What is a Medical Staff?

119543789489042057caduceus_ryland_sanders_01.svg.thumbNot a question that comes up often in conversation, but when it does, many people will envision the caduceus, a staff associated with the messenger god, Hermes, in Greek mythology. With two wings at the top and entwined with two snakes, it is often mistakenly assumed to be a symbol of healing. In fact, Hermes, known as the  god of commerce, moved between the world of man and the world of gods, acting as a messenger and the link between mortals and the Olympians.

Sodownloadme may be familiar with the more correct, but lesser-known symbol, the Rod of Asclepius, which is entwined with a single serpent and wielded by the Greek god, Asclepius, a deity associated with healing and medicine. In spite of the symbols carried by these gods, there is a more down-to-earth meaning to the term medical staff.

When a health crisis occurs, most patients put their lives in the hands of the doctors in the nearest hospital. They do so in good faith, without knowing what goes on behind the scenes in order to protect them from unqualified medical practitioners.

If you’ve ever been a patient in a hospital, you were probably admitted by your primary care physician. And that’s where the hospital’s medical staff comes in.

Hospital-based television shows are unlikely to demonstrate the rigorous process your doctor went through to earn the privilege of admitting you to a specific hospital. It would not pass as entertainment.

The process began when your physician was required to provide proof of medical education and training as well as letters of reference from any former hospital where he or she possessed privileges. A credentialing committee then scrutinized the request for membership and privileges and verified the physician’s credentials. Once privileges were granted, the physician spent a period of time being monitored by a senior member of the medical staff. And that’s just the beginning.

To remain on the medical staff, your doctor must regularly fulfill continuing education requirements by attending pertinent educational programs. To retain treatment privileges, he or she must serve on medical staff committees and must attend mandatory medical staff department meetings. On top of that, all physicians who are granted medical staff membership must abide by the medical staff bylaws and are subject to having the quality of their patient care scrutinized by their peers.

The next time you’re in a hospital, either as a patient or a visitor, rest assured that hospital’s medical staff organization is working in the background. Let the television version of hospital life entertain you, but be grateful for real life, where the less entertaining work of upholding the quality of the medical staff goes on, ensuring that you and your loved ones are in good hands.

checked_out_300 (1)CHECKED OUT, book two of the Aimee Machado Mystery series, will be released October 1, 2015. Available for pre-order now, it introduces Aimee’s colleague Cleo Cominoli, Director of Medical Staff Services at Timbergate Medical Center. When Cleo becomes suspicious of a controversial and potentially dangerous woman surgeon on the medical staff, she enlists Aimee’s help and the excitement begins.

Discovering the Azores

When I bring up the subject of the Azores Islands in conversations about vacation destinations, most people I know respond with a blank look. They may have heard of the archipelago, but in most cases, have no idea where the islands are located.

Manadas shoreline

That response changes when conversing with someone of Portuguese descent. Portuguese Americans whose great- or great-great-grandparents emigrated from the Azores know exactly where the islands are. They’re situated in the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 900 miles off the coast of Portugal, somewhere in the vicinity of the fabled lost city of Atlantis. More than one theorist has explored the possibility that the Azores Islands are the remnants of Atlantis. But that’s another story.

In contrast to today’s typical island tourist traps, the Azores are relatively untouched by commercialism and have retained their charm. Tourists are welcome and find it very easy to enjoy the many lovely features of these islands. A four hour flight from Boston brings visitors to a refreshing world of islands with diverse vacation pastimes. Hiking, swimming, sailing, whale watching, or simply lying on a pristine beach under a Mediterranean sky.

Hydrangea Hedges

The visual feast alone is worth the trip. Green hills bordered by giant hydrangea hedges, rocky slopes dropping to a shoreline dotted by rustic villages untouched by time. Harbors filled with yachts making this ideal pit stop on their way to or from faraway destinations.Horta Marina

The gustatory feast is one to be savored and remembered long after the experience. The subtle green wine and the cheeses made from the truly happiest cows on earth would be enough to sustain most travelers. But that’s just the beginning. There is nothing as delightful as Portuguese cuisine. Fresh-baked breads, chicken prepared in succulent recipes, myriad seafood dishes, of course, and roast beef flavored with secrets handed down for who knows how many generations? Perhaps from the inhabitants of Atlantis.Atlantis

For folks who dream of finding that mythical location, the Azores Islands might be the next best thing.

The Aimee Machado Mysteries feature a protagonist whose parents have retired and moved to the island if Faial in the Azores. They are very happy with their new life. So far, they are unaware of Aimee’s tendency to get caught up in solving murders that involve her job as a hospital librarian in northern California.

Many websites feature visits to the Azores. One good example is www.visitazores.com.

Did the Cutting Horse Kill the Cowboy?

In Checked Out, the second book in the Machado Mystery series, a cutting horse with championship potential is blamed for the death of its owner, rodeo cowboy Cody O’Brien. Aimee is convinced Game Boy is not the killer and suspects a prominent woman surgeon at the hospital where they both work had a reason to want Cody dead. No one knows why he fled the hospital the night before his surgery. Was it was the surgeon’s appalling bedside manner? Was it because she would be operating on a very tender and private part of his anatomy? Or was it something even more frightening?

Aimee joins forces with her brother, Harry, and Nick, her off-again, on-again boyfriend, to clear Game Boy’s name and find the real killer. Game Boy’s future hangs in the balance. Will he be put down, or will he have a future on the cutting horse circuit?

And just what is a cutting horse? It’s an animal whose job is an important part of the process of bringing beef to dinner tables all over the world. Cattle ranchers use cutting horses to isolate specific animals from the herd for many purposes, including vaccinations and branding.

Cutting-Horse

Today’s cutting horses are super athletes in competitive events that are growing more and more popular. Prices paid for a horse with championship potential or a proven record can reach into six figures, with some buyers willing to pay as much as $200,000 for the right animal. And that price tag can be recouped with one very good year on the circuit.

So how did Game Boy help Aimee, Nick and Harry identify the real killer? Well, that’s the mystery.

For more about cutting horses visit these sites:

www.NCHAcutting.com

www.SouthPointcutting.com

 

 

A Day at the Dojo

What’s a girl to do when it’s two against one? Or when he has a gun?

These situations bring tension into the life of forensic librarian Aimee Machado, heroine of the Machado Mystery series. It would be easy to give her a black belt in jujitsu and let her wreak havoc on her attackers. But would it be honest? Only if it’s real.

Aimee isn’t Bat Girl or Wonder Woman. She’s just as real as any woman who opens the pages of Due for Discard or Checked Out. Well, she would be just as real, if she weren’t a fictional character.

The point here is that everything that happens in the Machado Mystery series is based in reality. If it happens in the books, it could happen in real life.

Of course, Aimee is a bit of a magnet for trouble. First it was two guys with a tire iron and some bad ideas. That’s when she got serious about her martial arts workouts. When the big, mean dude with a gun came along, she was ready.XG8D0964

If she isn’t dealing with difficult doctors in her job at Timbergate Medical Center, or at home in her cozy studio apartment above her grandparents’ llama barn, Aimee can be found working out at her local dojo.

Remember, women’s self-defense isn’t just something that spices up books and movies. It’s available to all women who want to be the heroines of their own stories. And it’s real.

The American Judo and Jujitsu Federation (AJJF) is a worldwide organization of martial arts schools dedicated to the preservation and promulgation of the Danzan Ryu system of Jujitsu. http://www.ajjf.org/

 

 

Dangerous Fashion

ear plug gaugesTurns out the fashion trend involving ear plug gauges could be a problem for a bad guy. They come in all sized these days, and the idea is to make a hole in the earlobe, insert the ear plug, usually hollow, and then let the earlobe stretch until a larger size plug can be used.  The problem with this fashion, besides its yuck factor, is that in hand-to-hand combat, it gives the other guy an edge. Just recently, the heroine in CHECKED OUT managed to break away from her attacker after she slipped a finger through his ear lobe hole, conveniently stretched out by the ear gauge. One good yank, and she had a bloody chunk of his ear and his ear gauge in her hand. He took off, howling, but with the DNA from the ear, and a little forensic help, he’s sure to be apprehended.

 

 

Who killed the cowboy?

First draft of my latest hospital librarian mystery is almost finished, but I can’t keep it under 90,000 words unless I leave out the last two chapters. But then no one would know who killed the rodeo cowboy. Guess I’ll go back and take out the parts people don’t read. But I’m keeping the llamas. And the scary woman doctor who operates on . . . well, that’s TMI.