoking, adopting a healthier diet, and exercising.

Understanding Level 1 Trauma Centers

Dr. Zachary Lutsky served as an attending physician in the emergency department at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, for 11 years. Over his tenure at the Level 1 trauma center, Dr. Zachary Lutsky treated patients with a variety of serious injuries.

Though the meaning of the designation “Level 1” can vary from state to state, certain characteristics are common nationwide. Level 1 means that the facility offers trauma patients the highest level of surgical care. A Level 1 trauma center can usually care for patients with any type of injury and can provide the full range of support services, including those related to rehabilitation and trauma prevention.

Sometimes, different parts of a facility will have different designations. A facility may, for instance, be a Level 1 trauma center for pediatrics and a Level 2 center for adults.

Patients can expect a Level 1 trauma facility to deliver care on a 24-hour basis. Moreover, that care may be general or specialized. For example, procedures may be aided by specialists like plastic surgeons, anesthesiologists, cardiologists, radiologists, and other professionals.