Articles Posted in Emergency Medicine

fdnybatteryfire-150x150For consumers who were too stuffed from their Thanksgiving feasting or too weary of stressful bargain hunting to jam the malls or to flock to the internet for Black Friday deals, the words to the wise have started flowing on how the savvy will ensure their holiday gifts also keep loved ones safe from unintended harms.

Kids toys, of course, are always cause for caution at this time of year, federal regulators say. But grownups also can glean safety reminders from disconcerting reports about an increasingly popular and practical potential seasonal acquisition — the so-called “e-bikes.”

With toys, the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a timely and distressing study. The federal watchdog agency reported that in 2021:

tksgiving-300x177Millions of us will have much to give thanks for during the annual holiday, which, like several of its recent versions, again will be a time of health wariness and uncertainty, too.

The seasonal feast — which brings so many the joy of not only a grand meal but also the pleasure of gathering with friends, family, and other loved ones — will be more costly than any in recent memory due to economic inflation and supply chain problems, the Associated Press reported:

“Americans are bracing for a costly Thanksgiving this year, with double-digit percent increases in the price of turkey, potatoes, stuffing, canned pumpkin, and other staples. The U.S. government estimates food prices will be up 9.5% to 10.5% this year; historically, they’ve risen only 2% annually. Lower production and higher costs for labor, transportation and items are part of the reason; disease, rough weather and the war in Ukraine are also contributors.”

walmartlogo-300x117Walmart has offered to pay $3.1 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits filed against the deep-pocketed retailing giant, accusing it of complicity through its nationwide pharmacy operations in the lethal opioid abuse and overdose crisis.

The Bentonville, Ark., -based company insists it committed no wrong and the states, counties, cities, Indian tribes, and others who sued Walmart said it did not have as large a part as other pharmacy chains in inundating the country with powerful, prescribed painkillers.

Still, Walmart joins CVS and Walgreens in settling rather than confronting those who have found sustained success in seeking justice in the civil system, various news organizations have reported.

ACEP-300x98Almost three dozen leading groups representing a range of doctors, specialists, and other health workers have called on the Biden Administration to deal urgently with the long-running but increasing and dangerous practice of hospitals allowing their emergency care facilities to be overwhelmed because they also are parking patients waiting for rooms and treatment.

This “boarding” crisis, already at breaking points for many exhausted ER staffs, will worsen and imperil patients even more if the nation gets hit — as growing indicators suggest is occurring — with a “tripledemic,” a choking load of coronavirus, flu, and other respiratory infections serious enough to require hospitalization.

The American College of Emergency Physicians (38,000 members), has been joined by the American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, American Academy of Emergency Medicine (8,000 members) and groups representing family doctors, allergists, anesthesiologists, radiologists, osteopaths, psychiatrists, and many others in a recent letter to the administration, reporting:

pulseoximeter-150x150Until the coronavirus pandemic struck, few regular folks knew about pulse oximeters, much less had one on hand for urgent use. The devices, which fit over a finger, are supposed to give fast readings on the levels of oxygen in patients’ blood — a key measure of their respiratory wellness.

But the devices, whether in relatively inexpensive consumer versions or in medical-grade units used in doctor’s offices, clinics, and hospitals, are far from perfect. They suffer major inaccuracies when used by those with darker skin.

Federal regulators have known about this flaw for years. But at a time when patients, families, doctors, and hospitals relied on the devices routinely to make critical treatment decisions affecting those struggling with likely coronavirus infections, an information chasm opened. Doctors urged people to pop by drug stores and other retailers to pick up the devices, saying that they could be helpful in letting them know when their oxygen levels were dipping in concerning enough fashion that they should seek emergency treatment.

dctrafficmap-150x150Officials in the District of Columbia must match commitment to candor if they hope to achieve a long-promised goal of reducing the terrible toll on area roads.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser pledged in 2015 to reduce traffic fatalities in the district to zero by 2024 — a goal she has conceded her administration has “fallen short” on and will struggle to meet. As the mayor noted in her updating of her “Vision Zero” safety initiative, the Washington Post reported quoting Bowser:

“Our original target of achieving zero deaths by 2024 was ambitious and has not been without its challenges.”

flusick-150x150The damage that seasonal flu causes can be difficult to forecast. But doctors, hospitals, and public health experts already are seeing the illness hit “hard and early,” especially in the Washington, D.C., area.

The indicators are shaping up that this will be the most severe flu year in the last 13. This is exponentially concerning, as hospitals also struggle with spiking pediatric cases of various respiratory illnesses, especially respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, the Washington Post reported and other news organizations have reported.

Chilly weather is starting to grip much of the country, forcing people indoors, and the coronavirus pandemic persists.

makenadrug-300x67Federal regulators have hit a highly public reckoning for their policies to provide speedy approvals for prescription drugs, benefiting Big Pharma’s profits but not necessarily patients — notably women in serious need of help with a shame of the U.S. health care system: the nation’s dismal state with injuries and deaths to expectant moms and infants.

The federal Food and Drug Administration 11 years ago gave Covis Pharma an expedited review and approval to market its prescription drug Makena, which the maker promoted as a rare medication to prevent preterm births.

In exchange, the company was supposed to conduct broader, rigorous, and more detailed studies to prove definitively that Makena prevents moms from delivering before 37 weeks, which is a serious problem that affected 1 in 10 births in 2020 alone, the New York Times reported. The newspaper also noted that preterm births are a greater problem for black women:

childtempreading-150x150Lest anyone think the coronavirus pandemic is not taking a significant toll on this country still, just look at the worrisome conditions prevailing in overflowing pediatric hospitals and the bracing data on how whites gradually have become more likely to die from the infectious disease than blacks.

Doctors and hospitals say they are struggling with a desperate lack of pediatric space to care for increasing numbers of children with various respiratory illnesses, especially respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV. This is a major problem in the DMV (the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia) where hospitals told the Washington Post that they full up with sick kids and scrambling:

“Children’s National Hospital in Northwest D.C., as well as the children’s hospitals at Inova Fairfax in Northern Virginia and the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, which represent a total of more than 650 beds, are at capacity, physicians at the hospitals said this week. Pediatricians locally and nationally report a spike in cases of respiratory illnesses such as RSV and rhinovirus — the common cold virus — which for the second consecutive year have hit earlier and made kids sicker than usual. At the same time, the coronavirus continues to circulate, and hospitals are bracing for a severe flu season.”

booster-150x150As many as 4 in 20 patients infected with the coronavirus report they have not fully recovered after months and 1 in 20 of those with the disease say they have not recovered at all. The viral illness, which has claimed more than 1 million lives and has infected more than 97 million of us, still kills just under 400 people daily on average.

Meantime, the southeast and south central parts of the United States — including the District of Columbia — are reporting the nation’s highest rates of influenza cases, as this infection is showing an early season surge. Just a reminder that in pre-pandemic times, flu sickened as many as 41 million Americans annually, leading to as many as 700,000-plus hospitalizations, and up to 50,000-plus deaths.

After years now of coping with the catastrophic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, and especially with the sustained harms of long covid, and with evidence growing that this year’s flu season will be tough and break with a recent period of mild caseloads, why aren’t more folks using common sense and getting safe, effective vaccinations to increase their protection against these debilitating and lethal diseases?

Patrick Malone & Associates, P.C. listed in Best Lawyers Rated by Super Lawyers Patrick A. Malone
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