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Howard Fischer, MD


Pityriasis Rosea in Dark-Skinned Children

January 13, 2011

In the course of studying azithromycin as a treatment for pityriasis rosea (PR) which we found does not work, we collected much data on the distribution, morphology, and course of the lesions.

Assigning Blame in Medicine: Where Are We Headed?

January 10, 2011

Warning: this is a column about political correctness. If you find it impossible to be judgmental in any situation, or are incapable of offering decisive opinions about anything, you are advised to go no further-your feelings will be hurt.

To Tie or Not to Tie: The Dilemma of the Supernumerary Digit

October 08, 2010

An 11-day-old African American boy was brought in for a well-baby visit. Pregnancy, labor, and delivery had been uncomplicated.


October 01, 2008

When I was growing up in Brooklyn in the 1950s, kids started their preparations for Halloween after dinner on October 31. We would find an old mask, or make one out of a paper bag; wealthier kids might buy one. I would grab a pillowcase to hold my "loot" and take off. Neighbors would give us store-bought candy or homemade cookies or cupcakes. It didn't occur to anyone that an unwrapped, unsealed item could be dangerous. Older kids were the real danger: they would steal our goodies and often beat us up.

Beating the Checker Man

September 01, 2007

This story was told to me by Dr W, a pediatric resident whom I run into every now and then. He swears that it's true. He had an afternoon to kill one Sunday in late August, before taking call that night, so he went to the Hamtramck Street Festival. Hamtramck is a small city completely surrounded by the city of Detroit. Until 20 or 25 years ago, it was populated nearly almost entirely by families of Polish origin--immigrants and their descendants. Then, as in other Rust Belt cities, time and unemployment produced some drastic changes. The city became poorer; physical decay became more evident. Immigration from Albania, Yugoslavia, the Middle East, Pakistan, and Bangladesh reduced the Polish majority. Still, it's the only city in North America that has a park with a statue of Pope John Paul II. "A touch of Europe in America" say the bumper stickers.

Winter 1979

August 01, 2007

This happened over 25 years ago, but she remembers it clearly. . . . at the time, she was a pregnant intern on the infant-toddler ward of the busiest children's hospital in the Midwest. It was December, and the ward was jumping. One of her patients, Tony, a 3-month-old with tracheomalacia and severe croup was sick and not improving much. Tony's mother was worried mainly about her son, but there were other things. She had recently come north after being laid off in Alabama. Her unemployment had quickly led to homelessness. She had a brother in town, and she had moved in with him. When she arrived, she found out that he was a heroin addict. He was uninterested in her and her son, and his house was unsafe.