Home / Healthcare Updates / Healthcare Update — 06-17-2013

Healthcare Update — 06-17-2013

See more updates over at EP Monthly.com

Washington State teen runs from the emergency department and disappears after the po po show up to investigate his gunshot wound.
Didn’t see any 15 year old boys in the obituaries, so either he got his treatment or the wound wasn’t life threatening.

Vocera hands-free device decreases time spent dealing with interruptions while working in the emergency department by more than half.
One of our emergency departments uses Vocera and it is well-liked.

Another reason that emergency physicians shouldn’t be doing a coroner’s job. In this CDC study, half of residents surveyed stated that they had reported an inaccurate cause of death. Reasons for doing so included being told to do so by the medical examiner and being told to do so by hospital admissions personnel. Most of the time, the residents put cardiovascular disease as a cause of death when it was not.
Only ⅓ of all respondents believed that cause of death reporting is accurate.
Interesting study to in mind if one of your loved ones dies under suspicious circumstances.

Wait until they send her to collections. El Paso woman receives bills from Providence Memorial Hospital even though she never received care there. Takes a news expose to get action and an apology letter from the hospital.

States selling medical data for profit. Medical data mining is a growing industry expected to surpass $10 billion in revenues by 2020. Unfortunately, it’s fairly easy to combine the medical data with, say, news stories to identify the patients. Out of 81 Washington State news stories containing the word “hospitalization,” Bloomberg.com was able to identify 35 patients by their their “anonymous” medical data. One patient’s medical history contained  all his diagnoses and procedures following a major car accident, his doctors, ethnicity and payment information.
HIPAA violation? Nope. HIPAA doesn’t apply to states.
I’m sure some state employee has somewhere made a trite comment about how patients are giving up some of their liberties and privacy to increase their safety. Then again, we all know what Benjamin Franklin said about liberty and safety

Look out North Carolina obstetricians … John Edwards is planning to open a new law firm.
He must not be able to stand the constant din of babies’ voices channeling through his head.

On one hand there are professional repercussions, lawsuits, and news articles like this if you miss a diagnosis. Diagnostic errors take a serious toll, you know. Missed or delayed diagnoses affect up to 20% of all cases, you know.
On the other hand, if doctors do the testing to make the diagnosis and the testing is normal, they’re accused of ordering “unnecessary” testing. Doctors order waaaay to many normal tests, you know. Patients need to learn to say “Whoa” to their doctors, you know. That is, patients need to say “Whoa” until their doctor doesn’t do the test that would have made the diagnosis … then they can point to the other articles about missed and delayed diagnoses.
Would be nice to come up with some prospective guidance on what patients should do when their diagnosis is missed by failing to perform an “unnecessary” test, but apparently the media has much more fun just vilifying doctors for bad outcomes regardless of what approach doctors take.

Would you do this to lose weight? Surgeons sew a plastic patch (the same material used to make Hula Hoops) onto the surface of the tongue so that it becomes painful to eat solid foods. Then people lose up to a pound a day by following a liquid diet.
How much of it comes back a month later when the patch is removed?

Captivating picture essay of possessions that patients took to an insane asylum and then were left behind after the asylum closed. Even more interesting to me because I lived near that asylum for part of my childhood. Kids in town always used to threaten each other about “getting taken away to Willard.”

I realize that a colonoscopy isn’t exactly a sterile procedure, but this is kind of scary: There is a 15% chance that someone else’s stool is on the colonoscope that is stuck up your rectum. Chances of someone else’s gastric secretions being on the endoscope stuck down your throat are as high as 30%. If you wake up from your EGD with a taste of bacon and eggs (or maybe worse if they mix up the endoscopes) in your mouth, now you might know why.

Should physicians be drug and alcohol tested after an adverse event occurs? I don’t necessarily think that doing so is a bad idea – provided that the testing is part of a broader autopsy to find out what occurred and why — including testing patients for drugs and alcohol as well as documenting staffing levels, patient load, administrator activities/demands on staff, and other things influencing a doctor’s (or staff member’s actions). Doctors shouldn’t always be the only ones blamed when there is a bad outcome.

Finally, from a reader, there is this article in People magazine about Mara Shapshay, a comedienne from LA who is suing Jenny Craig because she lost weight. Actually, she’s suing Jenny Craig because she alleges that the Jenny Craig diet caused her to form 1000 gallstones. Now she’s having tummy troubles after having the surgery. According to TMZ, Ms. Shapshay also blames Jenny Craig for her fatigue, nausea, oh and a miscarriage, too. Up to this point, Ms. Shapshay has taken full responsibility for the uneven growth of her nasal hairs.
6-15-2013 11-03-32 AMMs. Shapshay (whose picture and Twitter background are to the right) alleges that it was Jenny Craig’s duty to disclose to her that rapid weight loss over a prolonged period of time “could” result in health complications.
First, how is Ms. Shapshay going to know that she had “1000 gallstones”? Like a surgeon had nothing better to do than to sit there after surgery counting them out on the specimen tray?
Second, either Ms. Shapshay’s gallbladder was the size of a bota bag or the “1000 gallstones” were little tiny granules of “sludge”, not “gallstones,” and sludge is usually present without causing symptoms.
Third, does this woman really want everyone to believe that she wouldn’t have dieted at all if she knew that she might have developed gallstones? Or is it just that she might not have dieted as fast? And what was unique about the Jenny Craig food as opposed to, say, pickles and cole slaw at Mo’s, that made it more likely for poor Ms. Shapshay to reach the millennial gallstone mark?
Finally, the Jenny Craig company appropriately raised an issue of “causation” versus “correlation” in Ms. Shapshay’s lawsuit. If Mara got into a car accident after starting the diet, was Jenny Craig responsible for that as well?
Now if you want further comments on the case, Mara can’t take the heat and says that you need to contact her attorney instead.

One comment

  1. OK, Whitecoat, admit it. You just posted the Jenny Craig story so that we could read this hilarious quote from the story:

    “When one of Shapshay’s Twitter followers reached out to talk about a similar experience, the comedian wrote: ‘Glad I could help. That’s the reason why I went pubic.'”

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