Articles Posted in Doctor-Patient Relationship

harrisnhscfunding-300x155For anyone who believes that health care, in the wealthiest nation in the world, is a right and not a privilege, the Biden Administration provided some cause for optimism. It came in the form of an announcement by Vice President Kamala Harris that the nation will invest $1.5 billion to help reduce the shortage of doctors and nurses in underserved communities.

Working with sums provided by the spring’s American Recovery Act, the White House said it will boost financial support for medical workers participating in the National Health Service Corps and Nurse Corps.

They provide services to more than 23.6 million patients in this country, the White House said.

baltsunjerryjackson-300x222In the spring of 2020, health workers were serenaded, cheered, and greeted as courageous heroes for their 24/7 commitment to battling the frightening, new coronavirus pandemic.

People — especially New Yorkers with their nightly eruptions — could not contain their admiration and gratitude for medicine’s marvels, with spontaneous and sustained demonstrations breaking out, as one news story reported, “from the Chinese epicenter of Wuhan to the medieval villages of Lombardy, from Milan to Madrid, onto Paris, and now London. There have been standing ovations, too, in Istanbul, Atlanta, Buenos Aires, and Tamil Nadu, India.”

Much has changed in the months since, of course, with the public’s health having become politicized and polarized, including with wild falsehoods and disinformation campaigns.

debt-300x200Soaring medical costs crush the finances of far too many patients, as the public was reminded by the release of an annual report on the high toll of cancer-care spending and a surprising congressional reverse aimed at reining in runaway prescription drug prices — or at least attempting to.

Leading organizations dealing with cancer treatment — including the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries — found that patients in 2019 (the most recent year data were available) “shouldered a whopping $21.09 billion in costs,” the Washington Post reported.

Patients and their loved ones get hit with major costs in the first year of disease diagnosis, as well as the highest expenses at the ill individuals’ end of life, the report found.

Back-Pain-300x188As the nation rapidly grays, not only are middle-aged and older patients undergoing increasing numbers of knee, hip, ankle, and shoulder surgeries, back operations also have spiked — and a significant number of these procedures may be unwarranted and harmful.

Spinal surgery is a booming business for orthopedic surgeons and hospitals, with  Wall Street analysts forecasting, according to one report, that the “sales of spinal surgery implants, instruments, pharmaceuticals and other novel treatments for chronic and disabling back pain will … rise from $10 billion in 2020 to $14 billion -$ 16 billion by 2030.”

While rising numbers of patients, starting around age 42, complain of back pain and many eventually seek surgical relief, skepticism and concern may be deserved for the common, costly, and lucrative spinal fusion surgery, Modern Healthcare, an industry trade publication reported in its Oct. 5 edition.

cdcflushot-300x199The battle to quell the coronavirus pandemic and especially its deadly Delta variant surge soon may extend to the nation’s children.

A drug maker has submitted required data and formally requested from federal regulators an emergency approval for a vaccine for youngsters ages 5 to 12. Officials say they will take up this request, pronto, with the possibility that parents by Halloween or early November can start to see the great relief of strong, safe protection for their children from the debilitating and deadly virus.

It already has taken a stark toll on youngsters, with an estimated 140,000 of them losing their main caregivers — parents or grandparents — between April 1, 2020, and June 30 of this year, a newly published study estimates.

drkhan-150x150Doctors must step up and better police their own ranks, taking a helpful warning from medical malpractice lawsuits in dealing with problem practitioners or systemic wrongs.

That’s the wise view of Dr. Shah-Naz H. Khan, a neurosurgeon and a clinical assistant Professor of Surgery at Michigan State University (shown, right).

Her trenchant commentary — published on KevinMD, which describes itself asthe web’s leading platform where physicians, advanced practitioners, nurses, medical students, and patients share their insight and tell their stories” — is salient as medicine confronts a startling number of doctors, who, frankly, have run amok in putting forth health falsehoods in the midst of the deadliest public health emergency in more than a century.

portalmedrecord-300x124As doctors and hospitals switch to electronic medical record systems and try to amp up the business efficiency of their enterprises by opening online consumer portals, more patients may access their caregivers’ files on them, including  doctor notes that may be shocking in their inaccuracy.

Heather Gantzer, a doctor practicing at Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park, Minn., and immediate past chair of the American College of Physicians’ Board of Regents, told Cheryl Clark, a contributor to the MedPage Today medical news site:

“100% of medical records have errors. Some of them are nuisances, but some are really impactful and might make a huge difference for [example for] the person who was said to be on antibiotics” but was not.”

gymnaststestify-300x171Grownups got sordid reminders of how much work still must be done to protect the nation’s young from sexual exploitation, as top female gymnasts assailed the FBI and Olympic organizations for allowing the wanton predation of a serial criminal and the Boy Scouts offered yet another billion-dollar proposal to try to resolve tens of thousands of sexual abuse claims against the youth group.

The fierce, courageous, and emotional testimony by Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, and Maggie Nichols before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee (screenshot, right, courtesy Canadian Broadcast Co. video) received extensive media coverage. It reflected their fury at how supposedly elite law enforcement agents heard but ignored their charges against Larry Nassar, the former national women gymnastics team doctor who was convicted of an array of sexual abuse charges and will serve a life sentence in prison.

FBI agents ignored agency practices and policy, learning from multiple women of sexual crimes by Nassar and failing to act, misrepresenting what they were told, and later lying to colleagues and superiors about what Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) described as their “dereliction of duty,” “systematic organizational failure” and “gross failures” in the case.

dcflags-300x131Nineteen months after the coronavirus pandemic first began to rage, the nation has racked up mortality  and morbidity statistics that are tragic and horrifying:

  • 1 in 500 Americans now has died of the disease
  • People older than 85 make up only 2% of the population, but a quarter of the total death toll

diabetesreuterrise-300x120More than 100,000 people in this country died last year due to diabetes. That’s 17% more than the year before. And in younger age groups, it’s even worse: deaths from diabetes climbed 29% last year  among those ages 25-44, federal data show.

The figures should raise huge alarms that diabetes, as exposed by the coronavirus pandemic, is “out of control,” reported Chad Terhune, Robin Respaut, and Deborah J. Nelson for Reuters news service.

Their investigation, including an analysis of federal data to draw a depressing depiction of diabetes’ significant damages to the health of millions of Americans, found that the pandemic only begins to show huge failures in the care of what should be a manageable illness:

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