Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Catch of the day - things that make me go hmmm

Couple of things on my radar:

- Yet another study convincingly demonstrates the lack of relationship between thimerosol (a mercury-based preservative) in vaccines and links to autism. Read my blog entry, "Mad Science" to get up to speed if you're unfamiliar.

- One of the nation's leading Plastic Surgery groups that focuses on hand surgery in Houston,TX has published data suggesting nearly 4% suffer irreversible nerve damage from carpal tunnel symptoms that persist longer then 8 weeks, and that less then 2% of patients respond with traditional non-operative treatment demanded by insurance companies. This finding adds to the body of literature now suggesting we treat median nerve compression at the wrist (aka. carpal tunnel syndrome) much more aggressively.

- CNN news anchor, Glenn Beck, describes his experience after hemorrhoid surgery. Why is this a news story exactly? He's offended that he wasn't treated the empathy he feels he deserved after coming to the emergency room with post-operative pain (which is an emergency not an EMERGENCY!). He comes off looking a little crazy in his interviews and the infamous you tube video .

- A Catholic hospital in California is being sued as it is refusing to allow a transgender man to get breast augmentation surgery on it's campus. This kind of political grandstanding against traditional Catholic teachings (which is what this case is) by the gay/lesbian/transgender activists is noxious. There are many places nearby where this surgery could be performed without issue, and this is just another kind of "lawsuit abuse" that's substituted for the political process in America.

- Many hospital systems are formally adopting policies of not charging patients or insurers for costs associated with treating "never event" complications like wrong site surgeries or cases where surgical instruments or sponges are left in patients. This is a good thing! Still to be determined however are complication costs more related to patient age or preexisting medical conditions like urinary tract infections, pressure sores, or falls. This is an unworkable policy penalizing hospitals for these last 3 things, and definitely falls into the V.A. LOGIC (see here & here) realm of bureaucratic insanity.


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