Healthcare Update 01-14-2013


Interesting facts about the human body. Did you know that your stomach acid can melt zinc? Your femur is 4 times stronger than concrete? In your life you make enough saliva to fill two swimming pools? More strange facts at the link.

If your stomach acid can’t dissolve it, then try some Coca-Cola. Study shows that Coke is quite effective in dissolving physobezoars (balls of indigestible plant material) in the stomach.

Having sex … in a hospital bed … with other people in the room … after just delivering a baby? Look for pictures on the internet – another patient’s family took the pictures and visitors aren’t subject to HIPAA laws.

New York State creates rules stating that every hospital in New York must adopt aggressive procedures for identifying sepsis in patients and must develop a plan so that parents can “play a meaningful and informed role” in decisions made about care for their children.
This should be interesting. “Mom and dad, it appears that your child has a head cold. Based on New York State directives, we’re going to increase the cost of your visit severalfold by drawing a lactate level, starting IV fluids, and administering antibiotics. Would you prefer ticarcillin or cefotetan as the unnecessary antibiotics for your viral infection?”
In other news, NY Times reporter Jim Dwyer dislocates shoulder patting himself on back for actions taken on his misinformed article used to exact revenge for a family friend. Develops tachycardia and fast respirations from the pain and is taken to the hospital and given antibiotics because he meets sepsis criteria.
Can’t wait to see how the rates of resistant infections rise in New York.

New York State also declares a “public health emergency” due to influenza as number of reported cases quadrupled from last year. By Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order, pharmacists may now administer influenza vaccines to minors … if they can find any vaccine.

New York City public hospitals implementing plan to tie physician’s pay to patient satisfaction. Incredibly dumb idea. More on this in another post.

New York City also plans to restrict number of pain medications that public hospitals can dispense. No more than three days of painkillers such as Vicodin or Percocet. No OxyContin, Fentanyl patches, or methadone at all. No refills on lost or stolen prescriptions.
Fuhrer Mayor Bloomberg takes a line from the Press Ganey playbook and tells patients to suck it up. Everyone may need to “suffer a little bit.” Besides, he alleges, “there’s no evidence” that poor and uninsured patients would be disproportionately affected by such a plan. Kind of like “there’s no evidence” that Mayor Bloomberg’s actions will decrease medication diversion?
Next up, an ordinance requiring women to wipe from front to back after using the toilet to prevent urinary tract infections and urosepsis … along with cameras installed on every toilet seat to monitor compliance.
After this week, I’m officially adding New York to my short list of states where doctors should NOT go to practice medicine.

Nas goes to the ED for the flu. If you’re like me, the next question you’re asking are “who the heck is ‘Nas’ and why is this news?”
I looked him up and listened to some of his stuff on YouTube – not a bad rapper as far as rappers go.

Remember the “individual mandate” in the Affordable Care Act? Now, after jacking up premiums for a year or so, insurers are complaining that the mandate doesn’t encourage enough healthy patients to purchase insurance. Insurers are lobbying the Department of Health and Human Services to allow insurers to impose penalties on patients who delay purchasing insurance.

Insightful and interesting take on how to fix health care by Adam Garfinkle.

North Carolina Senate passes bill that protects providers of emergency medical care from liability. Burden of proof increases from “preponderance of the evidence” to “clear and convincing” standard which is more difficult to prove in court.

Michigan also passes some medical malpractice tort reform, including limits on “loss of companionship” claims and limits on interest for attorney’s fees.


  1. Soon to sound like a broken record. The Act passed March 2010. My coverage went up 32% in Jan 2011. It is now going up another 25%! I could not afford the first hike, and the second wipes out 1/6 of my grocery bill. But that isn’t accounting for gas/milk/ beef prices on the rise. I now pay 55 per office visit. And get the lab tests done by PrivateMDLabs. I just can’t afford it any other way.

  2. The Make-a-Nickel Engineer on

    Stomach acid (HCl) does not “melt” zinc. Rather it reacts with it to form hydrogen gas and zinc chloride. Household vinegar (5% acetic acid) will also react with zinc, as will any other acid.

    Also, one’s femur is not “4 times stronger than concrete.” This statement is meaningless. Having “junk science” spouted forth on a BS website (the one you linked to), validated on your website by a medical doctor (you), and then quoted by others as fact is not a good thing.

    The website that you quoted doesn’t even get the units of strength correct. Strength is measured in force per unit area (PSI-pounds per square inch in the English system and Mega Pascals MPa in metric). The femur is composed of cortical bone (outside) and trabecular bone (inside) that have markedly different strengths, and the strength varies depending on the axis on which it is measured. The cortical bone is by far stronger, and has a maximum axial compressive strength of 18,000 PSI. Although concrete strengths vary, 18,000 PSI concrete is commercially available as are stronger and weaker concretes.

    I won’t advise others on the proper use of vassopressors for patients in shock presenting to the ER if you refrain from presenting “interesting facts” as medical truths. Deal?

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