Healthcare Update 04-02-2012


Lots more news at the Satellite Editions of this week’s update at ER Stories and at If you’re interested in posting at Medbloggers, drop me an e-mail.

Washington State loses this game of chicken. Governor enacts a last-minute delay in enforcing policy to refuse payments to hospitals for Medicaid patients who present with non-emergencies.

Patients gone wild. Man in Ohio emergency department gets unruly with staff, kicking and yelling at them. Gets enlightened with a policeman’s Taser then gets charged with two counts of assault after being discharged.

Florida man sickens several EMS workers, closes emergency department, and knocks ambulance out of operation after drinking insecticide. I’m wondering if it was the fumes from the insecticide or if it was the toxidrome that caused all the closures. Come on all you emergency department personnel … what’s the cholinergic toxidrome? Anticholinergic toxidrome?

Investigation shows that “Filthy, dangerous medical implements have been showing up in hospitals and outpatient surgery centers with alarming regularity.” Investigators also allege that “the FDA may be failing in its oversight duties,” noting that “the breadth of problems identified in this investigation is startling and infuriating.” Can the Medical Marijuana Advocates ban the FDA?

Press Ganey scores in Ohio about to hit the skids. Ohio hospitals band together to try to limit narcotic diversion. Patients with chronic pain conditions will not get refills of their narcotic medications and will be referred to a pain specialist who doesn’t use narcotics. Patients who are deemed to have drug seeking behavior will be referred to an addiction specialist. Those patients who do make it through the gauntlet will be required to show valid photo identification before receiving a prescription and will only get a “small number” of pills prescribed.

Pennsylvania State Department of Health closes down St. Catherine Medical Center, Fountain Springs “to protect the health and safety of patients” after determining that the hospital “does not have the means to obtain the proper equipment and supplies for surgical, outpatient and emergency services.” Nice how that works, huh? Cut back on payments for medical care and then ban the hospital from operating when it can’t get by on the pittance it is being paid for the services it is providing. Now there’s one less hospital for patients in central Pennsylvania to rely upon for emergencies.

Taking another shot at overturning the Feres Doctrine. 23 year old airman Colton Read goes to Travis Air Force Base in California for routine laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Surgical resident performing procedure punctured his aorta, then doctors failed to recognize the problem for 9 hours. By the time the patient was transferred to a civilian hospital for treatment, his legs had lost their blood flow and needed to be amputated. Now the patient and his wife are suing the hospital for nearly $55 million dollars. Only problem is that the Feres Doctrine prevents lawsuits against the military and it was just affirmed on appeal to the Supreme Court when another surgical patient at Travis AFB suffered injuries last year.
I just checked. Travis Air Force Base isn’t on the Hospital Compare web site. Wonder why?

If you’re going to have a party and make a video parody of patients, with skits such as “drug seeker,” “promiscuous girl” and “constipated old lady,” don’t post the video on YouTube.

Hey all you barbecue aficionados … as if getting poisoned from undercooked meat wasn’t enough, now there’s a new medical issue associated with grilling: Ingesting the wires from those damn grill brushes. The wires break off when the grill is being cleaned and then apparently stick to the meat during the next grill session.
So it’s either death from cancer if you eat the charbroiled meat residue on the grill or a trip to the operating room if a piece of wire gets stuck in your throat.
If you would all just eat more sushi, none of this would happen.

Medical care in the 21st century at Parkland Hospital in Dallas. Writer sits in emergency department waiting room for 13 hours with her dad gripping his chest and no one brings him back to the treatment area? Later, at another hospital, discovers that he has had a heart attack. Something doesn’t sound right.

Don’t want your newborn immunized? At Hershey Medical Center in Pennsylvania, they take custody of your child and kick you out of the hospital — at least according to allegations made by a newborn’s mother and her husband.


  1. Friends of ours decided that they needed to use some of those “smoker chips” in their electric grill to give it a “wood flavor” taste. Not knowing what to do, they simply threw the chips into the grill. We spent the rest of the night playing a fun game of “is this blackened bit of muck a piece of mushroom, onion, or cedar?”

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