Home / Healthcare Updates / Healthcare Update — 09-22-2014

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 of complications from an operation performed sixteen years earlier. In a two-week period this February, angry patients paralyzed a nurse in Nanjing, cut the throat of a doctor in Hebei, and beat a Heilongjiang doctor to death with a lead pipe. A survey by the China Hospital Management Association found that violence against medical personnel rose an average of twenty-three per cent each year between 2002 and 2012. By then, Chinese hospitals were reporting an average of twenty-seven attacks a year, per hospital.
Hat tip to Overlawyered.com

Ultrasound as good as CT for suspected kidney stones?

More on the microbiome. Drinking diet sodas may cause diabetes … by altering the bacterial flora in your gut. I’m not paying $32 to download the study from Nature, but according to the abstract, the researchers show how there is a link between artificial sweeteners, altered gut flora, and metabolic abnormalities.

I missed this little spat when it first came out. National Nurses United erects billboards in Mississippi and Tennessee regarding the high prices charged at Community Health Systems hospitals. Billboards promptly taken down after “complaints”. But the message remains. at CHS’ Biloxi Regional Hospital, charges are set at $674 for every $100 of its total costs, making it the sixth priciest hospital in Mississippi. Nine of the 10 most expensive hospitals in Mississippi are affiliated with either CHS or Florida’s Hospital Management Associates. The co-president of National Nurses United asks “If CHS believes such high charges, and its aggressive collection strategy is justified, why does it want to prevent the public from knowing about its behavior?” I don’t suppose that the disagreement would have anything to do with the fact that NNU is a union trying to get more members from CHS hospitals.
Even so … if statistics are true, I agree with the NNU. As Louis Brandeis once said, “Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.
Biloxi Regional Hospital Price Gouging


  1. Umm… unless things have changed, the VA is exempt from EMTALA as it is not a medicare participating hospital.

  2. Great.
    I’ll have to check on the details, but I suspect you’re absolutely correct on that.
    Yet another government classic “Do as we say, not as we do” moment.

    If all we’d have to do to dump EMTALA was to throw Medicare patients under the bus, I wouldn’t want to get between my ED practice group of docs (or anyone else’s) and the bus stop. There’ll be a conga line of them pushing wheelchair-bound geriatric patients and no small number of full-code family-less multi-system failure con home frequent fliers in front of city busses, and that would be hilarious, but somewhat disconcerting to the average bystander without someone doing color commentary and background.

    It’s not like they’re going to be crying too hard about passing up that fabulous 1-to-2-cents-on-the-dollar reimbursement rate, and the extra two people on the group payroll who do nothing but help them maximize Medicare cost recovery will be surplus, and have to be let go. They might even be able to take on a new partner to pick up the slack on the ObamaCare patient load.

    If I work this news in right, there could be a catered champagne brunch involved…

Leave a Reply to Aesop Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *