Healthcare Update — 07-25-2012

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Stop calling it a tax, dammit! Under the Affordable Care Act, business owners will pay $4 billion more in taxes. Now the Congressional Budget Office is calling it a “penalty tax.”

NY Times journalist Jim Dwyer dislocates shoulder patting himself on back for getting NYU hospital to change policies after writing poorly-researched article on sepsis triage. Goes to emergency department shaking in pain with pulse of 95 and respiratory rate of 22. Is immediately put into sepsis pathway. Phew. Close call.

Now that’s what I call security. Armed police officers stand with automatic weapons outside entrance of emergency department in Honduras after gang fights break out in the local jail. Kind of an imposing picture.

Patients gone wild. Nebraska man walks into emergency department with gun and knife threatening “bodily harm” to one of the emergency physician. When he found out the physician wasn’t working that day, he demanded to know where the doctor lived. Police called and patient then became suicidal. Taken into protective custody. Where are those armed guards when you need them?

What do you get when you cross a monster truck with a “bamblance”? No, not a crushed ambulance.
Introducing … the WHAMBULANCE.
And if you guessed that this was created somewhere in the back bayou, you’re wrong. It’s being showcased not too far from Houston, TX. If anyone in the Lone Star State wants to go get some video footage or pictures, I’d be happy to post it.

The worst drought in recent history isn’t just hurting crops. Missouri declares state of emergency after summer heat kills 25, causes 829 ED visits, and increases risk of fire.

Heat-related emergency department visits also double in Oakland County, MI [thanks to Zoltania for catching the typo and letting everyone know that the weather is fine in CA this summer].

As patient volumes nearly double, hospitals in both Australia and New Zealand tell people to stop coming to the emergency department for colds and influenza.
One of the commenters to the New Zealand article notes that “as long as doctors continue to charge outrageous prices [the ED is]exactly where i will keep going after hours.”

Ophthalmology residents on call. New technology being studied at Emory University suggests that taking photographs of a patient’s retina and sending them to an ophthalmologist for review may help triaging patients with headaches, severe high blood pressure, neurologic changes, or vision problems.

Worcestershire consultant states that closing emergency department may improve patient care and solve staffing shortages “in one go.” If patients were worried that things like stroke and heart attacks wouldn’t get timely treatment because they’d have to travel further by ambulance to get medical care, they shouldn’t be. The consultant knows from experience that “it’s very, very rare that the increased journey time makes any difference to a patient’s outcome.”
Maybe the UK could just have one giant emergency department to treat everyone. Imagine how much better the care would be then.

Muskogee Community Hospital in Oklahoma closing its emergency department effective July 31, 2012 and encouraging all patients to go to the other medical center in town. People commenting to the article don’t seem to think that care will be improved as a result of this move.

“Serial infector” caught in New Hampshire. When patients were supposed to receive fentanyl, this schmuck would inject himself with the medication then replace the medication in the syringe with water. Bigger issue was that he had Hepatitis C and his dirty needles were unknowingly used on cath lab patients, causing 31 patients to contract Hepatitis C as well.

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