Healthcare Update — 04-17-2012


Sorry about the delay. Had a few “rock” issues to take care of over the weekend.

The number of uninsured patients in North Carolina increased by 22% in five years – more than double the rate of rise in population. The article touted the Affordable Care Act as a way to decrease the number of uninsured.
People are still making the false assumption that health care insurance is the same thing as health care access. It isn’t. Just ask the people in Illinois and Hawaii. “Insurers” can drop you without any prior notification if you don’t have the correct paperwork. Just ask the poor kids in Pennsylvania.
And if you have health “insurance,” the insurance companies just may raise rates so high that you are priced out of coverage. Then you have nothing.
Best advice: Don’t get sick and don’t get into accidents. Then you’ll be happy with your “insurance” coverage.

Maine doctor loses $1.9 million verdict after jury decides that he prescribed too much methadone to a patient with chronic back pain causing the patient to stop breathing in her sleep.
This case linked to a second methadone overdose judgment for $244,000 in February.

Housekeeping … to the ER … STAT. Four foot “tsunami” of water and ice busts through basement door of Norfolk hospital, causing flooding throughout department. Cause of flooding is blocked drain outside the door. This is definitely a patient safety issue. Look for the Medical Marijuana Advocates to now require paperwork demonstrating that drains within a 500 foot radius of the hospital have been examined and cleansed every 30 days.

You thought “pink slime” was bad? Wait until you see what is in white slime. Now I remember why I don’t eat red meat products.

Hey Gramps! Put away your medications, will ya? 23% of grandparents leave their prescription medications where children can easily find them … which contributes to the high number of unintentional poisionings of grandchildren in this country.
Here’s a kicker, though. The article says that two thirds of adults support creating new laws to require single-dose packaging of medications which would make it more difficult for kids to overdose.
Seriously? Laws that allow us to be less responsible?
Why not just ask JCAHO? The obvious way to solve this problem is to ban grandparents.

Rise of the Machines. Da Vinci robotic surgical system blamed for killing patient after electrical current from robotic arm causes burns to artery and intestines during routine hysterectomy.
Plaintiff attorney argues that the doctors may not have been to blame: “It may help the doctors to learn they were not really at fault, that it was the machine.”
The Da Vinci’s Clarence Darrow robotic attorney was not available for comment.

Jacksonville, NC columnist complains about waiting for care in hospital emergency department then complains about paying for her care. A “fresh hell” of a waiting room, a “deserted” treatment area, and the potential for a “stockade” in the back for patients who don’t pay their bills.
Because health care should be perfect, fast and free of charge. Who cares about the engineer’s triangle?

Stress tests in healthy adults, x-rays in healthy patients before surgery, sinus CT scans and antibiotics for sinusitis, advanced imaging in early breast/prostate cancer. All of these are now considered “unnecessary” medical care by some medical groups.
Let them put their money where their collective mouths are. If a doctor doesn’t perform these “unnecessary” tests and is later sued for missing something because the test wasn’t performed, will the groups pay for all the doctor’s legal fees and for any judgements against the doctor?
Didn’t think so.

JAMA study gives another example of how those medicines that we prescribe aren’t harmless. People taking Levaquin, Cipro, Avelox or other fluoroquinolones are 4.5 times more likely to have retinal detachment than patients not taking the medications. This plus a risk of tendon ruptures? Look for the government to soon save us from ourselves and restrict use of fluoroquinolones.

Bizarre story of the week. Restaurant manager gets into argument outside of a different restaurant. Woman then attacks him with a pair of Louboutin heels, “cracking his skull” and sending him to the emergency department (which is how this story showed up on my news feed). Then … the restaurant manager tweets a picture of the attacker and offers $500 to anyone that identifies her. She was found a few days later.

Fights over whether Wyoming hospitals need to have emergency departments. Two Casper, WY hospitals want to close their emergency departments. County commissioners balked at the idea. Without an emergency department, the hospitals “have no responsibility to care for the indigent.”
Since when did providing care for indigent patients become the responsibility of private businesses?

Controversial article that raises a difficult point: Should society be subsidizing the care of the irresponsible among us? Heated comments discussion. How would such a policy address someone driving 100 MPH without a seatbelt who gets into a car accident?


  1. WC–
    People are dropping their coverage, including me. My premium as self-employed was $484.00 for 6 of us. No Rx and a 10K deductible. Under the new laws my premium increased 32%. $640 is what I was quoted and I cannot afford it. It means I rob one thing to pay another and I can’t do it.
    When are people going to understand that just because they believe the Gubmint is God, that it will never guarantee anything that is not absolute already? I hate not having health care, but I truly cannot afford it. And as a small business owner, when I hear about the people who pay no income taxes and they collectively get paid 1 billion in yours and my money, I want to effing scream.

  2. You know how UNOS makes actual value judgements when deciding who gets or does not get an organ for transplant??

    For those who aren’t familiar, one has to be a GOOD candidate to get a new liver, heart, or whatever. Still drinking? Forget that glossy, smooth new liver. Miss your dialysis appointments all the time and chug Big-Gulps along with your bacon-burger and fries?? None of those pretty pink kidneys are headed your way, buddy.

    Why for the love of PETE can’t the same sort of guidelines be used for those with self-inflicted or self-exacerbated medical conditions or injuries?? The vast number of people who expect to live as they please without any regard for themselves or others AND want someone else to fix their mistakes for free is staggering in 21st century America.

    I have no issue with providing minimal to no care, depending on the problem, and housing these folks in old-fashioned open wards without amenities. OH….and you do this enough, you WILL become a DNR. We’ll keep you out of pain, but not on a ventilator and $310 a day special bed for four or five years. Choose wisely.

  3. Ugh! Pink slime – white slime …double UGH and YUK!

    How can this stuff even be approved …ever by the FDA????


    So this stuff is only in the manufactured meatloaf, meat balls, etc., right?

    I think the meat in canned pasta and soups, etc., also contains byproducts of meat parts we wouldn’t want to eat. EWWW.

    I read about pink slime a few weeks ago and had never heard about it before. According to the article, schools used pink slime in their hamburger meat. I think that is disgusting and would never allow my child to buy any school lunches containing that product and I think most parents would agree. No wonder the younger generations are becoming unhealthier than their parents …thanks to all the additives, and artificial ingredients and now this. ???

    The closest to how God made the food …the healthier.

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