Home / Healthcare Updates / Healthcare Update — 11-26-2012

Healthcare Update — 11-26-2012

Whatever the hospital is paying this person … it’s not enough. After Hurricane Sandy hit, ED tech Marsha Hedgepeth swam down the flooded road from her apartment to a major highway and then hitchhiked ride with out-of-state utility truck to get to work so she could help other hurricane victims. Amazing dedication.

Note to criminals, if you get injured committing a crime, one of the first places that police look for you is … in the emergency department. Five kids beat up one kid and steal his belongings. When victim goes to the ED for treatment, guess who shows up? Now 18-year-old Joseph Scott is charged with several felonies and will take a nice vacation in the Greybar Motel.

New Hampshire jury awards plaintiff $5 million after radiologist mis-reads CT scan of 25 year old headache patient showing evidence of a stroke. Later, allegedly due to the delay, the patient suffered brain hemorrhage and permanent disabilities.

Excellent review article on the accuracy of the Broselow Tape. You may recall that not too long ago Dr. Broselow wrote an interesting article in EP Monthly about how he came up with the idea for his invention. Now it seems as if the weight estimations on the Broselow tape are too low in almost 50% of the cases – which would result in underdosing of medications during a pediatric code.
Best estimate of how much a child weighs? Ask the child’s parent.

Woman who remained alive in coma for more than 40 years passes away. Quite a remarkable story of family love and devotion.

What are the most common reasons that patients come to the emergency department for Thanksgiving? Here’s one doctor’s list.
My experience differs somewhat. Who comes to the emergency department because they ate too much? Family member issues involve more patients whose children haven’t visited them in the past 12 months who return to find that mom or dad aren’t as spry as they were a year ago and want to make sure that there’s nothing wrong with them.
By the way, am I the only one wondering why this guy brought his kid with him on camera? First the kid flops over like he just went unresponsive and then by the end of the segment, the doc literally had to put his kid in a wrestling hold to get him to sit still.

Ironic, isn’t it? The same people who voted for Obamacare are now the ones asking physicians to break the law so that the patients don’t have to abide by Obamacare’s mandates. Oh, and that “free” exam that Obamacare promises you every year … ya get what ya pay for.

A good example of why correlation and causation aren’t necessarily the same thing: Selena Gomez rushes to the emergency department after date with Justin Bieber. The date with the Beebs didn’t cause her to go to the emergency department (at least I think that’s the case) … Selena’s “emergency” was a sore throat that had been troubling her for “some time.”

Next on the FDA’s hit list … 5 hour energy shots. The supplement may have been involved in as many as 13 deaths in the past 4 years.
have been involved with
Quick, let’s ban this stuff before it may be involved with another death.

To save almost £3 billion in costs, the UK is planning to implement “virtual clinics” where patients connect with doctors through iPads and Skype. Don’t have an iPad? Can’t afford broadband internet access? Unable to connect? Not sure of the credentials of the person on the other end of the screen? Who cares? That’s what your insurance covers.
Coming soon to a country near you …
You get what you pay for.

Twist on a familiar issue. This time a Northern California hospital is closing its urgent care clinic and expanding its emergency department.
One nurse familiar with the facility says that the total number of beds will only increase by one and that the charges patients receive for “emergency” care (and co-pays for patients with insurance) will increase significantly.

Do all drunks need to be brought to the emergency department? This Colorado study says “no”. Then again, the old adage goes:
If something is dead and you don’t know what to do with it, send it to pathology. If something is alive and you don’t know what to do with it, send it to the emergency department.
Of course if you were on my Twitter feed, you’d already know that.

Leeches, anyone? Old fashioned medical remedies making a comeback. Personally, just looking at these things sucking on the glass gives me the heebie jeebies. And if you’ve never seen what “cupping” looks like (no, I’m not talking about bra sizes), check out the video on the site.

Stumbled across a nice review site for emergency medicine review articles and podcasts courtesy of the Vanderbilt department of emergency medicine. Keeping Up with Emergency Medicine. Check it out.

MacGuyvering a solution to Hurricane Sandy. Jersey City Medical Center moved its emergency department to a specially outfitted tractor trailer until repairs on the hospital can be completed.
Roundtable discussion of New Jersey health care officials after the storm analyzed problems that occurred. One of the biggest issues was communication – between healthcare providers and to the public.
That and lack of proper sepsis screening. Because I’m sure that when the hurricane hit, everyone was breathing fast and their heart rates were elevated which means that millions of patients needed to have lactate levels drawn to make sure they didn’t have sepsis. Jim Dwyer is prolly working on a follow-up article to that issue in the New York Times right now.


  1. UH-oh, WC…Matt is gonna berate you for picking on Jim Dwyer…Ha!!

    • Why would I? The healthcare ship has sailed. Physicians are just another cog in a massive bureaucracy at this point. They’ll get their damage caps and such soon enough. Hope it was worth it.

  2. “You get what you pay for.”

    I wonder why you keep saying that. I thought the problem in this country was, we *don’t* get what we pay for.

    We pay far more per capita for health care than every other country and get much poorer per capita results. We aren’t getting what we’re paying for.

  3. Long Time E.D. Doc

    What an inspiring story about the heroic effort made by the E.D. tech to get to work during the hurricane. I’d have given that woman a medal of some sort.

    At some of the hospitals I have worked, however, the nurse manager would have started the disciplinary process for an employee like this for:

    1. Showing up late (it is an employees obligation to “plan better” when it comes to getting to work on time.

    2. No I.D. badge. We have a zero tolerance policy for employees who are not wearing theirs and swimming to work through hurricane surf is no excuse for losing it. Additionally, there is a fee that will now have to be paid by the employee so human resources can make a replacement I.D.

    3. Inappropriate attire-Wet dirty clothes are unacceptable. It conveys an unprofession attitude toward our customers and results in lower Press Ganey scores.

    I am fairly certain there could be a few other points this employee could be “counseled” for as well, as our nurse manager puts together her “personal improvement plan…”

  4. So the woman in the coma opens her eyes and smiles?

  5. I’m not sure a woman in a coma for 40 years is a positive thing. In my experience, family members refusing to let go is just about one of the saddest things in modern medicine.

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