All posts by Mark R. McLaughlin, MD

Resident Work Hours Restrictions

The Controversy Over Resident Work Restrictions

clocks-resident-workIt all started in 1984 when 18-year-old Libby Zion went to the emergency room at New York Hospital with flu-like symptoms.

The two young medical residents—physicians in training—who cared for Zion couldn’t determine the cause of her illness. They prescribed a medication that caused serotonin syndrome, a lethal interaction with a drug that she had been taking. Later that day, Zion died of cardiac arrest. Continue reading Resident Work Hours Restrictions

Trigeminal Neuralgia and Community Neurosurgery

Why Local Hospitals May Provide Higher-Quality Care

Recently I gave a lecture in Boston about a surgical procedure that can cure a rare condition called trigeminal neuralgia. People who suffer from this condition have brief attacks in which they experience excruciating pain in the face, mouth or throat.

Many patients describe this pain as similar to an electric shock. Sometimes the condition forces a person to fall to the ground, writhing in pain until the attack subsides. Some people suffering from the condition become so distraught that they consider committing suicide.

Trigeminal neuralgia occurs in 1 in 10,000 people, mostly people over 50 years old. In some cases, it can be managed with medication, but usually surgery is the only permanent cure.

Landmark Discovery

The procedure that solves this problem is called microvascular decompression. It was discovered in 1966 by a legendary neurosurgeon, Dr. Peter Jannetta, while he was a resident physician at UCLA. He made his discovery while doing anatomy research on cats. Continue reading Trigeminal Neuralgia and Community Neurosurgery

WGN Chicago News Anchor’s Wife Suffers From Trigeminal Neuralgia

It’s no secret that the physicians at Princeton Brain & Spine Care have a special interest in the treatment of Trigeminal Neuralgia and other facial pain disorders resulting from nerve problems. In fact, Dr. Mark McLaughlin trained with Dr. Peter Jannetta who developed the gold standard Jannetta Procedure for the microvascular decompression of the trigeminal nerve.

Although comparatively rare, (only about 120,000 people in the US suffer from TN) Trigeminal Neuralgia can be extremely disabling and extremely difficult to treat. There is ongoing research into the causes of Trigeminal Neuralgia, but for the moment we use a variety of strategies to treat the condition, including:

  • Medication
  • Injections
  • Microvascular Decompression
  • Gamma Knife Surgery

We’re posting this link to the story of the wife of WGN Chicago Morning News Anchor Pat Tomasulo. We wish Amy and Pat success in future treatment of the disorder.