WhiteCoat

Healthcare Update Satellite — 11-25-2013

See many more medical news stories from around the web over at my other blog at DrWhitecoat.com

Nice synopsis by an Ohio State University emergency physician on how sinusitis can be mistaken for a primary dental problem … and how to use physical examination to help tell the difference between the two. Just don’t expect a sinus infection to get better with antibiotics.

Why one California emergency physician weeps for the future. The patient scenarios that you read about at the link will probably frustrate you as well. Included are patients who come to the ED because they don’t want to wait for referrals or for doctor’s appointments for routine matters and several patients who won’t fill prior prescriptions because someone else isn’t paying for their cost.

Wisconsin emergency department temporarily closes after SUV runs through wall of the department, injuring several people. Driver had to be transported to another hospital for treatment. Here’s a picture of the scene before the truck was removed.

Letter to the editor of a Buffalo, NY area newspaper wonders whether elderly and injured patients will have sufficient access to emergency medical care when Lake Shore Hospital closes, reportedly leaving 4 hospital emergency departments in a 3,000 square mile rural area of western New York.

Canadian Association for Emergency Physicians calls overcrowded emergency departments a public health emergency and warns that more patients could die if the government does not address the problem.

When Prince Edward Island’s Western Hospital staffed its emergency department with nurses and paramedics at night instead of closing the doors … hardly any patients showed up. The emergency department has been seeing less than two patients a night over the two weeks since the change was implemented. What conclusions can be drawn from the lack of patients? One commenter stated that patients are just deciding to drive to the next closest hospital in order to see a physician rather than being triaged and transferred to the other hospital anyway.
Would be interesting to see whether the patient volumes and demographics at the other hospital bear out that theory.

South Dakota jury awards $750,000 to estate of 79 year old patient who died from “unnecessary” spinal fusion surgeries. Award climbs to $933,000 with interest.
The way to prevent such suits in the future is to require second opinions to prove that surgeries are “necessary” prior to performing all non-emergency surgeries.

Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence goes to the emergency department for treatment of abdominal pain and is diagnosed with a “fulcer” instead of an “ulcer.” Must be kind of like “fretching” — which happened to be my first post ever in the blogosphere.

Mail order prescriptions decrease the number of diabetic patients visiting emergency departments when compared to patients who pick up their prescriptions at pharmacies. The study only looked at Kaiser Permanente mail order pharmacies, so the results can’t be generalized to mail order pharmacies in general. Being mostly PhDs, the authors have obviously not had to deal much with Medco shenanigans.

Flamin’ Hot Cheetos sending many kids to emergency department for a couple of reasons. First, the spicy seasonings are giving kids stomach aches. Also, when kids eat enough of them, the dye causes their stools to become red, making the parents think that the kids have blood in their stool.
Of course I was going to make a snarky remark that we should just ban Flamin’ Hot Cheetos to protect the children … then I read that several schools in New Mexico, California, and Illinois have already done so.
Yet another reason to weep for the future.

Memphis VA Medical Center being investigated after three patients died in its emergency department. One was given a medication despite having a documented allergy to the medication. Another was found unresponsive after receiving multiple sedating medications. A third had “critically high blood pressure that was not aggressively monitored” and died from a brain hemorrhage.

Finally, an Unaffordable Insurance Act quote for the week. A Twitter discussion about how often that Patriots fumbled the football morphs into a new term for fumbling: “Obamacared.” As in “The Patriots just Obamacared on the five yard line.”
The best comment to the thread: “If you like your new verb you can keep your new verb. Period.”

One Response to “Healthcare Update Satellite — 11-25-2013”

  1. Mac says:

    With respect to the PEI story, that news article doesn’t paint the whole picture – even prior to its conversion, the emergency room there was only seeing around 10 patients a day. And that’s not surprising considering it covers a population of around 1000 people, and there is another hospital within 40 km of it (in Tyne Valley). Does it make sense for a health region to spend money on a hospital that – at the best of times – was barely being used, to cover a very small population?

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