Home / Healthcare Updates (page 3)

Healthcare Updates

Links and commentary to healthcare news around the internet

Healthcare Update – 06-09-2015

Check out other news from around the web on my other blog at EPMonthly.com Super glue mistaken for sexual lubricant, patients brought in by ambulance – stuck together by their genitals. Or maybe not. Turns out Scott Paulson, a reporter from Examiner.com, was punked by a GomerBlog-like headline. Newswatch 28.com reported the original story, along with other stories about a woman who has been pregnant for two years and how the FDA has approved tranquilizer darts for use in children. He did verify the story on RoastRoom.com, which was surrounded by ads about disturbing photos, gut yeast, and a baby born without a nose. Mr. Paulson’s article turns up as a 404 error now, but the Google Cache from his article is here. A screen capture is here. I know I’ve linked to some questionable articles in these Updates over the years, but this whole episode just struck me as funny. By the way, did you know that a woman was banned from KFC for breastfeeding her 48 year old son? It’s true. It was reported on Newswatch 28.com. In 2001, Portugal decriminalized use of all drugs. What effect did this move have on drug deaths? The latest statistics released from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction show that Portugal has the second lowest rate of drug overdose deaths in all of the European Union. Don’t know whether we can equate correlation with causation, but the numbers are still pretty impressive. Dammit. To think that I just got done making a fresh pot of placenta soup. Despite what you hear on television and despite what other animal species do, there is no convincing evidence that eating a placenta after birth will prevent pain, prevent postpartum depression, boost milk production, or provide any other health benefits. I could be really gross right now, but I’ll just leave it at that. What do patients want from their insurance programs? A survey by … America’s Health Insurance Plans … says that patients don’t value choices and would accept narrow networks. In addition patient’s reportedly don’t care whether their physician is in network as only 26% said they would leave a network if their doctor stopped participating in it. The thing is that the “Vice President for Medical Transformation” at Highmark said that insurance companies are more than willing to kick doctors out of networks if the doctors don’t “change” by holding down costs. So the doctors in network may be more likely to take the cheapest course of action in treating a patient’s complaint. Fast care, cheap care, quality care. Pick any two. Cost effective use of DNA analysis – to catch the Chili’s worker who hawked a loogie in your drink. It only took three months for the results to come back, though.The next step toward curbing medication abuse. Hospitals in Wyoming now forming committees of administrators and doctors to create lists of medication abusers. If a patient’s name is flagged in the system, the hospital will send out certified letter to the patient stating that they will not be prescribed painkillers for anything other than a dire emergency. One New Mexico hospital that took this approach cut down its number of emergency department visits by 5% and saved $500,000 in one year. Of course then patients will complain about the emergency physicians who refuse to prescribe the pain medications. This study will be cited liberally in accusing emergency physicians of being the source of opiate addiction. A study in Annals of Emergency Medicine shows that patients who have never used opioids in the past and who receive their first ...

Read More »

Healthcare Update — 05-27-2015

Patient in Ontario Canada’s Guelph General Hospital emergency department has “interaction” with two police officers, both officers whip out their guns and shoot the patient dead. No further information available. Kentucky newspaper reminds everyone that stroke is an emergency and requires immediate care. Anyone having signs of a stroke should immediately contact Dr. Louis Caplan at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Don’t waste your time in “dangerous” emergency departments. I wasn’t being serious about contacting Louis Caplan. If you have signs of a stroke, go to your nearest emergency department. We’ll get you the help you need regardless of what some ivory tower neurologists think. Maryland patient in “horrible pain” calls ambulance. As paramedics “rushed her away,” her husband tucked her purse under her arm. She had her purse in her clutches until she reportedly had a “cardiac arrest” and went unconscious in the emergency department. She woke up the next day on a ventilator and the $1,100 that was in her purse was gone. I sympathize with the woman for losing her money, but something just doesn’t smell right about this story. Crystal meth is bad. In fact my uncle knows a guy whose cousin was on meth, gouged his eyes out, and ate his eyeballs like little hors doeuvres. Unfortunately, this story, told by an Australian member of parliament, was not able to be verified. That didn’t keep news agencies from picking up the story and running with it. Anything for the clicks. Nearly a year after the VA scandal was made public and what’s happened to the people responsible for the fraud? One person was fired, a few others were “disciplined” with paid leave and transfers. In addition, the number of patients waiting longer than 90 days to receive medical care has nearly doubled. This is the system we’re hoping to implement on a widespread basis? Here we go again with the antibiotics for appendicitis debate. According to several small studies in Europe, antibiotics can cure about 70% of patients with acute appendicitis. This article also states that most people who develop a ruptured appendix do so before they get to the hospital. And – because American sailors who were on submarines for six month stints did well when given antibiotics for appendicitis, obviously antibiotics should be a good treatment. The problem with this logic is that submarines didn’t have CT scanners to prove that patients actually had appendicitis. This just means that everyone who had a belly ache got antibiotics. We don’t know if any of the sailors actually had an inflamed appendix. In addition, even if antibiotics did cure appendicitis, who’s going to want to run to the hospital for repeat ED visits and CT scans every time they get lower abdominal pain? Remove the inflamed appendix and be done with it. Rise of the machines. iControl-RP is a machine that monitors brain wave activity, pulse ox and vital signs during surgery and adjusts the dose of anesthetic accordingly. A professor once told me that anesthesia is a boring specialty … about 95% of the time. The other 5% it is life or death. Not sure how a machine would respond in one of the 5% situations. Despite this, the machine’s co-developer is “convinced the machine can do better than human anesthesiologists.” Wonder how its intubation skills are … Pedialyte is advertising itself as a cure for hangovers. Probably because kids won’t drink it. Take a sip some day and you’ll see why. The stuff tastes horrible. The company touts the increased sodium and potassium concentrations in Pedialyte versus Gatorade as the reason it reportedly ...

Read More »

Healthcare Update — 12-01-2014

More health related news from around the web on my other blog at EP Monthly. ___ This site is an AMAZON affiliate. Purchasing products through Amazon by clicking on THIS LINK will support this blog at no cost to you. ___ Arkansas personal injury attorney Michael Smith implies that outpatient clinics should all have “the right kind of life-saving equipment” at hand at all times. He never says what the “right kind of life-saving equipment” should be, but mark his words – if a patient ever suffers a bad outcome in an outpatient clinic, he’ll be sure to find something that the clinic didn’t have that would have prevented the bad outcome. I hate articles like this. On their face, they are appealing. Sure, everyone should have the “right kind of equipment.” That’s like saying that attorneys should always file the “right kind of motions” and use the “right kind of case precedent” in their briefs. But if you ask personal injury attorney Michael Smith exactly what equipment to purchase in order to be compliant with whatever standards he thinks should apply, he’ll suddenly change the subject. I guarantee it. Inappropriate opinion by expert witness surgeon Dr. Michael Drew causes $19.5 million judgment against treating surgeon to be overturned by Pennsylvania Superior Court. Court opinion (.pdf file) notes how Dr. Drew’s opinion on how treating physician breached the standard of care “morphed each time he opined on how [the treating physician] breached it” and how Dr. Michael Drew’s opinion created an “untenable” “no-win” situation for the treating physician. Kudos to Pennsylvania Superior Court Judge Jack Panella for the well-reasoned court opinion. Recent court opinion expands liability for medical providers. A passenger on a Royal Caribbean Cruise fell and hit his head while his ship was docked in Bermuda. The patient was then wheeled back onto the ship where a nurse allegedly didn’t evaluate his head trauma and a doctor didn’t even evaluate him for four hours. After the doctor examined him, he started the patient on a mannitol drip and transferred the patient to a Bermuda hospital for further care. A week later, the patient died from his injuries. Maritime law of the US normally prevents a shipowner from being liable for negligent medical provided by the ship’s crew. However, the US Court of Appeals held that evolution of legal norms, rise of a complex cruise industry, and progression of modern technology have made those prior laws inapplicable (.pdf file). Pertinent quotes from the opinion include “medical negligence triggers the same equitable concerns whether it arises on land or at sea” and “we can discern no sound basis for allowing a special exception for onboard medical negligence.” I’m guessing that there will be a petition to the Supreme Court on this case. Nearly $1 billion in medical malpractice payments from VA hospital coming from federal treasury, not the VA budget … and payouts are occurring at a higher rate than in the private sector. The Veteran’s Administration declined a request for an interview in the article. A vet who had his esophagus punctured gave an interview and stated “If I had it to do all over again, I’d never go to the VA.” New Jersey’s St Lukes Hospital closing its behavioral health unit for cost cutting measures. Police and county prosecutors concerned that closing the unit will increase the burden on law enforcement. After closure, patients requiring inpatient behavioral care will be held in emergency departments until transfer can be arranged to remaining behavioral health centers in New Jersey or Pennsylvania. Ummmm. Yeah. I’m suffering from acute incarceritis and need an evaluation quickly. Utah’s ...

Read More »

Healthcare Update — 10-21-2014

More healthcare related news from around the web on my other blog at EP Monthly Let’s call the first part of this post the Ebola Chronicles Treating one Ebola patient would wipe out the ICU in an average-sized hospital and may even bankrupt some smaller facilities. Most states won’t even allow disposal of waste from Ebola patients. Then there’s the Ebola patient in the US you didn’t know about. Doctor infected with Ebola while working for the WHO in Sierra Leone was treated in Emory Hospital’s biocontainment unit for the past 6 weeks. Now is “well on his way to a full recovery.” Baylor Medical Center in Texas requires that patients knock on glass door and answer Ebola screening questions before being allowed in emergency department. Clipboard idiot walking alongside Dallas Ebola patient Amber Vinson and directing people in hazmat suits grabs hazmat trash bag and discards it, then boards the flight — with no hazmat gear. Were he and his clipboard quarantined after touching waste from the Ebola patient? Of course not. The only conclusion we can make from this scenario is that clipboards must prevent Ebola. Vomiting is now an actionable offense. California’s Southwestern College evacuates and institutes quarantine after student who flew on same airplane as Amber Vinson gets sick and vomits in class But vomiting and dying … not so much. Patient on Nigeria flight to JFK vomits and dies. Officials give corpse a “cursory” exam, declare he does not have Ebola, then whisk him from the airplane. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along. Move along. Don’t look now … actress Tori Spelling quarantined in hospital with symptoms of Ebola. Well, she did have a fever and an “uncontrollable” cough, but she was hospitalized for bronchitis. That reminds me. I have symptoms of Ebola, too. My muscles are sore … after I worked out yesterday. Just wait until flu season hits. And finally, the lawyers are already figuring out ways to profit from Ebola, suggesting that hospitals may have liability if they miss a diagnosis of Ebola. Now back to regular news … Buying insurance on the Obamacare exchange? Last year’s enrollment period began October 1. This year, you can enroll and find out how much your rates have increased … on November 15, 2014 … after the elections. This strategic timing can only mean that rates are set to skyrocket. If they were trending downward, the elected officials who voted to pass Obamacare would be using that fact in their campaigns. Want to see the names of the numbskulls who voted for this abominable law? Roll call of Senators who voted for Obamacare (a party line vote by Democrats) Roll call of House members who voted for Obamacare (pretty much a party line vote by Democrats as well) Did I mention that elections are a couple of weeks away and that many of these people want to be re-elected? More on the microbiome. Stress and shock may really cause a heart attack – by affecting the bacteria present in arterial walls. The stress hormones released during sudden stress may cause the bacterial biofilm over the arterial walls to dissolve, causing placques within the walls to rupture. In the future, managing bacteria within an arterial plaque (carotid arteries typically have Pseudomonas growing inside) may be just as important as managing a patient’s cholesterol. What happens to all the kids who are sent from schools to the emergency department for psychiatric evaluations? In 92.2% of cases, they’re sent home, and in half of those cases they aren’t even given psychiatric follow up. The study notes that only ...

Read More »

Healthcare Update — 10-13-2014

See more medical news from around the web at my other blog at EP Monthly. _________________ NEW SITE SPONSOR! Need to renew your BLS, ACLS, or PALS certificate? You can get your certificate the SAME DAY by taking an online course and passing the online test at Pacific Medical Training. By clicking on THIS LINK, you’ll also get a 15% discount on the course fees. That’s a $25 savings for your ACLS recertification! _________________ Straight out of Men in Black. UC Davis researchers have discovered that they can erase certain memories in mice by using flashes of light. China is cracking down on pharmaceutical price fixing. Some company executives received prison sentences of between 2 and 4 years for their actions – although unfortunately those prison sentences were suspended. Government department heads are also being investigated since they are responsible for and must be punished for law violations committed by their subordinates. Even the cats were amazed. 18 year old woman who had habit of chewing on her hair goes to doctor with abdominal pain and malnourishment. Rushed to surgery where a 9 pound hairball was removed. Yes, you read that correctly. A nine pound hairball. Like she had a baby Cousin Itt inside of her. The Limits of Friendship. How many friends can an average person realistically have in their social circle? Based on human brain size … about …. Oh go on and read the article. The discussion is pretty interesting. Baylor University Medical Center reportedly at risk of losing all federal funding if it doesn’t submit an acceptable action plan regarding psychiatric patient elopement. CMS inspectors recently found six cases in which psychiatric patients walked away from the hospital’s emergency department before treatment concluded and determined that those “elopements” put patients in “immediate jeopardy” of their health and safety. The Netherlands has a slightly different way to treat patients with severe psychiatric problems: Euthanization. The rate of death by lethal injection for patients with severe psychiatric problems tripled from 14 cases in 2012 to 42 cases in 2013. Counting “terminal sedation,” euthanasia accounts for one in eight deaths in the Netherlands. But at least the patients in the Netherlands have insurance – just like us. No more curly fries for me for a while. Woman puts potato in her vagina after being assured by her mother that doing so would be a fail-safe contraceptive method. Turns out mom was right. Guys tend to run the other way when they see roots growing out of your hoo hah. Fortunately, doctors were able to remove the budding spud without surgery. And if anyone makes any Mr. Potatohead jokes, I’m going to be sick. I just know it. The hormones from birth control pills found in sewage found to cause feminization of of male minnows. This caused the number of minnows in the Ontario waterways to decrease to 1% of the usual population. As a result, the number of lake trout decreased – lake trout are the minnow’s main predator. Also as a result, the number of insects in the area began increasing – insects are the minnow’s main source of food. When estrogen was removed from the water supplies, all of the changes reversed. Wait a minute. Obamacare requires that birth control pills be provided at no cost. That must mean that the government wants less fish and more insects in our country. What effect has the Affordable Care Act had on employment in the US? Mostly negative, according to this paper from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. It creates financial incentives for employees to work less. Part ...

Read More »

Healthcare Update — 09-22-2014

More health care news from around the web on my other blog at EP Monthly.com _________________ This site is an AMAZON affiliate. Purchasing products through Amazon by clicking on THIS LINK will support this blog at no cost to you. Thanks! _________________ Woman undergoes colonoscopy and biopsied show that she has rectal cancer. She undergoes four operations to remove parts of her rectum. Five months later, the hospital notifies her that her biopsy specimens actually belonged to another patient and that she never had rectal cancer. Now she’s suing. Five most common presenting complaints at Kings County Hospital emergency department in Brooklyn: Headache, chest pain, pregnancy, limb pain, back pain. Vaccines are good? Of the 100 or so children who died from influenza last year, 90% did not receive an influenza vaccination. Vaccines are bad? 15 Syrian children die and another 50 children sickened after “bungled” measles immunizations occur. Medics may have accidentally used a muscle relaxant to reconstitute the powdered measles vaccine. Archaeologists uncover 700 year old skeletons in England. They were laid to rest holding hands and their fingers were still entwined together when they were found. Your children belong to US. Parents remove 5 year old son from British hospital after being refused proton beam treatment for his brain cancer. Take child to Spain to continue treatment in addition to obtaining proton beam therapy. Britain then issues an international arrest warrant against parents based on “explicit medical advice” that the child’s “life was in danger.” Interpol picks the family up in Spain’s Materno Infantile Hospital. North Carolina’s Fayetteville VA Medical Center converting to an urgent care clinic because the company with which it contracted “failed to staff the emergency department with “an adequate number of well-trained physicians.” Veterans at the facility have reported that there was no medical officer on duty at the facility and that there have been long waits in the emergency departments. And … taking a play from George Bush’s playbook … many veterans were told to just “go to the emergency department” for their health care while they were waiting months for their appointments with primary care physicians. One 69 year old veteran who was having heart palpitations with a rate in the 150s went to the VA emergency department at 3:30 PM and learned that there was no doctor there to evaluate or treat him. The put him into a monitored bed and left him there until a doctor could see him. The veteran and his wife were “scared by the lack of care” they received. Let that quote sink in for a second. They have insurance yet they were scared because had no medical care. Another example of how medical insurance doesn’t mean a thing if you don’t have the medical providers willing to provide medical care in exchange for the insurance. More importantly, the couple noted that nurses in the emergency department were “turning many veterans away and telling many to return at 8 p.m., when a doctor would be on duty.” If true, the Fayetteville VA Medical Center is violating federal EMTALA requirements. If a patient comes to an emergency department seeking medical care, the patient must receive a medical screening examination to determine whether an emergency medical condition exists. I won’t hold my breath waiting for news of the investigation of these incidents. Chinese patients increasingly violent when they are unhappy with the treatment from their doctors. In September, 2011, a calligrapher in Beijing, dissatisfied with his throat-cancer treatment, stabbed a doctor seventeen times. In May, 2012, a woman attacked a young nurse in Nanjing with a knife because ...

Read More »