Monday, April 2, 2018

When to Go to the Emergency Room


As attending physician in a busy Baltimore hospital’s emergency department, Dr. Kenneth “Ken” Mwatha cares for patients with a variety of life-threatening conditions, including heart attacks and serious trauma. Before establishing himself, Dr. Ken Mwatha underwent his residency in emergency medicine through Johns Hopkins Hospital, one of the most highly ranked hospitals in the world.

Patients may be reluctant to go to the emergency room (E.R.) since it costs significantly more than an office visit with their primary care doctor. However, emergency rooms can deliver life-saving interventions for time-sensitive conditions, and therefore patients with serious or alarming symptoms ought not to hesitate to visit their local E.R. 

One condition that necessitates a visit to the E.R. for immediate care is a heart attack. Symptoms of a heart attack include chest pain, shortness of breath, and a sudden outbreak of sweating. Ignoring these symptoms or delaying treatment can result in serious consequences, including death.

Moreover, any symptoms that interrupt or prevent breathing, like those coming as a result of allergic reactions, require immediate medical attention. The same goes for bleeding events such as those caused by deep cuts or internal injuries.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Phife Dawg Speaks Out against Sugar Addition before Dying of Diabetes


Dr. Kenneth “Ken” Mwatha is an experienced emergency physician who holds a doctor of medicine from Johns Hopkins University. For the past five years, he has treated patients in the emergency room of a hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. Outside of work, Dr. Ken Mwatha enjoys listening to the music of the classic rap group A Tribe Called Quest.

One of the two MCs in A Tribe Called Quest, Phife Dawg (born Malik Taylor), passed away from diabetic complications in March of 2016. His death came after a lengthy struggle with diabetes that was complicated by what he recognized as a powerful addiction to sugar. 

As a result of his serious diabetic condition, Phife Dawg underwent a kidney transplant in 2008. Three years later he referred to his continuing addiction to sugar as a “sickness” and equated sugar with harder drugs in a 2011 documentary about the band. He admitted that his dependency on sugar caused him to live in a state of denial about his diabetes.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

ACEP Studies ER Physician Interruptions


For nearly five years, Dr. Kenneth (Ken) Mwatha has served as an attending physician at the Department of Emergency Medicine at Saint Agnes Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. Alongside his work, Dr. Ken Mwatha maintains membership in the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).

A recent study appearing in the Annals of Emergency Medicine - a journal of the ACEP - looks at the interruptions that emergency room physicians face daily and how to effectively deal with them. According to the research, ER doctors are interrupted an average of 12.5 times each our, with nearly half of the interruptions coming while they are doing computer work. More than 87 percent of all interruptions come from other staff members. 

Researchers suggest several strategies for managing these interruptions, including the creation of environmental cues, such as strategic placement of a mouse cursor, to refresh the mind on the task at hand. Researchers also suggest there may be times when it is appropriate to reject the interruption altogether until the task at hand is completed.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Three Decades of A Tribe Called Quest


A graduate of the John Hopkins School of Medicine, Dr. Kenneth “Ken” Mwatha is an emergency physician in Baltimore, Maryland. Outside of his work, Dr. Ken Mwatha spends his free time reading, studying astronomy, traveling, and listening to music. His favorite musical group is A Tribe Called Quest. 

Formed in New York in 1985, A Tribe Called Quest is a hip-hop collective that was originally led by the trio of Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, and Ali Shaheed Muhammad. The group is known for rap music that employs jazz and Afro-centric elements behind lyrics that address social issues relevant to African-American youth. 

The group’s early discography includes its 1990 debut, People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, and the well-received 1991 sophomore effort, The Low End Theory. The group went on to release three more albums in the ‘90s before splitting up in 1998. 

After a long-awaited return to the studio, the group released 2016’s We Got It from Here…Thank You for Your Service. The 16-track album features guest appearances by Elton John, Jack White, and Kendrick Lamar. The album also includes contributions from Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor, who died several months before the album’s release.

Monday, November 20, 2017

ACEP Study Provides New Perspectives on Dealing with Opioid Crisis


Ken Mwatha received his bachelor of science in zoology from the University of Wyoming. He went on to pursue a medical degree from the John Hopkins School of Medicine. Since 2013, Ken Mwatha has served as an attending physician at St. Agnes Hospital Department of Emergency Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Mwatha is also a member of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).

Established in 1968, ACEP is a professional organization that caters to physicians who provide emergency care. To date, the organization has a membership of 34,000 with mostly emergency physicians, residents, and medical students joining. Apart from upholding the highest standards of emergency care provision, ACEP also provides an avenue for sharing profession-related research at its annual meeting. 

During this year’s meeting, a study was presented that provides some new insights into the ongoing opioid crisis. The ACEP president, Paul Kivela, acknowledged that the crisis has drastically affected emergency departments across the nation. According to the study led by Harvard Medical School professor Scott Weiner, MD, FACEP, despite the improved availability of the opioid overdose antidote Naloxone in emergency departments, around ten percent of those who are treated for an opiod overdose die within a year. This means that even though overdose patients have received the appropriate treatment, they should still be considered as high-risk for an overdose and should be referred to more resources, such as counseling.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

US News Recognizes Excellence of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine


Dr. Kenneth (Ken) Mwatha serves as an attending physician in the emergency department of a Baltimore hospital. In preparation for his career, Dr. Ken Mwatha earned an MD and completed an emergency-medicine residency at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

A key institution in the development of the medical-education model in the United States, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine today stands out among the best medical schools in the country. In March of 2017, US News & World Report again confirmed this prestigious status when it awarded the School of Medicine the No. 3 ranking on the publication’s 2018 list of the Best Medical School for Research.

In garnering this high ranking, the Johns Hopkins school beat out all but two of the 118 medical schools that submitted the necessary data to US News. This marks the sixth consecutive year the School of Medicine has finished in third place on the publication’s list. Unlike in 2017, however, when it shared the rank with two other institutions, the School of Medicine took sole possession of the third spot on the 2018 list, coming in behind only the medical schools at Harvard University and Stanford University.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Data Highlights Growing Importance of Emergency Rooms


Kenneth “Ken” Mwatha, MD, treats patients in need of emergency care at a hospital in Baltimore. Board-certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine, Ken Mwatha, MD, also affiliates with the American College of Emergency Physicians.

In a September 2017 press release, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) reported on data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Providing further evidence of the importance of ERs, the data showed the number of emergency visits in the United States exceeded 141 million in 2014, a more than 10 million increase from the previous year and the highest recorded total in history. 

The ACEP points to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act as the reason for the jump in emergency visits. In fact, 2014 marked the first year that patients covered by Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program received more care in ERs than any other insured or uninsured group. According to Becky Parker, MD, president of the ACEP, trips to the ER are expected to rise further, as forthcoming data will likely show the number of annual emergency visits moved past 150 million in 2016.

Beyond the growth in the amount of emergency care, the CDC data elucidated a positive trend of patients coming to ERs with severe and complex issues, as opposed to those seeking nonemergency care. Despite the increase in emergency visits and the level of treatment needed, the ACEP reports that waiting times continue to fall, with nearly a third of patients seeing a medical professional in less than 15 minutes.