Healthcare Update Satellite 10-28-2013


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Does homelessness affect use of emergency departments and hospitals? Absolutely.
According to this study of 1165 homeless Canadian patients in the American Journal of Public Health, when compared with a control population, homeless patients used the emergency department 8.5 times more often, were hospitalized 4.2 times more often for medical/surgical problems, and were hospitalized 9.2 times more often for psychiatric hospitalizations.
According to this accompanying study, the average ED utilization for homeless patients was 2 visits per year, but 10% of the sample population accounted for more than 60% of all ED visits.

Drug seeking behaviors permeate emergency medicine. Opiate overdoses resulted in more than 100,000 ED visits in 2009. Now more and more patients with Toradol “allergies” are being tracked and put into “non-medical” treatment programs.
In other words, keeping “The List” is becoming standard practice in many emergency departments.

Massachusetts Medical Board gone wild? Bariatric surgeon who has performed more than 6000 weight loss operations in his career and who reportedly has complication rates better than or equal to the national average has his license suspended because he uses open gastric bypass surgery rather than performing laparoscopic procedures and because he allegedly did not recognize and treat post operative complications in four patients quickly enough.
Interesting to note that bariatric surgery death rates range from 1 in 100 patients to 1 in 300 patients, meaning that it would be expected that this physician would have expected death rates of 20 to 60 patients in his career.
Even though four Harvard physicians have written letters supporting his care, the Massachusetts Medical Board declared him an “immediate and serious threat’’ to the public.
Medical board actions are becoming a larger threat to physicians than are malpractice suits and there are a lot fewer protections in place regarding those actions.

The hardest medical simulator ever? Surgeon Simulator’s controls are difficult and the gameplay is supposedly clunky, but the game is reportedly quite popular. Anyone tried it?

That will teach those uncaring emergency department staff members … Houston man gets fed up because staff weren’t taking his headache seriously enough, so he jumped into an ambulance in the parking lot and drove away, then crashed ambulance into an overpass.

Street drug MDMA, otherwise known as “Molly,” making inroads with recreational drug users. Some states seeing a 100-fold increase in use, with multiple overdoses and deaths. The number of ED visits related to MDMA increased to 22,498 in 2011.

Police in West Palm Beach, Florida (go figure) arrest emergency department nurse for refusing to draw blood from a suspected drunk driving offender, charge nurse with “obstructing justice.” Federal magistrate rules that such actions violate Fourth Amendment for false arrest. Nurse then sues West Palm Beach sheriff’s department for back pay.


  1. Skeptical Scalpel on

    I haven’t played Surgeon Simulator but I’ve seen several demos. It is extremely unrealistic and frankly rather stupid. “Clunky” is an understatement.

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