Home / Healthcare Updates / Healthcare Update — 12-6-2013

Healthcare Update — 12-6-2013

A couple of interesting articles on how changing our microbiome may help cure our ills.
Fecal transplants have been shown to cure patients suffering from Clostridium difficile infections. Seres Health is testing the first pill containing live bacteria to treat C. difficile and is developing other live bacterial treatments for “inflammatory and metabolic diseases.”

Latest battle against antibiotic resistant organisms pits viruses against resistant bacteria. A protein called “0.4” … I’m calling it “.4” to tick off the Joint Commission … was found to kill many of the bacteria resistant to antibiotics such as clostridium difficile, N. gonorrhea, and one of the superbugs called carbapenem resistant Enterobacteriaceae.
Now we just need to make sure that the viruses and/or proteins don’t make humans sicker than the bacterial infections.

No, it’s not your menstrual period. When woman was involved in car accident, police officer noted that she was bleeding from her vagina. Initially, the woman stated that she was on her period, then an investigation at the jail showed that she had a broken crack pipe and a capped syringe in her hoo hah. She was brought to the ED, evaluated and released. The police actually booked the broken crack pipe into evidence. I’m just going to sit back and smile about all the comments I could make right now, but the winner in the comment section to the article was “Now THAT’s a crack pipe.”

Some people would call it a waste of good vodka, but one commenter to a medical column noted that a spray containing half vodka, half water, and a few drops of orange essential oil works well for itchy rashes.
I almost erased this this entry after asking myself why the hell I even care about what some random reader thinks will cure itchy rashes, but then I started thinking about a Russian surgery resident who used to smell like vodka and used to harass Mrs. Whitecoat and tell her “You look EXCELLENT” just about every day before I married her and it just made me laugh. So you have to suffer through my word association memories. Sorry about that.
And if you decide to spray some diluted Stoli on your pits and it does work, drop me a note.

Miracle surgery. First face transplant patient speaks out about his success. Seeing this transformation is remarkable.

How many patient harms are associated with hospital care each year? If you believe the Institute of Medicine rhetoric, that number is as high as 98,000. However, this new research says the 98,000 number is a gross underestimate. These authors state that 400,000 patients per year die from “preventable harm” and that 4 million to 8 million patients suffer “serious harm” related to their hospital care.
Putting these numbers into perspective, CDC data states that there were 35.1 million discharges in the US in 2010. I’m assuming that there were roughly that many admissions, since you can’t be discharged without being admitted.
That would mean that one in every hundred patients discharged from a hospital dies from a “preventable harm” and that up to one in every four patients discharged from a hospital has a preventable “serious harm.”
If this is true, then the obvious answer is to outlaw the practice of medicine. It kills too many people.

If you’ve ever published a paper with Elsevier, think twice before trying to make it available to others. Elsevier is sending takedown notices to authors who try to make their work available to the public.
Read your submission agreements carefully … and consider publishing your papers somewhere other than Elsevier.

Some obligatory UnAffordable Insurance Act posts for the week …
You know things are getting bad when even Toronto’s Mayor Rob Ford is busting on it.
A link from Drudge … 50,000 people signed up online for New Jersey’s gambling sites in its first week. 741 people in New Jersey signed up for Obamacare in the first month.
One physician correctly notes that Obamacare’s low reimbursement will cause most doctors to avoid accepting enrollees. For his oncology patients, he is reimbursed $6.50 for providing a 1.5 hour evaluation, which is less than minimum wage. “Doctors are already leaving in droves from accepting Medicare.”
Another link from Drudge … Washington state has enrolled 176,000 patients in new coverage: 18,000 in private plans, 91,000 in Medicaid and another 66,000 eligible for Medicaid but not yet enrolled. When the Medicaid patients can’t find doctors to treat them, where is the place they know they can go to get care?

The non-medical related laugh of the week is from distractify.com. What are some of the best responses to the text messages you receive from wrong numbers? Quite a few of these made me laugh out loud.  #2 was my favorite.


  1. I still think the winner re: the Unaffordable Care Act is this Tweet from Congressman Steve Stockman -(R) Texas:
    “About 110,000 people contract chlamydia each month, more than signed up for Obamacare.
    Obamacare is less popular than chlamydia.”

  2. Elsevier also makes things difficult to comply with the open access rules for those funded by NIH. They embargo the articles and make uploads to PMC difficult.

  3. New Bumper Sticker:

    Guns Don’t Kill People.
    Doctors Kill People.

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