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Healthcare Updates

Links and commentary to healthcare news around the internet

Healthcare Update — 01-09-2012

Welcome to the New Year! I had a couple hundred e-mails with health care news sitting in my e-mail box and don’t have time to read all the articles, so I decided to declare health care news “bankruptcy,” delete all the messages and start fresh. So … back to the regularly scheduled updates, and the regularly scheduled update Satellite Edition. ———————————— He should have just called a Bambalance. After running into deer in the road, drunk driver in New York arrested for trying to take deer to the emergency department for medical care. Is loser pays a solution for frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits? Absolutely. Speaking about “loser pays,” Glenn Reynolds from Instapundit brings up a very good point regarding using loser pays in criminal cases. Why shouldn’t government attorneys have to pay for defense attorneys’ fees if the jury finds a defendant not guilty? As it stands right now, a defendant can pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees to defend himself against criminal claims with the only solace being “hey, at least you’re not going to jail.” Family of 85 year old patient on Coumadin awarded more than $200,000 when radiologist misses a 7mm subdural hematoma after patient fell and hit her head. Emergency physician and hospital were also sued, but were found not liable. Patients gone wild returns. Florida man refuses to leave emergency department without being fed a meal. When police arrive to escort him out, he whips out his Willy and urinates on the floor. Then he goes to a phone and repeatedly dials 911 to ask for a ride to another hospital. Officer complains because the guy was passing “unbearable” gas when being patted down. “Permanent hospital residents” costing billions in care because they are illegal immigrants and have no place where they can be discharged. Total cost is several million dollars per year just for one struggling New York hospital. How should the patients be managed more efficiently? Perhaps being flown to their country’s consulate and dropped off there? Thanks to DefendUSA for the link. Teens try to get high overdosing on Coricidin cold medication. Instead end up in hospital. Time for the American Academy of Pediatricians to get out their pitchforks and torches to lobby for removal of another drug from the market. JCAHO would probably be all over it, but unfortunately, the overdoses didn’t occur inside a hospital. While you’re waiting to see the doctor … would you mind doing chest compressions? Remember last year when Royal Columbian Hospital in British Columbia set up treatment beds in an adjacent coffee shop? This year, overcrowding has forced the same hospital emergency department to set up patient beds in the hospital lobby. On one hand, I applaud the emergency department staff for having the guts to do what they have to do in order to provide care to patients. On the other hand, what in the heck is wrong with the healthcare system that providers are forced to take such measures? Are all those rashes that people get when they take medications really “allergies”? This study says that they aren’t. About 25% of the time, the rashes are due to something else. From my experiences, I’d say that 25% is an underestimate. The government comes up with an updated version of the emergency severity index to determine which patients need immediate care and which do not. Anyone in “severe pain” (can you say “10 out of 10”) or having “emotional outbursts” in triage should be considered for immediate treatment. Does anyone else see a problem with where this is heading? Texas nurse ...

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Healthcare Update — 12-19-2011

VA hospital settles claim for $275,000 after leaving two “SmamWow” 14×11 sized towels in patient’s abdomen after surgery. Isn’t that some kind of “never event” according to … the agency that runs the VA hospitals? In 2010, dental problems caused 115,000 emergency department visits in Florida alone. That’s about 0.1% of all the emergency department visits in the whole country. Illinois psychiatric patient waiting in emergency department for 6 hours becomes agitated and combative prior to being transported to room. When restrained, becomes unresponsive and dies. Preliminary cause of death is “excited delirium.” Money well spent? Medicare has forked over nearly a quarter BILLION dollars in the past 10 years for … external penis pumps. That doesn’t even include implantable devices or pills like Viagra. As North Dakota oil industry booms, so does medical care. Doctor appointments are not available for several months, the wait time in the emergency department has doubled, orthopedic surgeries have tripled, oh yeah, and STDs have reached an all-time high as well. When waitresses in the area make $100/hour including tips and nurses … don’t, one nurse also considers whether to stay in health care. Good ruling or not? Ohio Supreme Court rules that medical malpractice claims must be supported by expert testimony before they can proceed to trial. Although the issue in the case was whether informed consent claims are considered medical malpractice claims for purposes of the law, were a lot of attorneys trying to win med mal trials without medical expert testimony before the ruling? Patients gone wild? Texas man walks into emergency department, says that he’s “taken something” and then passes out. Then wakes up and begins fighting throwing punches. After staff undressed him and called the police, they found a bleeding chest wound as well. New Zealand hospital says “enough is enough.” Patients who abuse medical staff will be prosecuted. Visitors gone wild? Vancouver perv walks into patient room and sexually assaults patient waiting to be checked for pelvic pain. Later arrested and charged. Patient plans to sue hospital for letting the man walk through the emergency department. Personally, I’ll take my chances with the nasal washes. Two Louisiana people die from amoebic meningoencephalitis after irrigating nasal cavities with Neti Pot. Get your flu shot before its too late. Montreal Children’s Hospital has been seeing 80-90 additional patients each day due to influenza and other respiratory illnesses. More Medicare patients are going in for their “free” annual physicals under new health care reform law. However, as Michael Cannon from the Cato Institute notes, there is no such thing as a “free” lunch. In other words, current taxpayers are picking up the tab for the “free” physicals. I’d feel a little unsafe watching eight little same-aged kids running around the mall. Court rejects fertility doctor’s appeal to have his medical license reinstated. Doc who made “Octomom” famous loses license after medical board concluded that revocation of license was “necessary to protect the public.” No, this isn’t a drive through emergency department. In a scene straight out of the first Terminator movie, an Australian teen drives his car straight through an emergency department wall, bursting a water main. Spirited medical malpractice debate takes place over at Point of Law. Ted Frank hits a home run dispelling a visiting professor’s regurgitated trial lawyer claim that lack of the threat of medical malpractice makes sloppy doctors. “Professor Svorny’s students are not allowed to sue her for any alleged educational malpractice, another cap of zero. I trust that Svorny’s lack of incentives created by liability do not reduce her efforts in teaching ….” Illinois hospital/surgeon ...

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Addressing Transgender Patients

I read this story about how transgender patients are upset because they are addressed incorrectly when they seek medical care. Because of this, some people are demanding sensitivity training for medical personnel and are alleging that “transphobia” must be occurring. “Transphobia”? Sorry, but I think that the whole transgender rights thing is going a little far when transgender people are offended because medical staff need to appropriately identify them before they receive medical care. The article states that “We tell them, hey, if a trans person comes in with a stomach ailment or a broken ankle there’s no need to go on a tangent about what different types of surgeries they may have had.” Yeah. Good advice. Knowing that a man has ovaries would  have no impact on my differential diagnosis of abdominal pain. None at all. If a woman was taken for prostate surgery because medical staff didn’t want “offend” her by asking her whether or not the “MALE” designation on her ID bracelet was incorrect, you know these same people alleging “transphobia” would be demanding that all the providers’ licenses get revoked. Don’t want to be embarrassed? Go to the hospital desk ahead of time and explain the situation or call the hospital ahead of time and discuss it with the administrator. Don’t get upset because someone is trying to properly identify you, then scream discrimination when none exists. Make it easy on us and we’ll usually try to make it easy on you. If you act unreasonably, you’re probably going to end up offended, but it won’t be because of your current or desired gender.

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Healthcare Update — 12-05-2011

Also see more medical news from around the web over at the Satellite Edition of this week’s update at ER Stories. Whooping cough resurgence in New York. More than double the number of cases than occurred in the next-largest outbreak in 2006. I renew my assertion that vaccinations should not be mandatory, but that parents who fail to vaccinate their children should be charged with endangering the welfare of a child and should incur civil liability if their children contract preventable communicable diseases or transmit those diseases to others. Now from the “how else can we justify our existence” department. JCAHO is considering whether to regulate “overuse” of health care treatments, procedures, and tests. That’s right, boys and girls, soon the clipboard brigade will descend upon hospitals and start throwing out citations if too many CT scans or surgeries are performed. You’ll have to click on the “read more” link at the above site to read about it. I avoided pasting into the story the unique URL that the link generates. That got me thinking. When is someone going to do a study showing how JCAHO is a threat to patient safety? Patients gone wild. Illinois man gets a twofer. First he’s arrested for breaking a car door at a bowling alley parking lot. Then he is arrested again after going to the emergency department and attempting to punch out a female emergency physician, hitting her in the ribs. Who are you freaks and what did you do with Bullwinkle? Flying squirrel gets loose in emergency department, repeatedly jumps from light head-on into glass window. In other news, PETA is now considering whether to pursue an EMTALA action against the hospital for failing to perform a proper screening exam before releasing the animal into the wild. And in still other news, JCAHO is considering whether to declare glass windows a threat to patient safety because patients *could* make the same mistake and run head-on into glass, killing or seriously injuring themselves. Hat tip to hashmd for the story.

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Healthcare Update – 11-28-2011

That’s why they call it dope, sister. Upset woman searching for boyfriend’s missing finger draws attention of police. Boyfriend was inside emergency department having a laceration repaired on his intact finger. Police find syringe full of methamphetamine in seat where boyfriend was sitting. Woman and boyfriend both arrested. Emergency department haiku. This guy is good. Australian government web site showing emergency department waiting times shown to post inaccurate information, not to update information for days, and alleged to be a “waste of resources.” One leader opposing the site says that “people don’t go to emergency departments unless they need to be there. If they need to be there, they will go to the closest one. Not review a website first.” Don’t worry. Nothing like this would ever happen in the US. Another article on how hospital rankings are arbitrary. Feds’ Hospital Compare website measures outcomes one way, US News measures same outcomes an entirely different way. Patients or administrators who believe either set of rankings end up being the real losers. A man with one watch always knows the time. A man with two watches is never sure. A man who reads a watch that measures time in ounces is just a dimwit.

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Healthcare Update — 11-21-2011

Late start today after some family issues and working a shift. For more medical news from around the web, see the Satellite Edition of this week’s update over at ER Stories. He swallowed WHAT? New book publishes pictures about foreign bodies in patients’ bodies — that have found their way into many orifices. Some picture excerpts from book included at this link. More patients gone wild. Maine teenager high on bath salts busts up hospital room and damages monitoring equipment to the tune of $30,000. Gets discharged from hospital straight to the Greybar Motel and charged with “terrorizing.” More patients gone wild. Man picked up by Chicago paramedics after car accident, then begins punching paramedic in the head after he gets into ambulance. Now the patient’s car is trashed and he’s charged with a felony. Home Depot isn’t the place to get silicone for your butt augmentation. If the “doctor” performing the procedure in a hotel room is using a glue gun to inject the silicone, that’s probably a good sign that you’re going to have a complication … like death. [wp_campaign_2]

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