Home / Healthcare Updates / Healthcare Update — 08-28-2013

Healthcare Update — 08-28-2013

See more news from around the web over at my other blog on EP Monthly.com

When inmates try to run the asylum … The latest huckfead to suggest that Americans should just go to the ED for all of their health care is former Senator Jim DeMint from South Carolina who is now head of the Heritage Foundation.
Because the emergency department isn’t overcrowded enough and is perfectly adept at caring for chronic problems like cancer treatment, hemodialysis, hypertension, and arthritis pain.

Spontaneous combustion? Parents claim that 3 month old has burst into flames on four separate occasions. In interview, parents state that doctors recommended that the child be kept in air conditioning, but the family’s house burned down so they have no place to stay. And all I think of is that little baby on the Incredibles.

BMI may not be the best indicator of a healthy body weight. In fact, some studies show that an “obese” BMI improves survival under certain conditions. So why do we use it? “Because it’s simple,” says one of the authors of the paper.
Strangely similar to Press Ganey scores, isn’t it?

Here’s George Jetson. Remember when Jane needed to hold up a picture of herself all made up nice when she used her video phone? We’re getting there with doctor visits, now. Virtual visits are the new rage. They cost from $30 to $50 and the doctors who offer the service have “welcome evidence” that diagnosis and treatment were equal in e-visits and office visits for sinusitis and for UTIs. Of course, the e-visits resulted in more antibiotic prescriptions, but what’s a little MRSA between friends, right?
If this service is used as a pretense for patients to get their ZeePacks and Bactrim prescriptions, it is a bad idea.
Although there is something to be said for being able to see patients while sitting in a home office in one’s pajamas.
I also wonder how the medical practices maintain HIPAA privacy.

If you’re feeling depressed, you can also get psychotherapy online as well. This study showed that outcomes for online treatment of depression were better than those for face-to-face therapy after three months.

One way to get medical care instead of medical insurance. Oregon man walks into bank, hands teller a note saying “This is a hold up. Give me a dollar,” then sits in the bank lobby and waits for the police to arrive.
Sad that we’d create a system where criminals are better off than homeless patients.

If the online physchotherapy is a bust, then take some probiotics instead. Interesting article about how the gut microbiome may affect one’s mental state and behavior. One study with mice showed that bacteria taken from the guts of risk-taking mice and transplanted into timid mice would cause a dramatic personality shift in the timid mice.
Of course I’ve had a gut feeling about this all along …

Pennsylvania jury awards $4 million to patient who had nerve injury when physician drained an abscess in patient’s neck and allegedly cut a nerve in the process. The nerve usually runs under the thick sternocleidomastoid muscle in your neck, which means that the doctor would likely have needed to cut a good portion of the muscle in order to sever the nerve, but the jury didn’t buy that explanation.
Bad outcomes. Fear them.

Should you wash raw chicken before cooking it? Julia Childs said “yes.” This research says “no.” Doing so can splatter bacteria from chicken guts up to three feet away. See the cool video at the link. Instead, just cook the meat to at least 165 degrees to kill the bacteria.

Prosecutors charge hospice nurse with assisted suicide after she gives dose of morphine to her ailing father to relieve pain from a fall. Her father was found unresponsive in bed by another hospice nurse who came to check on him and was later revived in the hospital using Narcan. Four days later, hospital employees gave him another dose of morphine and he died. The coroner ruled that the manner of death was a “homicide” from “morphine toxicity.”
But the daughter is the one being charged with the crime, not the hospital personnel …
Bad outcome. Fear it.
Uneducated prosecutors. You choose what to do with them.

Looming shortage of physicians with Obamacare. John Goodman, who blogs here, noted that if we use Massachusetts as an example of what happens with universal insurance, the wait to see a new doctor is two months – the longest wait in the whole country.
You can always use the dial up lines to get some antibiotics for your heart attack, though. If you can get someone to answer the phone.

In an interview, though, our President states that Martin Luther King Jr would have liked the Unaffordable Insurance Act.

One final note from the ED community to the ED community. A third year emergency medicine resident at Cook County Hospital in Chicago was recently diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer. Because it is so rare, there is no standard treatment, so insurance won’t cover any therapy.
If you can spare a few bucks to help or if you can attend a fundraising event, it would be appreciated.

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