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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 works so well. With Miley Cyrus as a customer, who would doubt them?

New frontier for the drug wars. Genetically modified yeast is capable of turning sugar into morphine. Now authorities are trying to figure out how to regulate production.
Scientists haven’t gotten to the point where we can dump some sugar in a can of yeast and come out with liquid heroin, though. Right now the process needs almost 3 gallons of genetically engineered yeast to create one milligram of morphine.

Cure for HIV getting close? Experimental vaccine blocks every form of HIV, including the “hard to stop” variants. Vaccine works by blocking HIV from exiting the lymphocytes once they infect them.

26-year-old army sergeant checks into El Paso County Detention Center to serve a 2 day sentence for drunk driving. By the second day, he was dead. The coroner said the cause of death was a sickle cell crisis. Fox News was able to obtain video from the jail showing the sergeant laying on the ground bleeding and saying he was unable to breathe … shortly before a group of guards in riot gear went into his cell.

World Health Organization wants $100 million to create a medical “SWAT Team” to travel to deploy to health crises around the world. Would it have the resources to deal with the problems, though?

They weren’t claimed by any members of Congress, so they were assumed to be from dogs or sheep. Nine brains found along a street near railroad tracks in northern New York town.

Emergency department patients in Ohio upset over unexpected excessive charges. Reporter Marlene Harris-Taylor does a great job at explaining the different levels of care discussing how hospitals come up with their charges – and she compares ED charges from around the area. This topic is complicated even for most medical providers.

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