Healthcare Update — 02-11-2013


Patients gone wild. Also, a perfect example of why doctors shouldn’t play security guard. Iowa man attempts to leave emergency department, doctor doesn’t allow him to do so. Patient then slams doctor against wall and puts doctor into a choke hold before being pulled off and restrained.

Who gets paid to study this stuff? “Researchers” find that number of ED visits for pubic hair grooming injuries is on the rise. I had a couple of snarky comments, but I’ll have to leave those to you all.

Possible hope in battling drug-resistant superbugs? Scientists discover how to manipulate genes in bacteria to prevent bacteria from effectively eliminating waste. Waste then builds up and makes the bacteria more susceptible to antibiotics.

Cook County, IL pays $20 million settlement to family of child who was “overly sedated” at county hospital then suffered heart attack and stopped breathing when left alone in recovery room after outpatient testicle surgery.

Can you imagine working for more than 10% of your career with a lawsuit hanging over your head? If not, don’t become a doctor. Study in Health Affairs shows that the average physician spends more than 50 months of his or her career with an open malpractice claim. Neurosurgeons spend 27% of their careers fighting malpractice suits. Emergency physicians spend 12.8% of their careers with a malpractice claim.

Dr. Ben Carson comes up with some good ideas for changing health care. A health savings account that can be passed on to future generations? Not bad. Not bad at all.

Purdue University typhoid fever scare after cafeteria worker travels internationally then returns home and goes back to work. Symptoms of typhoid fever, caused by salmonella typhi, include a high fever (obviously), rash, and profuse diarrhea.
Remember Typhoid Mary? Now it’s the Typhoid Boilermaker.

17 year old girl left blind, brain damaged, and paralyzed after smoking synthetic marijuana and suffering several strokes.

All about the RUC and how its secretive meetings determine how much you pay for health care … and indirectly determine whether health care will be available to you in the future.

Changes to the UN-Affordable Care Act make it more likely that your employer won’t provide you with health insurance. But remember … “If you’re one of the more than 250 million Americans who already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance. This law will only make it more secure and more affordable.”

More fallout from the UN-Affordable Care Act. New food labeling rules imposed in the law expected to cost grocery stores more than $1 billion per year. Grocery stores will have to provide labels on unpackaged goods such as items in salad bars. If grocers get the labeling wrong, their counsel notes that it is a federal crime subjecting the grocers to … jail time.
Put down that assault crouton and step away from the salad bar, sir.
Maybe they should just throw everyone in jail and get it over with.

How the UN-Affordable Care Act may affect corporations – lots of outsourcing and less employment.

All they need to do is create a billion dollar health care law and things like this wouldn’t happen. British hospitals serving lasagna to patients, DNA testing showed that the meat was mostly from horses, not cows. School kids got the same meals.
And if that wasn’t bad enough, now some of the horse meat may actually be donkey meat.

UK encourages citizens to purchase additional insurance to help pay for health care as they get older. Even though it takes a large proportion of your earnings in taxes throughout your life, your government can’t afford to keep paying for all of your care, you know.

Blaming the victims? Create unfunded mandates forcing private entities to provide services for free, cut payments for providing services, significantly increase red tape associated with payments, create mercenaries that pick through bills and penalize hospitals for overpayments for “unnecessary” care, drive many primary care physicians from practice … then wag your finger at hospitals and bash them in the newspapers for not seeing patients with colds quickly enough.

Missouri Supreme Court strikes down malpractice caps, so legislators propose a bill making it more difficult to prove noneconomic medical malpractice damages.

New strain of whooping cough may be resistant to current vaccine … although researchers noted that the vaccine still seemed to lessen the severity of the disease.


  1. Actually neurosurgeons don’t spend 27% of their careers “fighting malpractice suits”. This study claims they spend 27% of their careers with an open claim. Meaning that if an insurer simply opens a claim file the time starts running them. The physician is “fighting” nothing at that point, other than maybe some correspondence with their insurer.

  2. Pingback: Man accused of attacking Emergency Physician « The ACUTE CARE Blog: Non-Urban Emergency Medicine

  3. The insurance is not for “healthcare” it is for social care, which is help with washing and dressing etc. when elderly and unable to fully care for oneself. Why let facts get in the way of your anti universal healthcare agenda?

    • Ah. I see. By calling it something else, then they don’t have to pay for it.
      So Great Britain allows patients receive their medications as part of the “universality” of the system, but unless they come up with the cash, patients are just left naked to lay in excrement because the legislators consider cleansing and dressing as being distinct from “health” care? Is that it?
      Medications really aren’t “health care” are they? Transport to the hospital isn’t really “health care” is it? What’s next to require a hefty co-pay?
      Kind of proves my point that “universal” care isn’t quite so “universal”, doesn’t it?
      Then government that has the power to provide everything to you also has the power to take everything away from you.

      • You really don’t read things do you? The whole social care thing isn’t about healthcare at all! it is elderly people who are not able to care for themselves completely, not sick ones as they go into hospital but perhaps frail people at home or in nursing homes.
        Medications have a co payment unless you have certain chronic health conditions, are retired or on very low income. Hospital transport is free for emergencies. For free in all instances read, free at point of use, we all pay for healthcare in our taxes.

  4. Re the horse meat, you should read the story as this again is you showing a bias against universal healthcare! NO hospital or school has served contaminated meat products. A dishonest slaughterhouse in Romania has been passing off horse as beef and several countries have bought it via a French processor, the full extent is not known but it is a criminal act and not a result of any other company being dishonest, it is more likely a result of grinding poverty in Romania caused by the new American style free market economy.

  5. WC… Here is a link to a report on California’s health care.
    Money Quote: …”“We’re going to have to provide care at lower levels. I think a lot of people are trained to do work that our licenses don’t allow them to.”
    Really? Well, then, I should be able to sit for any exam that fits my “training” in the real world, I suppose…and pshaw to my family members who spent 8-14 years in residencies and college, right? Some things can be taught and learned, but does this lady even realize what can of worms she opened with that statement? Matt will surely have a field day with it…

    • Here is another quote from the LA times. I think it speaks for itself. Pretty soon there will be no need for medical school, just declare yourself a doctor.

      Hernandez, who said he would introduce his legislation and hold a hearing on the issue next month, said his own experience as an optometrist shows the need to empower more practitioners. He said he often sees Medicaid patients who come to his La Puente practice because they have failed their vision test at the DMV. Many complain of constant thirst and frequent urination.

      “I know it’s diabetes,” he said. But he is not allowed to diagnose or treat it and must refer those patients elsewhere. Many of them may face a months-long wait to see a doctor.

  6. “Un-affordable Care Act” ceases being funny after a couple of uses. We could have had better legislation if the Republicans had participated instead of obstructing, but got what was possible to pass without them.

    • Please tell me, with sources, what “better” thing we would have had if Congressional Republicans hadn’t tried to fight the ACA.

      • Let’s be serious – the Republicans had no viable alternative to offer, and didn’t want to offer one. This was perfect for them – they got to scream from the rooftops knowing there was absolutely nothing they could do about it, and they were for the most part secretly thankful there wasn’t.

      • The next thing I’ll hear is how the Heritage Foundation wrote the bill.
        C’mon, Ivan and Matt. As a person who went to DC on 9/12 and I was there twice the week the bill was passed, you cannot be serious!! I read the first bill. It took me 3 days. The bill offered by Republicans on the second go- round was 219 pages, not 2000!! And it made a helluva a lot more sense than the bill giving the gov’t control of the student loan industry, or adding 16k in IRS agents because it dealt with a single issue!
        And PS…It lowered the cost as opposed to O’care which now has my premium doubled in the last two years…surprise. This means I had to drop it because I cannot stretch my dollar any further. More people will be uninsured and pay the tax for that. But, in reality, who did that? Not one facet of this as was peddled by the President has any truth or financial sense. But, go ahead…keep telling yourselves it’s a great plan as more and more lose jobs because of what it is costing employers.

      • It’s not a matter of thinking Obamacare is a good idea. I don’t. It’s a disaster.

        What I said was that Republicans have not had any serious move to REDUCE the amount of government in healthcare or if they’re going to keep it in there to make it financially viable (Prescription Drug Benefit, anyone?).

        They’re aginners, which is easy to be when you’re out of power. But when they were in power, how did they move to make it a more free market system, and move us away from single payer? Telling me about a bill they offered that they knew would never pass when they’re in the minority means little.

        It’s kind of like physicians complaining about it – where was their big move to change things? I can find them lobbying for all kinds of tort “reform”, but where is the propaganda in their office for moving away from single payer? Where are the marches on capitols for a free market system? Where are the advocacy ads by their professional groups? Pretty hard to find. Yet now they complain because the other side pushed its agenda and it passed?

      • You discount the 219 page bill, but insist on propaganda in order to consider what Republicans put forth as a move away from single payer? Wow.
        Of course, democrats are not aginners, in any way, shape or form, when they’re IN power? Hypocrisy, thy occupation is a lawyer…

      • You’re not reading me. BOTH parties are full of it. Repubs pass the biggest entitlements since the LBJ years then Dems one up them.

        Neither dares mess with the baby boomers, which is what free market medicine would entail. So let’s stop acting like Repubs would do anything because they DIDN’T do anything during the Bush years. But add more government to healthcare.

        You’re right to criticize the Dems, but don’t try and sell that the other side is any better.

      • You are right about one thing. Where were the docs and their rightful advocacy groups or associations against the bill that would kill their practices and livelihoods? Two doctors in my family and I heard the whining but not the doing. I am a doer. I went to DC to get at my Reps. I met at least 3 doctors, but they had no back-up to speak of in September or March before the bill was passed.
        Both parties are guilty, but I am tired of hearing people discount what is offered and then calling it nothing. Which would you rather do? Read 219 pages of common sense, or 2000 pork laden pages of taxes and things that had nothing to do with healthcare…

    • “Un-affordable Care Act” ceases being funny after a couple of uses.”

      It isn’t intended to be “funny”. It is intended to show people the irony and the unintended consequences in a 2000 page law that was passed when few if any legislators actually read, much less understood, the provisions. And I’m going to keep on using the term.

      We had to pass the bill to find out was in it, remember?

      • That remark was the pivotal point in my life through which I lost my naivete regarding believing most politicians worked for the good of our country.

        Admittedly, I never paid attention to what pork in government was. I didn’t care. I just ASSumed mostly good things happened in government. Yes – election times were tough, but then it all settled down and they read the bills and voted for what was right. Like I said – naive. But when she said that. When I saw how they only gave 3 days for it to be read. And how they bought votes with PORK (then I understood), pork being things that had NOTHING to do with healthcare for poor people or anyone else, but only served to help the voter’s popularity with constituents back home …that is when I lost my naivete and became thoroughly disgusted. I also didn’t know republicans did it too – just not with something so massive as this ACA.

        I will be soooooo on board with a 3rd party should a quality, capable person rise up. Republicans have lost their way too and are wimps and self serving as well. Now I just read they will not be able to keep their promise that people with preexisting conditions will be able to get insurance and are closing the program, except for the people already signed up. What a nightmare that is just beginning.

  7. “Even though it takes a large proportion of your earnings in taxes throughout your life, your government can’t afford to keep paying for all of your care, you know.” We see what isn’t working in other countries and yet this administration wants to send us full steam ahead down the same course…. and I do mean DOWN.

    I have so many angry thoughts about what is going on with the ACA …they’re JAMMED in my brain because they all tried to flood out at once. I can’t even listen to the address tonight – just can’t.

    Eh …what difference does it make?

    Regarding the 20 million settlement – there isn’t enough money in the world that could make up for what that negligent staff did to that family.

    I am so impressed and inspired by Dr Ben Carson. I have one of his books – Take the Risk. I enjoyed it and got some good insight as well.

    I heard he will be retiring from surgery, still teaching and is interested in politics. His speech was so refreshing and he is so right about PC. The only thing about the HSA from birth = what happens if catastrophic illness/injuries happen? Also poor people paying into it? He mentioned in speech a pool because there would be money to help the poor. ? But does sound interesting. I want to here more ..that is for sure.

    I also thought it was interesting when he spoke about doctors being involved at the beginning of our country. I wonder …if more doctors were in government …would the aca ever have been passed. *sigh*

    • Here’s something I find very interesting in my family. I have two docs and several nurses. The one was a family doc. NOT a business man. Yet, he could use his common sense to tell you not to waste power, turn off the lights and go bankrupt because he would not listen to the best advice in the world.
      The other who actually trained under Ben Carson, and also majored in Economics could not seem to get that 60K in NC might be a really comfortable living, but that same money would never go as far in NYC.
      Gives me pause to wonder about the docs serving us in government…

      • I think we could say that about many of the people in Washington. Seems to be a disconnect.
        I think Dr Carson would be able to ascertain the difference in living expenses between north vs southern areas. He is calling for fiscal responsibility in a common sense way.

        I don’t know how feasible it is, but I do like the idea of a flat tax and then EVERYONE (including tax evaders) is paying into it. I’d like to know more about this. I know Herman Cain proposed a 9%.

        Can you just imagine getting rid of all the tax codes and increasing revenue, through simplification? What if it has always been so simple right in front of us that we missed it? maybe the answer was there all along. 🙂 Not my forte tho and so I really don’t know if correct approach. But it isn’t working this way.

        I most definitely want to hear more from this man.

        The average northerner KNOWS that moving south will give them more bang for their buck and is why so many from our area choose to go south, particularly NC. There is no question that a pension in NY/NY will go much, much further in the southern states. NJ has one of the highest real estate taxes and insurance rates in the country.

        Also, the fact that doctor Carson had such a stark financial situation while growing up tells me that HE does know what it is like to HAVE to live within your means. Not like some of these out of touch elitists in government. You’d think it would be common sense – but it isn’t… apparently.

        Off track and I wonder if anyone can explain this to me because it does baffle me.

        Why is it that the left demonizes any wealthy republican, or group of people trying to marginalize them as the cause of the problems and all the awful things they say …and yet …and yet …they say nothing about John Kerry’s wealth that is is much wealthier than Romney is, or they say nothing of the wealth of Nancy Pelosi, Al Gore, Warren Buffet, etc., ???

        Personally I don’t care if they are wealthy ..I just don’t understand how these people that live in glass houses can throw the same stones that would break up their house to if there wasn’t a double standard in this country.

        Carson is soooo REFRESHING.

        And WHY don’t republicans hammer away at these disparities? I guess it is because the press does not report facts, but skews reporting according to their personal bias.

      • Bill Alexander on

        A flat tax is a non-starter from the beginning. Many people are under the mistaken impression that the tax code is designed to generate money for the government. The real purpose is social manipulation, and a flat tax would not only stop that, but it would cause political contributions to dry up. Can you imagine politicians voting for something that would both reduce their power and their money?

      • So would a flat tax cost wealthy people more money? It seems they pay a lot more now than only 10%? Wouldn’t they prefer that? I also liked the whole idea of getting the bank accounts back into America because they aren’t being taxed like crazy. Need money to make money. I’m concerned that everything will dry up because there won’t be anything left to pay and all along the economy falters more. We need to inspire people to invest, create in this country. BUT …I am hardly an economist or familiar with taxation policies.

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